In all of the post-game gushing over LeBron James‘ block of Tiago Splitter, or the Miami Heat‘s dispatch of the San Antonio Spurs, the obvious was lost on so many. The Heat’s blowout win means very little in the grand scheme of things.
This isn’t the Spurs’ first rodeo, and the team’s Game One victory has much greater value as they earned home-court advantage that will take a Heat win in San Antonio to be reversed back to level ground. It has become the norm over the past few seasons the Heat are good for at least one blowout win per series. An evening where all of their first-tier pieces click and the result is too much for even the most veteran and talent-laden teams to handle. This is what we saw in Game Two — a collision of everyone at the top of their craft in a game which was easy to label a must win for Erik Spoelstra’s squad.
The true test of where this series stands is Tuesday evening’s Game Three in San Antonio. With three straight games at home, the Spurs have an opportunity to close things out, and prevent a trip back to Florida. The Heat, on the other hand, must play their best basketball of the season to keep things alive and ensure a lifeline is extended.
For some teams that lack San Antonio’s mettle and playoff pedigree, a blowout loss to a talented team like that endured in Game Two would cause enough of a momentum shift things could become dire.
The San Antonio Spurs are not that team. They have seen everything there is too see when it comes to playoff basketball, and while not the ideal, a blowout loss is just a small snag in the plan.
You can bet Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker will be at the top of their game when the tip comes tomorrow night. The pressure isn’t on them. The pressure is on LeBron James and the Heat as to win this series, Game Two will have to be the rule and not the exception.
Far, far from an easy task.