Spurs, Heat Battle in S.A.

The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat have won the last two NBA titles, but neither team is feeling like a champion right now.

San Antonio tries to shake off its first loss of the season and take advantage of a winless Heat team missing its biggest star as the clubs face each other Wednesday night.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made San Antonio -11 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 183 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 82% of bets for this game have been placed on San Antonio -11 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Two seasons removed from the first championship in franchise history, Miami (0-3) is struggling without its MVP from those finals. Dwyane Wade, who averaged 34.7 points as Miami beat Dallas in six games and a career-high 27.4 last season, has yet to play in 2007-08 while recovering from surgery to his left knee and shoulder.

The Heat received some good news Monday, when Wade participated in his first full-contact practice since undergoing the surgery in May. He still, though, does not know when he'll be able to return to the lineup.

"It's going to be a day-to-day process, it really is,'' Wade said. "Hopefully we don't have the Dwyane Wade watch and countdown. I really don't want to do that. I really want to concentrate on the Miami Heat and when I come back, everybody will know it and hopefully I come back ready to help the team get on a good track.''

No matter who has been on the floor, the Spurs (2-1) have rarely had trouble beating the Heat in San Antonio. They are 19-1 all-time at home against Miami, including 5-0 since the AT&T Center opened in 2002-03. San Antonio's lone home defeat to the Heat was a 90-79 loss on Dec. 23, 1996, during the season before Spurs superstar Tim Duncan entered the league.

Duncan had 14 points and 10 rebounds Tuesday night, but shot only 5-for-15 from the field as the Spurs fell 89-81 in Houston to the in-state rival Rockets. The reigning NBA champions couldn't recover after scoring only 32 points in the first half, and were outrebounded 55-28 in their first loss since Game 3 of the Western Conference finals at Utah on May 26.

"It was a huge advantage that we gave up,'' said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, who scored a team-high 23 points. "It's pretty hard to win like that.''

The Heat have found it hard to win without Wade, although they came close in Sunday night's 90-88 loss at home to Charlotte. Miami rallied from a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but committed a pair of turnovers in the final 37 seconds and could not take the lead.

"We're close,'' said Heat center Shaquille O'Neal, who scored 17 points in his first double-figure effort of the season. "We're still making a lot of silly mistakes, but once we overcome that and learn to play better with each other, we'll be all right. ... But we're close. I wish we wouldn't experiment in these games, but right now, we're shooting ourselves in the foot. So we just have to do a little bit better.''

O'Neal is averaging 24.8 points and 12.3 rebounds in 36 career games versus San Antonio. Duncan has lifetime averages of 20.1 points and 12.7 boards in 16 games against the Heat, with the Spurs posting an 11-5 record in those matchups.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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