Crash And Burn

The San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat have combined to win the last three NBA titles. Only one of those teams, however, can claim to be a championship-caliber club this season.

Looking for their first win in more than a month, the reeling Heat look to snap their 14-game losing streak as they host the Spurs on Thursday.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made San Antonio -8 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 184.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 82% of bets for this game have been placed on San Antonio -8 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Miami (8-32) hasn't won since beating Utah 104-102 on Dec. 22. The 14-game skid is the second-longest in franchise history, just three games shy of the 17-game losing streak that marked their start in the NBA in 1988-89.

"We're going to win one of them," said guard Dwyane Wade, the MVP of the 2006 NBA finals during which he led Miami to its first championship. "Every game, there's that hope."

San Antonio (27-13) has had its own struggles lately, going 10-10 after a 17-3 start. It's an uncharacteristic rough patch for the Spurs, who have won four NBA titles under coach Gregg Popovich, including championships in 2005 and 2007.

The Spurs, though, have reason to believe they're emerging from their funk after beating the Los Angeles Lakers 103-91 on Wednesday night. It was their first victory in eight games against teams with winning records.

"'You have to participate in your recovery,'" Spurs forward Brent Barry remembered Popovich telling the team before Wednesday's game. "I think that stuck with us. When things aren't going well, and you're not playing well, you can't sulk."

Wade has done his part in trying to turn the Heat around, but he hasn't gotten much help. He had 42 points, seven assists and six rebounds on Monday, but no other Miami player scored more than 10 points in the 97-90 loss to Cleveland. Wade was 17-for-29 (58.6 percent) from the field, but the rest of the team went 20-for-54 (37.0).

"Right now, we absolutely need him," said Heat coach Pat Riley, whose team has three games remaining on its season-high, seven-game homestand. "He's doing everything he can do."

Wade will have to shoulder even more of the offensive load with center Shaquille O'Neal headed back to the bench. O'Neal will miss at least two weeks because of recurring pain in his left hip and leg.

An MRI exam performed Tuesday on O'Neal's ailing hip found acute inflammation in that joint and his quadriceps muscle. After missing eight games with the injury Dec. 28-Jan. 11, O'Neal returned for four games, but the pain came back.

"His activity, the activity, is exacerbating it," Riley said. "That's all. That's what happens. He's trying to do everything he do. He's gotten all the treatment he can get. And now it's probably going to be an inactive period of time until the thing heals."

San Antonio's Tim Duncan could take advantage of O'Neal's absence and continue his recent surge. Duncan is averaging 21.8 points, 14.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots while shooting 50.0 percent in his last five games.

Duncan was held to 12 points and eight boards in the Spurs' first meeting with the Heat on Nov. 7, but San Antonio won 88-78 behind 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists from Manu Ginobili.

Wade missed that game while recovering from offseason knee and shoulder surgeries.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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