Spurs at Heat Game Four, World Cup Begins, Love on ESPN

Buda Mendes

The Heat face a must win on their home floor in game four of the NBA Finals after a spectacular performance in game three gave the Spurs a 2-1 lead in the series. Brazil faces Croatia in the first game of the World Cup this afternoon.

Tonight's game

Spurs at Heat
8:00 pm Central 
ABC

Following a brilliant performance by the Spurs in game three, the Heat will look to even the NBA Finals at two games a piece tonight in Miami.  They will have to find a way to slow down the Spurs offense, which has been dominant in two of the three games so far.

Kawhi Leonard, who had been quiet in the first two games, exploded for 29 points in game three, while also working to contain LeBron James on defense. The Spurs were a study in ball and player movement in the first half of game three, shooting 75% from the field as they relentlessly created good looks that they knocked down. It was one of the great halves of offensive basketball you will see.

The Heat have not had a ton of trouble scoring themselves, as they are shooting over 50% from the field and 43% from three, but incredibly, it hasn't been good enough as the Spurs are shooting even better (53%/48%). It's rare to see even one team in a Finals shoot the ball this well, never mind two, as the defenses usually lock in at this point in the season. But these are the two best offenses in the league, and they are showing it. It's made for an entertaining series so far, and hopefully we will get another good one tonight.

Yesterday Kevin Love spoke publicly for the first time this summer, when he went on ESPN's "SportsNation" program. We discussed what he had to say yesterday, in this thread.

I bring this up again to mention something both Airete and Madison Dan have brought up recently: no matter how much he wants to get traded, there is an argument for not doing so.  Play it out. Do your best to be as good as you can be this year. Have a season of (hopefully) competent basketball.  Force him to walk away from the extra year and money that he would be giving up if he leaves the Wolves as a free agent.

This obviously makes more sense the less enticing the trade packages are; certainly there are many deals I wouldn't do. But there are probably some that I would. The problem is that it's unclear that Flip Saunders will value the right things in a trade; my (lack of) faith in him is such that I would vastly prefer him not making a decision as to what trade offer to accept.

Nonetheless. I think it's academic. I think he'll be traded on draft night. Right now I think Chicago and Golden State are probably co-favorites to land him, with Boston and Phoenix lesser possibilities. People won't let go of the Cleveland idea, but I just can't see it. No matter how nuts Dan Gilbert can get, I can't see them trading the first pick for a year of Love.

Never mind all that. The important thing is that the World Cup starts today.

Host Brazil faces Croatia in a Group A game at 3:00 pm Central on ESPN.  There is immense pressure on host Brazil, and this is a pretty tough fixture to start out with. Croatia has significant talent, and is led by Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, one of the classiest playmakers in world football.

The even better news is that while there is only one game today, starting tomorrow and going through June 26th, there will be a minimum of three World Cup matches every day. A fantastic two weeks for a soccer fan.

Today in History

1381: Peasants' Revolt in England; Rebels arrive at Blackheath
1665: England installs municipal government in New York
1776: Virginia adopts declaration of rights
1792: George Vancouver discovers the site that would become Vancouver, BC
1830: French soldiers land in Algeria, beginning of colonization
1931: Al Capone indicted on 5000 counts
1943: Himmler orders extermination of all Polish Ghettos. 
1964: Nelson Mandela sentenced to life in prison in South Africa
1967: Israel wins six day war
1978: David Berkowitz sentenced to 25 years to life 
1981: Raiders of the Lost Ark premieres

Today's musical birthday is Chick Corea, born in 1941


Happy Thursday. Happy World Cup Day!

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