Just as it appeared momentum had swung violently in the Miami Heat’s direction in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs reeled back on their home court to hand the Heat their worst playoff loss in franchise history. As basketball savants would dictate, the Spurs would have needed its “Big 3” of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili to play well at the same time.
As it turned out, it was the Spurs’ supporting cast that came up big against the Heat’s own deflated “Big 3.” I’m going to boldly suggest that the Spurs were the originators of the Big 3 concept, at least when it comes to the modern era of basketball—1990s to the present.
While Duncan notched another double-double—12 points and 14 rebounds—the game was won with the three-point barrage by Danny Green (27 points), Kawhi Leonard (14 points) and Gary Neal (24 points). The trio combined to make 15 of 16 three-point field-goals, setting a new NBA Finals record.
Also, I am starting my campaign for Danny Green as the Most Valuable Player of this championship round.
— Baller Mind Frame (@BallerMindFrame) June 12, 2013
Considering that Parker injured his hamstring in the second half, the strong play of guys like Green, Leonard and Neal is of paramount importance. And nothing in Game 3 gave me any indication that hot shooting won’t carry over into Game 4 this Thursday.
For the third straight game, the Spurs defense, and mainly Leonard’s, held LeBron James under 20 points. James finished with 15 points, which was just one less than the team-leading total of 16 points from Dwyane Wade. Mike Miller scored 15 points of his own, all of them coming off three-pointers, shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the field.
“It’s not just us stopping him,” said the Spurs’ Green about LeBron. “He’s kind of stopping himself out there, and we’re getting a little lucky.”
James said that he has to play better after the game, in which he missed 14 of his 21 field-goal attempts. “I can’t have a performance like tonight and expect to win.” That is certainly true, because, unlike the torrid pace at which the Heat were playing up until the NBA Finals, James’ game was once again more akin to the 2011 title series against the Dallas Mavericks.
Besides displaying obvious bias against the Heat, what gives me a reason to think that the Spurs’ domination will not simply be a one-game aberration is that San Antonio displayed a higher level of physicality on the defensive end, allowing them to stretch out their late-game lead to stratospheric proportions. As opposed to the Heat making the majority of their shots, which allowed them to run away with the victory in Game 2. As laws of percentages dictate, if you are making your shots now, then you are bound to miss just as much later.
With everything I know about the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, it leads to me believe by the next game his team will be that much closer to putting the final nail into the Heat’s coffin. It’s not my outright distaste for the Miami Heat and their plethora of bandwagon fans, nor the fact that the next two games are in San Antonio, either.
I’ve got a good feeling about this. Something the Heat don’t know anything about right now.