For the second straight game, the San Antonio Spurs have played beautiful basketball and blown out the reigning champion Miami Heat on their home court.
Spurs 107 Heat 86
The Heat turned the ball over on their first possession, but still managed to take a 2-0 advantage after a Chris Bosh drive – that would be their only lead of the night.
Kawhi Leonard was again the high man with 20 points (7-of-12 FG), 14 rebounds (5 offensive), 3 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks.
Yep, the guy was possessed.
San Antonio got up early and pushed out to a 13-4 lead that forced Miami to take a time-out.
The Heat responded as an aggressive Chris Bosh joined the party. He started the game by attacking the rim. With 4:49 left in the first, Bosh had 6 points (3-of-4 FG) and 2 rebounds; that’s the same amount of shots he had in Game 3!
The Spurs picked up where they left off in Game 3 – plenty of ball movement. Their offensive was in sync; even when Miami displayed a great defensive sequence, the Spurs would get bailed out by a Tony Parker fadeaway late in the shot clock, or a corner three by Danny Green with a hand in his face.
Dwyane Wade had a horrible night, missing numerous shots under the basket (1-of-7 FG in the paint in the first half). Wade hit 1 of his first 11 shots and was 1-of-12 through the first three periods. He finished the night with 10 points (3-of-13), 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 3 turnovers. Wade is the classic example of a guy with too many miles under his legs. It could be interpreted as not hustling, but he just looked beat.
Miami stuck to their game plan and were running shootings off the three-point line. But if there’s no help defence, you allow guys like Matt Bonner to drive into the paint for an uncontested teardrop.
Spurs, as they have done the entire series, led 26-17 at the end of the first period.
Inject Patty Mills. The Australian media has prorated Mills as the Spurs’ star player throughout the NBA Finals. No offence intended, but that’s far from the truth. Nonetheless, in the 2013 NBA Finals, Mills played just 13 minutes and had a total of 4 points. But throughout this Finals series he’s been a vital spark off the bench. Patty opened up the second quarter with a great bounce pass to Tiago Splitter for an open layup, and on the next trip down the floor found Danny Green for an open three.
Mills finished the game with 14 points (5-of-8 FG, 4-of-6 3FG), 1 rebound and 2 assists.
There really isn’t much to say about Miami; they received a beat-down.
Frenchman Boris Diaw has played a pivotal role throughout the NBA Finals. A true testament to that is the fact that he’s got the best plus/minus (+45) of any player in these Finals. His addition into the starting lineup creates opportunities for the Spurs thanks to his impressive passing ability. Diaw finished the game with 8 points (3-of-6 FG), 9 rebounds, 9 assists and 1 steal. Of all of his dimes, this no-look one takes the cake:
Ray Allen nailed a couple of threes and Miami were back within 9. But coming into the game, the Spurs were shooting 54 per cent from the floor and that continued.
Tony Parker began to drive, and if you allow him to get in the paint with his right hand, you’re in trouble. Tony finished the night with 19 points (8-of-15 FG) and 2 assists.
Miami sustained their unenthusiastic demeanour. Their spirits were crushed even more as Leonard executed one of the nastiest, two-handed putback dunks you’ll ever see:
Spurs 55: 20-36 FG (55.6%), 6-13 3FG (46.2%), 9-10 FT (90%), 25 rebounds, 12 assists, 5 steals and 7 turnovers.
Miami 36: 12-34 FG (35.3%), 4-10 3FG (40%), 8-12 FT (66.7%), 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 7 turnovers.
Eight different players for the Spurs had scored by the break, and by the end of the game all 13 players on their roster had points on the board.
The Spurs were out to make amends for their Game 3 third quarter, where they were outscored 25-15 and let Miami back in the contest.
But nothing was going right for Miami. LeBron James tried to rally his troops, posting the quietest 19-point quarter in history. James had 19 (7-of-8 FG) of the Heat’s 21 points (1-of-9 FG) in the quarter.
James finished with a game-high 28 points (10-of-17 FG, 4-of-8 3FG), 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 turnovers.
At this stage of the game, Diaw had the same amount of assists as the whole Miami team: 7.
Coming into the final quarter, the Spurs led 81-57.
The Heat went on a 7-0 run early, and with 9:05 remaining Miami had shaved the lead to 18. But thanks to more impact from Mills and Diaw, and Chambers’ woeful form, the Spurs pulled away and that was it.
It’s incredible that two of the Spurs’ big three (Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili) combined for just 17 points, and they still won by 21.
Huge shout out to Duncan for breaking two NBA records in this game: leaping Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most career playoff minutes in NBA history; and surpassing Magic Johnson for most double-doubles in playoff history with 158.
Anytime you’re mentioned in the same breath as those guys it’s an honour; to break their records, that means you’re a stud.
- 11 times in these playoffs the Spurs have won by 15 or more points. Three of those victories have been in the Finals.
- In the NBA Finals, 31 times a series has been locked at 3-1; no team has overcome that deficit.
- Out of the 223 times there has been a 3-1 series score in playoff history, only eight times has the trailing side prevailed.
- The Spurs’ 21-point win is the third-largest in NBA Finals history by a road team. (1. Celtics, 23 points in 1981; 2. Bulls, 22 points in 1996; 3. Knicks, 22 points in 1972).
- Spurs have outscored the Heat by 40 points in first half of Games 3 and 4.
- The Spurs are shooting 54.2 per cent through the first four games of the NBA Finals. That is the second-highest field goal percentage through four games of a Finals series in the shot-clock era.
- The Heat have more turnovers than assists in these NBA Finals.
The series heads back to San Antonio for Game 5: Monday June 16, 10:00am (AEST).
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