(Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)
You see Floyd and Jamie over there. Hope Floyd didn’t drop too much on the Heat.
Got up in them; demolition; ass whuppin’ like Pop used to give; whatever else; it all applied. San Antonio took a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals last night, 111-92. Kawhi Leonard got hot early with a dunk and some easy baskets from inside and outside the arc, and his teammate Danny Green got off as well to help Pop and the Spurs retake home court advantage. Miami looked out of sorts on both ends and woefully just didn’t want it as much as San Antonio. This is the NBA Finals and quite honestly, the Heat played like it was an October game in Phoenix. Tim Duncan (14 points, 6 boards), Tony Parker (15 points, 4 dimes) and Manu Ginobili (11 points) didn’t have to do much because the young cats stepped up and stomped the Heat in their collective throats…
Everyone and their Pops wondered what was going on with Kawhi Leonard prior to Game 3. In the previous two games in these NBA Finals, the 22 year old out of San Diego State (shout out to Coach Fish), shot 4-12 for a total of 18 points. Those old cats needed him to be his athletic and heady self, and last night he came through with 10-13 shooting for 29 points. Danny Green, who had a lights out shooting performance in last year’s Finals, shot 7-8 for 15 points and it wasn’t about doing it from the three-point line (he made one of two), he was masterful cutting to the basket as well. The Spurs shot 25-33 (a Finals record 75.8%, besting the Magic mark of 75% in Game 3 ’09) in the first half and were up 71-50 after 24 minutes. San Antonio is now 47-0 in the postseason under Pop when leading by at least 20 at halftime.
In the Gregg Popovich era, the Spurs are 46-0 in the postseason when they are up by more than 20 points at half time. — ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 11, 2014
Looking at the box score though, last night was so weird. Check out the Heat starters:
- How does Chris Bosh shoot 4-4 and not be more involved?
- How does LeBron only take 14 shots when he’s hit 9 of them?
- Rashard Lewis was 5-7 and was 4-5 behind the arc. Huh?
- Look at Dwyane Wade. He shoots 8-12 for his 22 points?
Come on. Ray Allen shot 3-8 and scored just 11 points. He missed a few wide open threes uncharacteristically. The only starter to really have a bad game was Mario Chalmers. Dude was self check last night and missed all 8 of his attempts (0-5 from the field and 0-3 from the arc). He did go 2-2 from the stripe. Wow! Ha. I was hoping Bubba Chuck checked in at the scorer’s table in street clothes adorned of chains.
Put AI in for Chalmers man. — Michael Tillery (@michaeltillery) June 11, 2014
I’m watching the game and thinking when is LeBron going to take over. He seemed complacent and dribbled the ball at the top of the floor more than I’ve ever seen him dribble. It was like he was a steady quarterback and cool with getting everyone else involved. The hell was that about in a game where San Antonio was blowing Miami out? The Spurs got to every loose ball and seemingly made every defensive play. Miami looked lethargic and I’m sure even Heat haters wondered when the two-time defending champs were gonna snap out of it and take over the game on their home floor. The ABC crew of Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen were very critical of Heat fans and how they left early in a Finals game, but I don’t think I would have sat around and watched that BS either. Miami played like it was a practice. There was no emotion and unless something went down Saturday night in South Beach where the entire team (coaches included) were doing never-ending shots, I’m scratching my head wondering why a team with so much to gain last night straight up sucked. It wasn’t about shooting. Miami was 32-62 and hit 10 of 21 three point attempts. They also hit 18 of 24 free throws. San Antonio’s bench outscored Miami’s 29 to 23. That’s not glaring. Again, what the hell?
- Was it the 20 Heat turnovers (Spurs had 12)?
- Was it San Antonio making more free throws (26) than Miami attempted (24)?
- Spurs shot 59.4%.
- Rebounds (Spurs 29-26) were even.
- So were the assists relatively (Spurs 21-17).
- Personal fouls were even (Miami committed 26 to the Spurs 25).
The ABC crew pointed out that Leonard played LeBron much closer than in the past. Seemed like he was all up in his jock, but it remains surprising that LeBron didn’t tell his teammates to give him the damn ball and clear everyone out especially when the Heat were able to cut the Spurs’ lead down to 7 in the third quarter. There were many times on pick and rolls where LeBron took Matt Bonner to the cup and did so like he was coasting at the cup. There isn’t a player on the Spurs roster than can keep him out of the lane and we’ll see Thursday if he comes out and stamps his name on the game as he should. Scoring 22 points even in a blowout loss just isn’t enough and that Wade played well makes me wonder if LeBron wasn’t feeling his mental and physical self in such a pivotal game on their home floor. Pressure is on the champs to get this 3-peat ship back on track. I picked the Heat 102-86 because it appeared Miami was playing the better ball heading into Game 3, but I was sorrowfully mistaken to say the least.
That was no championship effort ladies and gentlemen.
Look, San Antonio hit everything from everywhere and don’t take this as discrediting Gregg Popovich and the Spurs, but Miami played more like Indiana did near the end of the season than champs looking to threepeat last night. Erik Spolestra just didn’t have his team ready and while I’d sung his praises before the game, he was definitively out-coached last night. If the most critical conspiracy theorists were watching, it would be understandable to consider their thought process given LeBron and the Heat’s effort. Again, it wasn’t about scoring the basketball, but more how they played defensively and got after 50/50 balls. Cats were wide open on the wings, under the basket, in the tunnel, at the W, chillin’ at Sun Life Stadium, in Coral Gables where the Hurricanes stay and damn near everywhere else. Last night was the game you’d think LeBron would shut everyone up, but he didn’t and now cats everywhere will again consider San Antonio the better team and doubt his ability to cement his legacy.
Whatever, that’s on those folks.
Miami as a unit looked confused on switches like they’ve never played the Spurs before, but it wasn’t noticeable that anyone on the floor was truly upset that Spurs were running free as if they were the Seattle Seahawks wrecking shop on the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl back in February.
In Game 4, I’m going with Miami 99-96.
Yeah, that’s a Heat check…
Still going with my pick of Miami in 6.
|SAN ANTONIO SPURS (62-20)|
|59.4%||45.0%||81.2%||TEAM REBS: 8||TOTAL TO: 13|
|MIAMI HEAT (54-28)|
|51.6%||47.6%||75.0%||TEAM REBS: 5||TOTAL TO: 20|
- Spurs: Daye, James
- Heat: Beasley, Hamilton
- Spurs: –
- Heat: –
- Lead Changes: 2
- Times Tied: 4
- Arena: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
- Officials: #13 Monty McCutchen, #25 Tony Brothers, #28 Zach Zarba
- Attendance: 19900
- Duration: 2:35