With a precise surgical offense the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the Miami Heat 107-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. If you are a Heat fan, history is not on your side as teams which go down 3-1 in the NBA Finals are 0-31.
“They smashed us, two straight home games,” Heat star LeBron James said in the postgame news conference.
Just like in Game 3 where they shot a NBA Finals record 75.8 percent from the field, the Spurs dominated the Heat in all phases of the game. Their defense was definitely dominant in the first half, holding Miami to 12 of 34 (35 percent) for 36 points. James led the Heat with nine first-half points on 3-of-7 shooting.
On offense, San Antonio’s post men went to work as Kawhi Leonard followed his strong Game 3 performance with a team high 20 points and 14 rebounds, Tim Duncan had a nasty dunk for two of his 10 points, and Boris Diaw was once again the linchpin for San Antonio. When Diaw was on the floor, the offense ran through him for great success, as he accumulated eight points and a game-high nine assists.
“We’re going to use our home court and we’re going to come with the same focus that we did in these last two games, and hopefully close it out at home,” Duncan said.
According to the Elias Sport Bureau: The Spurs are shooting 54.2 percent through the first four games of the NBA Finals. That’s the second highest FG pct by any team through Game 4 of the Finals in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55).
Over the next three days as the series flies back to the “Lone Star” state, expect many critics to harp on the Heat’s lack of energy or desire. What those critics will be overlooking is the Heat have played 413 games and 21 Finals games in the Big 3 era and all good things do come to an end sooner or later.
Tired or not one thing is for certain.
Miami’s inability to defend San Antonio’s precision ball movement for the full 24 seconds, and the Spurs ability to time after time end up with a shot from somebody who didn’t have a defender nearby. Is a big reason why the Heat’s two-year reign as NBA Champions could be coming to an end Sunday night.
“Having two days in between the next game will allows us to get away from the game physically but still think about it mentally,” a dejected Dwyane Wade said. “It is a game to game thing and we expect to go to San Antonio to do whatever we got to do to win the game.
Miami had gone 48 straight playoff games without consecutive losses, the 3rd-longest streak in NBA history.
The last time the Heat had lost back-to-back playoff games was in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals (lost 3 straight vs Celtics.) If they lose three straight this year, the series will not be coming back to South Beach and it will the Heat this go around not the Spurs with a long summer ahead of them.