The Heat come into tonight’s game down 2-1 after losing in Miami for the first time this postseason. If they can’t defend home-court tonight they’re pretty much toast. The Spurs have drilled the Heat twice while Miami’s only win has come by a bucket. Time for LeBron to decide his team’s fate as usual.
Kawhi Leonard was able to stay out of foul trouble in Game 3 for the first time in the series and the result was the best game of his career. He scored 29 and turned the ball over just once. Most importantly he got the better of the best basketball player on Earth. Now, LeBron didn’t exactly have a bad night – or at least by mortal standards – he dropped 22 on 64% shooting with 7 rebounds 5 assists and 5 steals. But he had SEVEN turnovers and never found any kind of rhythm. The game was never close as the Spurs unloaded 41 first quarter points and had 71 at the half. LeBron is going to need to be aggressive tonight and attack the basket every possession from the jump. Put the pressure on Leonard to decide whether to take the early foul(s) or let James get off 8 shots in the first quarter.
The Spurs went on a shooting tear for the ages in Game 3, hitting 19-of-21 in a 17 minute span in which they scored 56 points. All that coming after they shot 14/16 in the fourth quarter of Game 1. “That will never happen again” said Coach Gregg Popovich.
In Game 3 the Spurs used Duncan, Splitter, and Diaw on Bosh and turned him into a non-factor holding him to 9 points. If Miami can’t find any perimeter shots for Bosh tonight their offense will be severely handicapped. Interesting wrinkle by Popovich starting Boris Diaw, who has had a nice impact on this series as we suggested he might in our series preview at mensmagdaily.
One of the main reason the Spurs are on the cusp of winning this series is their backcourt. Parker and Ginobili (and at times Patty Mills) have been able to get into the lane over the last two games whenever they want, and Danny Green his knocking everything down – and when that happens San Antonio is nearly unstoppable. Chalmers and Cole did a solid job on Parker in Game 1 and he still got 18 and 9, but since then Norris Cole has disappeared and Chalmers is getting absolutely annihilated, showing what the great Clyde Frazier would call “matador D.” Parker is collapsing the defense and finding all kinds of open space for his teammates. The Heat need to find some perimeter defense quick.
Then there’s that Tim Duncan guy. As usual he is quietly having his way with whatever poor soul is attempting to defend him (Bosh/Andersen.) In the three games Duncan has 53 points and 31 rebounds, and that’s while riding the bench for most of the fourth quarter during two easy wins. He is shooting 69% on 22/32. All systems are go for San Antonio to put this one to bed.
Article By: Anthony Schiano