LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat are known as The Big Three, and they were predicted to bring multiple championships to Miami. But it was an uncelebrated three “no name” players for the San Antonio Spurs that have the Heat in hot water after game 3 of the NBA finals. The championship series now stands at 2 games to 1 in favor of the underdog and veteran Spurs team, with game 4 in San Antonio Thursday promising an all out effort by the Heat to get fired up and tie the series at 2 games apiece.
LeBron opened up the contest by missing 11 of his first 13 shots thanks to an incredible defensive job by the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard. Leonard added 12 points and two rebounds in 29 minutes of play, but it was his defensive effort pushing King James away from the basket that forced Lebron to shoot nothing but jumpers pretty much the entire contest. On the offensive side of the ball, virtual unknowns Danny Green and Gary Neal added 51 points and helped set an NBA championship series record for three-pointers made by a team in one game.
The two players were at one time undrafted and unwanted, but they spurred San Antonio to one of the largest blowouts in NBA finals history. The Spurs made a record 16 three-pointers, and Tim Duncan recovered from probably his worst finals game ever in game 2 to add 12 points and 14 rebounds. Miami is backed up against the proverbial wall, owning a 3 – 22 record when playing in San Antonio in the regular season. The next two contests give San Antonio the home court advantage, and it will take a reappearing act by the nearly invisible Bosh, Wade and James to send the series back to Miami.
The final score of 113 – 77 gave the Spurs the third largest margin of victory in NBA finals history, and Miami looked like anything but the winningest team of the regular season. Lebron finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, a total that was almost matched by Leonard. Every game that San Antonio can equal James’ offensive output with Leonard’s efforts certainly gives the Spurs a huge edge. The only bad news of the entire game for San Antonio came when their perennial All-Star guard Tony Parker left limping late in the contest.
An MRI has revealed that Parker suffered a right hamstring strain, and is day to day. However, his presence was not needed in the 36 point blowout, and if the unsung Spurs trio continues to play as they have been in the series, San Antonio is in great shape. Danny Green has now scored more points in the first three games than Lebron James, and that stat line alone is indicative of how the series stands. For San Antonio’s Green, having a 2 – 1 advantage in the NBA finals against Lebron James is revenge of a sort. He has been cut by multiple teams, including a Cleveland Cavaliers squad that had James on the roster at that time. Game 4 is scheduled for 9 PM EST in San Antonio on Thursday.
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