The NBA world learned a lot from Game 3. The Spurs blew out the Heat 111-92 in Miami. What is so interesting about this game is that the Spurs basically dismantled the Heat with their bench. Sure, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan combined for 29 points, but it was a very quiet 29. It was the role players in Danny Green, Patty Mills, and especially Kawhi Leonard that left their mark on this game.
The Spurs set an NBA Finals record for the highest field goal percentage shooting (75.8%) in a half in NBA history. Leonard and Green didn’t miss a shot until deep into the first half. Until about 4 minutes left in the half, the team was shooting over 90% from the field. That’s right. Just over 90% through 16 minutes of play. Their free throw percentage was lower than their field goal percentage for a while. The Heat’s poor defense and the lights out shooting on the Spurs end is what triggered the outbreak in the first half.
The whole first half was the Green and Leonard show, no one can dispute that. But the third quarter brought a steaming Heat comeback, bring the 21 halftime deficit down to 7 at one point. In the third quarter, the shots stopped falling for the Spurs, and because of this, the hustle plays and defensive effort from these three players is the reason why they won this game. Leonard was checking Lebron, as shown above, and he did a pretty good job of shutting down The King. Leonard caused many turnovers, as well as Danny Green who got 5 steals. Leonard took Pop’s advice to be more aggressive to a whole new level, scoring a career high. But it wasn’t just iso all-day for the hot-hand, the Spurs showed what their offense is all about by tirelessly moving the ball to find the open guy, either the 3-point shooters on the perimeter, or the guy cutting to the basket, or, of course, Duncan on the post. Sticking to their game paid off big.
Last night, everyone saw what the San Antonio Spurs will look like after the Duncan-Parker-Ginobili era ends, if it ever ends. We saw the young core of this otherwise extremely old team. Parker and Duncan guided the team, but basically watched as their teammates put up an unbelievable show against the reigning back-to-back Champions. The Spurs not only embarrassed the Heat, but put them back into another must win situation in Game 4 at home.