NBA Finals Game Three: San Antonio Spurs 111 – Miami Heat 92
Many people have claimed that, aside from the fourth quarter in Game One, the Miami Heat have been completely outplaying the San Antonio Spurs during the NBA Finals. However, the Spurs stopped all of that commotion with a huge 19-point win in Game Three, as they now have the 2-1 series lead.
The Spurs, who had the best road record in the NBA this year by a five-game margin, have now regained the home-court advantage and put serious pressure on the Heat to win in Game Four. The good news for Heat fans is that the Spurs also won Game Three last season, but Miami eventually went on to win its second NBA Championship in a row.
The big factor on Tuesday night wasn’t part of either teams Big Three. Instead, it was Kawhi Leonard who had the night of his life. Leonard’s previous career high for points came earlier this postseason when he scored 26 points against the Memphis Grizzlies. He would top that personal best with 29 points on Tuesday, and he also had two huge blocks to add to his stat sheet. Spurs fans said that Leonard needed to be instrumental to counteract the effectiveness of LeBron James and he certainly did just that in Game Three.
James and Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 22 points apiece. They also led the team with 40 and 38 minutes, respectively, but they were not nearly as effective on defense as they were on offense. Despite a 3-pointer at the beginning of the third quarter that chipped away at San Antonio’s lead, Chris Bosh would only score 9 points on the evening and be a minimal factor throughout the game.
In addition to Leonard, Tony Parker and Danny Green each scored 15 points and Tim Duncan added 14. Manu Ginobili finished the night with just 11 points, but he had a huge 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter and an emphatic dunk to seal the deal with just five minutes left in the game.
Speaking of the Spurs first quarter, they would go on to score a season-high 41 points. They also put up 30 in the second quarter, which gave them the 71-50 lead at halftime. During the first half, San Antonio shot 75.8% from the field, making 25 of 33 shots.
This series is shaping up to be as epic as many had hoped. Sure, the Heat have looked like a better team through many of the quarters. But you can bet that Kawhi Leonard learned tonight how important he is to this team and how influential he can be when he is effective. The Heat already had to worry about Duncan, Parker and Ginobili, so cooling Leonard off won’t be an easy task. You can check back with sportspicks.com before Game Four on Thursday to see how the Heat might fair against Leonard and the rest of the Spurs.
After the win, the Spurs have moved to 4/9 odds to win the NBA Championship, while the Heat have fallen to 7/4.