- GAME 4
WHO: Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs
WHEN: 9 p.m. Thursday
SERIES: Spurs lead, 2-1The Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO – From big 3s to Big Three, the Spurs had it all Tuesday night in the NBA finals’ raucous return to San Antonio.
Danny Green made seven of the Spurs’ finals-record 16 3-pointers, Tim Duncan had 12 points and 14 rebounds, and the Spurs routed the Miami Heat 113-77 to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
Green scored 27 points and Gary Neal made six 3-pointers while scoring 24 as San Antonio went 16 of 32 from behind the arc, rolling to the third-biggest victory in finals history.
Duncan bounced back from his worst game ever in the finals, and the Spurs’ combination of fresh faces and old reliables dominated the NBA’s winningest team before an eager crowd that hadn’t seen the finals here since 1997.
The Spurs were as good as fans remembered in the old days, shutting down LeBron James until they had built a huge lead late in the third quarter.
James finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, but missed 11 of his first 13 shots against the excellent defense of Kawhi Leonard, who had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Game 4 is Thursday in San Antonio, where the Heat are 3-22 in the regular season, and so far have zero wins and one really bad beating in the postseason.
“We got what we deserved,” Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Duncan shot 3 of 13 for nine points, his worst performance ever in 25 NBA finals games, in the Heat’s 103-84 victory Sunday. Tony Parker wasn’t much better, shooting 5 of 14 and committing five turnovers, and Manu Ginobili admitted afterward the veteran trio had to play well for the Spurs to win.
They were fine, but the lesser-knowns were better.
Parker and Ginobili combined for 14 assists, but the bigger story was the guys who had never played on this stage before:
n Neal, who went undrafted after playing for LaSalle and Towson, then playing overseas for three seasons in Italy, Spain and Turkey.
n Green, who had been cut multiple times, including by James’ Cavaliers, and now has the shot to stick.
n Leonard, the draft-night trade acquisition from San Diego State who played the NBA’s four-time MVP to a stalemate.
Mike Miller made all five 3-pointers and scored 15 points for the Heat, who broke open Sunday’s game and seized momentum in the series with a 33-5 run in the second half.
The Spurs seized it back, improving to 18-7 in the finals, the best winning percentage of any team with 20 or more games.
A brief flurry by James had Miami within 15 after three quarters, but Neal, Green and Leonard combined on a 13-0 run to open the fourth.
“All of my teammates. They do a great job of encouraging me. They continue to tell me to shoot the ball. They continue to tell me whenever I’m open, to let it fly,” Green said.
James started 2 for 13, then made his final four shots of the third as the Heat got within 13 before Ginobili fired a nifty pass to Tiago Splitter under the basket for a score with 0.1 seconds remaining, making it 78-63 and setting the stage for the big fourth-quarter finish.
“We want to make them take tough shots. They missed a couple. Obviously it worked this game but next game we know they’ll come out differently,” Green said.