SAN ANTONIO – Game 4 of the NBA finals will tell more about the Miami Heat than a 66-win regular season ever could.
Any questions about LeBron James and the Heat were supposed to have been answered by now. He was too good to be taken out of games, his teammates too talented to go through long stretches where they weren’t contributing.
But they didn’t resemble the league’s reigning powerhouse in Game 3, when the San Antonio Spurs handed them the third-worst beating in finals history in a 113-77 romp. They looked like the confused club from two years ago, when the finals last came to Texas.
Another loss Thursday night and they’re on the verge of something much bigger than another finals failure.
Lose this series, and the whole Big Three era might be a failure.
“Something has to give (Thursday) night,” James said Wednesday. “They have a championship pedigree. They have four (titles). We have two. So something has to give. We’ll see what happens. We’ve been able to bounce back throughout adverse times throughout the season throughout the years that we’ve been together, these three years. We’ll see.”
“We’ll see” is the approach the Spurs are taking with Tony Parker, who has a mild hamstring strain. The team is calling the All-Star point guard day to day after he was hurt during Game 3 and had an MRI exam Wednesday.
The Spurs didn’t need much from Parker Tuesday, when Danny Green and Gary Neal combined for 13 of the Spurs’ NBA finals-record 16 3-pointers and Kawhi Leonard had 14 points and 12 rebounds, essentially playing James even.
James had his practice jersey hanging over his back like a cape Wednesday, and he knows the Heat need him to be Super on Thursday.
And he insists that what he’s going to be.
“As dark as it was last night, can’t get no darker than that, especially for me,” he said. “So, I guarantee I’ll be better (Thursday) for sure.”
He should, given that his 7-for-21 effort with no free throws was about as bad as the four-time MVP can play.