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Big 3 Take Over

14 Jun

The Heat’s Big 3 showed what they are capable of doing in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.  It’s been the story of the playoffs for the Miami Heat. Lose a game, build doubters, then respond with a huge win. Game 4 of the NBA Finals was no different as the Heat came back after the 3rd worst loss in Finals history to win 109-93 tying up the series at 2 games apiece.

The Heat improved to 6-0 in the playoffs following a loss, and have won each game by double digits.

LeBron James was as aggressive as he’s been all series long totaling a game high 33 points and adding 11 rebounds. This performance was really only a matter of time for LeBron, who has been heavily criticized for not taking charge.

What was unexpected in Game 4 was the play of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Wade easily played his best game of the playoffs scoring 32 points, hauling in 6 rebounds, more than he’s had through the first 3 games combined, and doing it defensively with 6 steals. He joins Isiah Thomas as the only players in Finals history to score at least 30 points and have 6 or more steals in one game. Wade was averaging just 2.7 second half points per game in the first 3 games. In the 3rd quarter, Wade scored 8 points and closed the deal in the 4th for Miami. For at least one night, Wade was able to silence his critics.

Chris Bosh enforced himself in the paint, where Miami outscored San Antonio 50-38. Bosh scored 20 points and brought in a game high 13 rebounds. Through the first 3 games of the series, no Heat player scored more than 19 points, Miami’s Big 3 set out to change that in Game 4, and they did. Ray Allen also showed up scoring 14 points on the night.

Erik Spoelstra may have been the one who ignited his team. Spolestra took Udonis Haslem out of the starting lineup in favor of Mike Miller, and didn’t play Chris Anderson. Although Miller didn’t score, it looked like the change made a big difference in the game.

It was a different story for the Spurs. Tony Parker showed no ill-effects of his hamstring injury in the first half scoring 15 points. The game was tied at 49 at the break, and the Spurs had gone on an 11-2 run to get there. Parker was a completely different player in the 2nd half scoring 0 points as San Antonio was outscored 60-44.

The health of Parker is a big concern for the Spurs, however a bigger concern may be what is going on with Manu Ginobili who continued to be a now show in the Finals. Ginobili scored 5 points on 1/5 shooting. He’s averaging 7.5 points per game in the Finals after averaging about 12 points per game in the regular season.

Spurs big-man Tiago Splitter looked scared and was blocked on each of his 3 shot attempts. Splitter needs to realize he’s a 7-footer and use it to his advantage.

The biggest difference for San Antonio was how Miami defended Gary Neal and Danny Green who erupted combining for 51 points in Game 3. Neal and Green didn’t have nearly the same impact in game 4. They combined to score 23 points on 6/9 from deep. Their opportunities were limited with the Heat closing in hard forcing them to pass it instead of shoot.

Kawhi Leonard could only contain LeBron for so long, and he finally cracked defensively for the Spurs. Leonard was decent offensively scoring 12 points and adding 7 rebounds. Tim Duncan was the best Spurs player putting in a team high 20 points in the loss.

The Heat easily played their best game of the Finals in Game four. The major question is going to be can Miami do it again? It’s the first time in the Big 3 era that the Heat have played a stretch of 10 games without winning 2 in a row. Miami has been so inconsistent since the Bulls series and there’s little reason to believe the Heat will bring it for Sunday’s Game 5. Tip-off for that one is scheduled for 8pm from San Antonio.

Something the Spurs can take advantage is the 2 full-days off leading up to Sunday. Tony Parker could especially use the days to rest his hamstring, and any rest is beneficial for Duncan.

 
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Posted by on 06/14/2013 in NBA

 

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