Kawhi Leonard has arrived, and it keyed the Spurs game 3 win over the Miami Heat.
Leonard broke out in this one scoring a personal career high 29 points as the Spurs withstood a Heat rally to win game three 111-92. It was the most points Leonard has ever scored in his 3 years in the league. That includes both the regular season and post-season.
After scoring a combined 18 points through the first 2 games, Leonard had 18 points at the half.
This was the Heat’s first home loss of the playoffs. San Antonio now leads the series 2-1, and will look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead when these teams meet for game 4 from Miami on Thursday night.
The Spurs put on the best offensive display first-half showing in NBA Finals history. That’s not opinion, but fact.
San Antonio hit 19 of their first 21 shots, scored 71 points, led by 21 at half-time, and shot 75.8 percent (25/33) from the field in the half, the highest field-goal percentage in any half in Finals history. The Spurs led by as many as 25.
Miami began its comeback trail in the third quarter scoring the quarter’s first 6 points, and outscoring San Antonio 25-15 and trailed by 11 entering the 4th. At one point in the 3rd, the Heat cut the Spurs lead to just 7 points. The Spurs ramped it up again in the 4th outscoring the Heat by 9 points.
Aside from Leonard who was the only Spurs player to score more than 20 points, Tony Parker and Danny Green each had 15, Tim Duncan contributed 14 points, and Manu Ginobili scored 11 off the bench.
One change Spurs coach Greg Popovich made following game 2 was inserting Boris Diaw in the starting lineup in favor of Tiago Splitter. Diaw scored 9 points, and had a game high +20. This is the 2nd time this series Diaw has led all players in +/-.
LeBron James had 14 first quarter points as he tried to keep the Heat in the game, but scored just 8 points the rest of the way. Dwyane Wade also scored 22 points, Rashard Lewis had 14, and Ray Allen added 11 off the bench. Chris Bosh wasn’t much of a factor scoring just 9 points on 4 shots.
San Antonio’s unprecedented first half, Kawhi Leonard’s break out game proved to be too much to handle for Miami.
The Heat have responded admirably all post-season following a loss, and they’re going to have to be at their best on Thursday night, otherwise Miami could be staring at a 3-1 series deficit.