San Antonio wins series 4-1
|Game 1: Thursday, June 5th|
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|Game 2: Sunday, June 8th|
|Recap »Boxscore »|
|Game 3: Tuesday, June 10th|
|Recap »Boxscore »|
|Game 4: Thursday, June 12th|
|Recap »Boxscore »|
|Game 5: Sunday, June 15th|
|Recap »Boxscore »|
9:00 PM ET, June 12, 2014
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
MIAMI -- Here they are again, back on the brink of a championship.
It slipped away from the San Antonio Spurs last year, but it would take something special -- historic, actually -- to stop them now.
The Miami Heat would have to make the biggest comeback in NBA Finals history.
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"They're the two-time champs, they're a great team and there is still one more game," Spurs guard Tony Parker said. "We have to win one more game."
Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and 14 rebounds, and the Spurs routed the Heat again, winning 107-86 on Thursday night to open a commanding 3-1 series lead.
The Spurs can win their fifth NBA championship with a victory at home in Game 5 on Sunday and avenge their seven-game loss to Miami last year. They have three chances, and the way they're dominating the Heat, they might need just one.
"I'm pleased that they performed as well as they did while we've been in Miami, and that's about as far as it goes," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Now we've got to go back home and play as well or better."
"They smashed us," James said. "Two straight home games got off to awful starts. They came in and were much better than us in these last two games. It's just that simple."
No team has overcome a 3-1 deficit in the Finals, and the way the Heat were outclassed twice on their home floor makes it hard to imagine the two-time champions being the first.
"We put ourselves in a position where it is about making history," James said.
Parker added 19 points, and Tim Duncan had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who shot 57 percent from the field and are hitting 54 percent in the series.
High Separation Anxiety For Spurs' Foes
The Spurs, who joined the 1977 Trail Blazers as the only teams to win back-to-back games by 19 or more in the NBA Finals, have won 11 games by 15 or more during the 2014 playoffs, the most by any NBA team in a single postseason.
|4 tied, including 2013 Heat||7|
Shooting Prowess Proving Historic
The Spurs' combined shooting percentage through the first four games of the series against the Heat is the second highest by any team in a Finals in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55):
-- ESPN Stats & Information,
Elias Sports Bureau
The Spurs lost twice in Miami to end last year's Finals, their only defeat in the championship round. They won their two games in South Florida this time by a combined 40 points.
San Antonio's surprising dominance has Miami on its heels, and unless Miami can figure things out quickly, the Heat's two-year championship reign will come to an abrupt end.
If this was the last home game of the season in Miami, it looked and sounded nothing like the ones to end the previous two years, which featured confetti falling and trophies raised. This one had the unfamiliar sound of boos late in the first half and a chant of "Go, Spurs, go!" with less than three minutes left from the San Antonio fans who remained long after many of Miami's had bolted.
A Heat win Sunday would force a Game 6 in Miami on Tuesday.
The Heat had followed their past 13 postseason losses with a victory, but now at the end of a fourth straight season that has gone the distance, they might be out of gas. Miami seemed to lack the energy -- or maybe effort -- to defend San Antonio's precision ball movement for the full 24 seconds, and time after time, the Spurs ended up with a shot from somebody who didn't have a defender nearby.
Not quite as sharp as when they shot a Finals-record 75.8 percent in the first half Tuesday night, the Spurs were still plenty good enough to open another huge lead by halftime, and they withstood every attempt Miami made to make a run.
"We were expecting a reaction from them but we were ready for it, so we just did the same thing," Spurs forward Boris Diaw said.
The Spurs knew their defense had to be better, realizing their once-in-a-lifetime, 19-for-21 start in Tuesday's 111-92 Game 3 victory covered the fact that they allowed Miami to make more than 50 percent in the game.
They held Miami to 35 percent in the first half.
"They played great, and I can honestly say I don't think any of us were expecting this type of performance," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
SportsNation: Spurs One Win Away
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San Antonio blew the game open late in the second quarter with seven straight points, capped by Leonard's soaring follow dunk that made it 55-33.
James, who battled cramps in Game 1, left the court and briefly returned to the locker room midway through the first quarter Thursday. But he had 10 quick points in the third quarter to bring Miami within 13. However, San Antonio pushed it to 81-57 after three and never looked back.
Under Popovich, the Spurs have won 15 of the 18 best-of-seven series in which they led 2-1. ... The Heat hadn't lost back-to-back games in the playoffs since dropping three straight against the Boston Celtics in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals.
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12: The locker of Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs before Game Four of the 2014 NBA Finals...(Photo by Andrew D Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Kawhi Leonard led the way for the second straight game, and now his Spurs are just one win away from an NBA championship. He stuffed the box score -- 20 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, 3 steals -- and suffocated whichever Heat player he guarded with tenacious defense. It's Kawhi's world, and we just live in it.
X factor: Game 4 was something of a repeat of Game 3, and Boris Diaw was once again the linchpin for San Antonio. When Diaw was on the floor, the offense ran through him to great success, as he accumulated eight points and a game-high nine assists.
That was ... lopsided: LeBron James had a solid game, but he received practically zero help from his team. That reliance on James doomed the Heat and resulted in the Game 4 blowout that likely sealed Miami's Finals fate.
The Spurs have won 11 games by 15 or more points during the 2014 playoffs, the most by any NBA team in a single postseason.[+]
Most Wins By 15 Points in a Postseason
The Spurs won Games 3 and 4 by a combined 40 points, which would be the largest points differential on the road in NBA Finals history, assuming San Antonio closes out the series in Game 5 at home.[+]
Highest Points Differential on Road - NBA Finals History
FROM ELIAS: The Heat lost consecutive NBA Finals games by combined 40 points. They're the 1st team to lose by combined 40 points in consecutive NBA Finals games since the 1977 76ers against the Trail Blazers. The Spurs are the 1st team to win consecutive road games by combined 40 points in NBA Finals history.
From Elias: The Spurs are shooting 54.2 percent through the first four games of the NBA Finals. That's the second highest FG pct by any team through Game 4 of the Finals in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55).[+]
Highest FG Pct Through 1st 4 Games in NBA Finals - Shot-Clock Era (Since 1954-55)
The Spurs hold a 2-1 lead in this series - and that has a lot to with 2 historic shooting performances. In Game 1, the Spurs shot 87.5 percent in the 4th quarter (14-16). In Game 3, San Antonio shot 86.7 percent from the field in the first quarter (13-15). Those are the two highest field goal percentages by a team in any quarter of a NBA Finals game in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55).[+]
Spurs in 2014 NBA Finals
The Heat are allowing 107.2 points per 100 possessions this postseason, by far their worst mark in any postseason in the James-Wade-Bosh era.[+]
Pts Allowed Per 100 Possessions - Heat Defense in Playoffs
In 70 minutes of action this series, Mario Chalmers has totaled 10 points and 9 turnovers while shooting 25.0 percent from the floor (3-12). Norris Cole hasn't been any better - he's putting up just 3.3 points per game this series on 26.7 percent shooting (4-15).[+]
Mario Chalmers NBA Finals Career
The Heat aren't pushing the panic button quite yet as they also trailed 2-1 against the Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals before coming back to win the series in 7 games. But Game 4 is virtually a must win for Miami - no team in NBA Finals history has overcome a 3-1 series deficit (31 teams have trailed 3-1).
Kawhi Leonard led the way for the Spurs in Game 3, posting a regular-season and postseason career-high 29 points. He was averaging just 9.0 points per game through the first 2 games of this series.[+]
Kawhi Leonard - 2014 NBA Finals
Coach Gregg Popovich made the bold decision before Game 3 to start Boris Diaw in place of Tiago Splitter...it turned out to be a nice move by Pop. Diaw had a plus-minus of +20, a team-high. He had a plus-minus of +30 in Game 1. Through the first 3 games, Diaw has a total plus-minus of +45, which is the 2nd-highest through Game 3 of the NBA Finals in the last 15 years.[+]
The Heat have gone 48 straight playoff games without consecutive losses, the 3rd-longest streak in NBA history. Miami has won 13 straight games following a loss. The last time the Heat lost back-to-back playoff games was in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals (lost 3 straight vs Celtics).[+]
Most Games Without Consecutive Losses - NBA Playoff History
The Heat have a 2-0 series record when trailing 2-1 in the James-Wade-Bosh era (since 2011 playoffs). Miami fell behind 2-1 against Indiana in the 2012 Conference Semifinals and then proceeded to win the next 3 games to close out the series. The Heat also fell behind 2-1 in the 2013 NBA Finals against the Spurs, but rallied back to win in 7.[+]
Heat When Trailing 2-1 - James-Wade-Bosh Era (Since 2011 Playoffs)
From Elias: The Heat and Spurs have combined to make 64 threes this series, the most in NBA Finals history through 3 games. Fun fact: In the first NBA Finals series that featured the 3-point line back in 1980, the Lakers and 76ers combined to go 1-20 from 3-point range for the series, which lasted 6 games. Julius Erving hit the only 3.[+]
Most Combined 3-Pt FG Made - Through 3 Games of NBA Finals
The Heat scored 36 points in the 1st half of Game 4, their fewest in any 1st half of an NBA Finals game in the Big 3 era (since 2010-11).
Kawhi Leonard continues to make LeBron James work on offense. James was guarded by Leonard on 24 of the Heat's plays in the first half but went 0-of-2 from the field against him. James was guarded by all other Spurs on 12 Heat plays, shooting 3-of-5 in those situations (not including transition). James has been pushed far away from the basket on all of his shots tonight.[+]
LeBron James Average FGA Distance, NBA Finals
The Heat finished 4-of-15 in the paint in the first half. The 8 paint points are tied for their second fewest in any half this season. Dwyane Wade alone has gone 1-of-7 in the paint.
ESPN Stats & Information
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