- Series Hub: Spurs-Heat
SAN ANTONIO — There will be no sugarcoating the Miami Heat’s performance in Game 3 of The Finals on Tuesday. Simply, the champs played like garbage and earned every bit of their 36-point defeat at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.
Just ask them.
LeBron James: “I played like ****.”
Dwyane Wade: “We just got our butts kicked.”
Erik Spoelstra: “You usually get what you deserve in this league, in terms of teams putting forth more effort or more focus, more attention to detail. They did that last night and we paid the price for it.”
So yeah, before the Heat took the practice floor on Wednesday, there was “ownership” of the previous night’s loss, as Spoelstra would say. And that’s nice. But you have to wonder how such a talented team comes up with such a feeble performance at such a critical point in the season.
There’s no looking back now, though. It’s time to move on to Game 4 on Thursday (9 p.m. ET, ABC). And James is guaranteeing one thing.
“I’ll be much better tomorrow night,” he said.
James reiterated that he puts the responsibility for Tuesday’s loss on his own shoulders.
“I can’t afford to perform like I did last night,” he said, “and expect us to win on the road. It’s that simple.”
But though he couldn’t buy a bucket from the outside in Game 3 (he was 1-for-9 from mid-range and 1-for-5 on threes), James says that his shooting wasn’t a mental thing.
“I’ve been in good rhythm all year,” he said. “I know what I can do. It’s just about going up there and knocking them down. I will do that.”
Wade is a believer.
“We’re not worried about LeBron,” Wade said. “He’s going to find his way. He’s going to get in a groove. As teammates, you try to figure out a way to get him an easy basket in a breakout, try to get it back to him, get a lay-up, so he can see it the ball go in. As a scorer, you need to see it go in. Besides that, we’re not concerned about him at all.”
James looked like he couldn’t wait to play Game 4, and there’s some thoughts out there that he’ll try to replicate his Game 6 performance from last year’s conference finals. But James hit 10 shots from outside the paint in that game, a number you just don’t “will” yourself into.
More than likely, he’s going to need help if the Heat are going to even the series on Thursday.
“It’s not all on him,” Spoelstra said. “All of us, collectively, need to do a better job tomorrow night.”