Right & Wrong: Spurs take control


Video: GameTime: Is the series over?

MIAMI — While the Spurs grabbed the lead in Game 3 of the 2014 Finals as a result of an historic first half of shooting, Game 4 was a more measured blowout, if there is such a thing. In Game 4, the Spurs jumped ahead early, leading 13-10 halfway through the first quarter, and never looked back. The Spurs led by 9 after the first quarter, led by 19 at halftime, by 24 after three, and won by 21. Miami closed to within 13 in the third quarter, but the Spurs never seemed to even come close to losing control of the game.

And they did it by playing a controlled, complete brand of basketball. Offensively, the Spurs moved the ball with ease, finding the open man for simple shots on play after play. Defensively, they took a page from Miami’s book and switched many pick and rolls, keeping Miami out of the paint and forcing the Heat to rely on the outside shot.

Here’s a look at what went right and wrong in Game 4:

Right: For a second consecutive game, Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard carried the load for the Spurs. After fouling out of Game 2, Leonard went for 29 points and 4 rebounds in Game 3, and then 20 points and 14 boards in Game 4. While Leonard seemed tentative early in The Finals, he’s been all-in in both games in Miami. While other players on the Spurs have played important roles, to be sure, no San Antonio player has changed the tenor of this series as prominently as Leonard. Also, his missed dunk attempt on Chris Andersen late in Game 4 nearly broke Twitter.

Wrong: Miami’s Big Three was missing two key parts. After going 4-4 in Game 3, Chris Bosh went for 5-11 in Game 4, contributing just 4 rebounds in nearly 40 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade had his worst performance of the series, lacking lift near the rim and missing 7 shots in the paint. Wade finished 3-13 from the floor. “Yeah, I just missed them,” he explained. “You know, I’m a very accurate shooter, so I don’t like missing. I’m not used to missing around the basket. But law of averages, man. The ball just didn’t go in. But I’ll take those same opportunities next game for sure.”

Right: The Spurs were playing The Beautiful Game on Thursday night, moving the ball with poise and precision, and no player better exemplified that than Boris Diaw. The Frenchman almost messed around and got a triple-double, finishing with 8 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists, Including a brilliant touch pass to Tim Duncan, as well as a stunning behind-the-back dish to Tiago Splitter. “You know, Boris pretty much does the same thing every night as far as helping us be a smarter team, at both ends of the floor,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “He knows what’s going on most all the time. At the offensive end he’s a passer. He understands mismatches. He knows time and score. At the defensive end, he knows when to help. He’s active. So he just helps the whole team have a better IQ, I think.”

Wrong: The Heat point guards followed up a lackluster Game 3 with another rough night. Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers combined for 8 points (with no three-pointers) and 6 assists in almost 48 minutes of play. They also did little to limit Tony Parker, who finished with 19 points and seemed to get to every spot he aimed for on the court with little resistance.

Right: Considering how much went wrong for the Miami Heat, we should note the complete game LeBron James turned in. After two early trips to the locker room — one a restroom stop, one to get an ankle re-taped — James finished with 28 points (including 19 in the third quarter), 8 rebounds and 8 assists, leading the Heat in all three categories. He didn’t get help from anyone else, but any blame for the Miami loss shouldn’t fall at James’ feet. “If it’s not helping us get into the game, it didn’t mean nothing,” he said. “I tried to will us back into the game, but they continued to execute. I continued to make shots. I had a huge third quarter, but it meant nothing.”

Wrong: Rashard Lewis probably shouldn’t be expected to carry too heavy of a load, but scoring 2 points in almost 16 minutes and not making any three-pointers isn’t doing anything to help space the floor or carry the Heat. Lewis, who also seemed to be a liability defensively, finished with a -17 plus/minus rating in those 16 minutes.

35 Comments

  1. Brent says:

    Two things:

    1. Four consecutive trips to The Finals is an incredible accomplishment.

    2. You’re insane if you think Miami needs a new coach. Again, FOUR STRAIGHT TRIPS TO THE FINALS!! Are you kidding me?!

    The Spurs are just executing better and the Heat are aged and tired.

    • Mike says:

      2 Championships:

      1. Against a young and inexperienced Thunder team.

      2. Luck.

    • Moe says:

      The Heat is still the Champ until we dethroned them. Heat is playing good basketball just that Spurs now know how to play them. Just like Boris said who ever executed better wins. Right now my team the Spurs are more hungrier and playing with a chip on their shoulders. Put the petal to the metal and don’t give them any day light. GSG!!

  2. Norm says:

    Let’s finish the job on Father’s Day for all the dads who appreciate how this sport should be played!

  3. mikmaks says:

    I”ve been watching last years finals and interestingly, the spurs game haven’t change that much. They always start stong. The only difference now is before, the heat can withstand their early spurts and able to comeback and even lead double digits. The heat defense went down a lot of levels this finals. A couple of turn overs and missed shot by the heat, the spurs was able to translate into baskets until the lead was overwhelming and the heat’s morale went down. if the heat would like to go back to this series, they need to bring back their intensity in defense. The disruptive ones that forces turn over from their opponent.

  4. okcDoke2014 says:

    Hurricane “SPURS” blows though Miami ! Great Post and Good Read !

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have to admit as much as it joyed me to see the Spurs go up 3-1 on the Heat, beating them in two consecutive games on their home floor, it’s a bit sad to see the Heat go down this way. Two years ago when the Thunder were down 3-1 to the Heat, I came on Hangtime and stated it’s not over. Same thing goes for the Heat. No it’s not been done in the Finals, but 8 teams in playoff history have came back from. 3-1 deficit, most recently the Suns against the Lakers in 2006. I guess it’s not that recent anymore. I’ve been writing about the fatigue factor for a year now, stating that three teams since the Celtics 84-87 have failed in trying to reach 4 straight Finals. Despite my prediction, the Heat made it nonetheless, but they are getting simply outplayed. Consider this, the Heat have been down in the first quarter in all four Finals games, lost 3 of the 4 by at least 15 points and their only victory was by two points. No it’s not impossible for the Heat to come back. But realistically, how can anyone expect the Heat to come back? That’s what is a bit sad about this. This team was built with all these expectations and they met some of them (four straight Finals, two consecutive Championships) but their goal was always more than two championships. Now they have been beaten handedly with little resistance. Then I remind myself this is what they did to themselves. This is what they set themselves up to. Now many non-Heat fans, to include myself, are waiting for the inevitable, to see them fall short of their self-made expectations.

  6. Dave says:

    Basketball is a team sport. San Antonio is the best example of it. They play as a team, they loss as a team and they win as a team. I’m not surprise that Miami will loss in this series because at this series they don’t have chemistry, they don’t help each other. If Mr. Ray Allen didn’t made the 3 point shot in game 6 last year. We will be talking about a back to back for Spurs today. GO SPURS… Excellent TEAM work.

  7. YEA THE SPURS PUT A BEAT DOWN ON THEM > NO 3 PEAT > DONT FORGET THE LAKERS R MY TEAM > ANDY

  8. Melo-To-Houston says:

    The Best thing that could have happened for Miami turned out to be the worst. The fact that Spurs went up against OKC last round should have worn them down, having to deal with WestBrook, Durant, Ibaka etc… instead it just made them way more prepared against the poor man’s version trio of James, Wade, and Bosh. I mean, James is doing something, but lets get real…..he aint putting up 40-12-5-5 like Westbrook. He aint dropping buckets like KD, and dont get me started on Wade and Bosh. Lebron’s stats look juicy, but he is having MINIMAL impact in this series.
    On another note, Melo to Houston please. That would put Houston over the top for sure.

  9. markus jonas says:

    I haven’t wanted to see any team win a title so much since the Jazz in Stockton/Malone era…can’t wait to see the Spurs take game 5!

  10. Xfade says:

    Dismantled, the 1 game they won the Spurs played bad and still only lost by 2. Shook it off went into the Heat’s house and put on a clinic. Leonard was the scalpel. DIaw was the the laser. Systematically abusing them inside and out. Last year the Spurs beat themselves and this is their redemption. I love it. All that greatest player on the planet stuff needs to stop. He’s in the east with no competition, on a stacked team. Duncan is in the west and has consistently had to go through the gauntlet. He makes his teammates better as Parker and his teammates proclaim and it showed. They went bench deep and still kept the pain going. Unselfishness, Not 1 20 point a game scorer. Just a collective team. Timmy congratulations on that incoming 5th ring. Sign the game ball, your biggest fan and hand it to the Heat.

  11. Tyrone says:

    It’s not Lebron’s fault, he’s up against a superior team – one of the best offensive teams in the history of the game.

  12. El Stone says:

    Can Lebron just admit that his “Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7, not 8″ statement was in reference to how many times he will get to the Finals and lose.

    He’s up to 3 already. Only 5 more to go.

  13. SPURS GREATNESS says:

    HUMILITY + ABILITY + STABILITY = 5 SPURS Championships !!

  14. Timbo says:

    Anyone have the link to the missed Leonard Dunk on Birdman?

    • Philip says:

      Yeah I looked it up too. It’s not a missed dunk attempt, it is a put back dunk on a Patty Mills three point miss. This writer needs to learn how to clarify.

      • ben says:

        WRONG!! the writer was was referring to a DUNK ATTEMPT ON BIRDMAN ANDERSEN in which leonard was fouled .

  15. SPURS GREATNESS says:

    Hhhhmmmm ….

    $100 million-dollar payroll ??
    POWDER ritual before the game ??
    Chest-bumps ??
    Screaming mid-court after a shot ??
    Elbowing Parker on the ribs ??

    That’s Miami’s way, and it did not work.

    The SPURS are the better team,
    playing basketball the RIGHT WAY !!

    2014 Champs = SPURS (of course)

  16. smh says:

    side note, spo must go

    • 37yrfan says:

      …..so it is HIS fault the team shoots poorly AND defends poorly, huh??? How many times can he tell these overpriced players to play more like a team and less like a game of “h-o-r-s-e” ………..too much 1-on-1 ball…….. what Pop calls “Hero Ball” !!!!! Always played by Self-proclaimed heroes……

  17. #MIA4PEAT says:

    Here we are @lalalla

  18. patrickmarc says:

    Dallas was a perfect team in the first round,
    Spurs/Dallas was admirable.

  19. let's hear it from lbj says:

    c’mon lbj (the super fanatic)…
    your swag now?

    where are the heat fans now?

  20. Jim says:

    There has some talk about how Miami is playing bad. I don’t really think these blowouts are because of how bad Miami is playing, I think it really shows how good the Spurs are. The Spurs are playing at a completely different level than Miami. They kicked into that level when they were first challenged by Dallas and then needed to again play at that level against OKC. Being in the East, Miami has not been challenged to the same degree the Spurs have. As a Spurs fan for 20 years, I’m sure glad we’re in the West, even though it’s incredibly tough every year. :-)

    • 37yrfan says:

      ….indeed, Jim !!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Jim, I haven’t thought of that. You’re right in that the Spurs were challenged by a good Dallas team, kept up their efficiency against a surprising Portland team, had to raise their level of play against a younger and more athletic OKC team and thus it is now coming together against the Heat. Still I would propose to you that it may be more how good the Spurs are, but the poor play of the Heat definitely has something to do with it. The Heat are not defending and don’t have as much depth as the Spurs. When all 13 players of a team score in a basketball game (let alone a Finals game), that is a testament to the team and telling on the opposing team as well. The Heat are simply getting outplayed and their poor play is contributing to it.

  21. thespectator says:

    im really shocked, miami had no answer, none! spurs have fully exposed the heat…this group is done, spurs will wrap it up in san antonio…and worst case, even if they lose, they will have 2 more tries to win the title…heat had to win last night, now the hill is to far to climb…this completely messes up lebrons place as an all time great…what sad is hes still playin elite ball, but his teammates are not..really sad to see this, but props to the spurs, they play the ultimate style of basketball, the way it was supposed to be played..RIP heat.

  22. lalalalla says:

    now where have all the stuupid Heat fans gone now? ha!

    • MR210 says:

      They took off their T-Shirts and will exchange them for Knicks jerseys! ha ha ha…

      Loved to hear the team booed. Priceless.

      That is motivation for LBJ to leave Miami and take his talents elsewhere

  23. bballjunkie1 says:

    Pops is looking like Phi Jackson right now, who looked like Aurback (Boston Celtic coach with the most championships). I always felt a new coach should have came in with Lebron. Western conference is back, East will be up for grabs again because of this blue print, Pop has exposed every weakness on all sides of the ball. Dwade is not 20, can’t finish, should be 3,4 option, not going to wast print on Chalmers.

    • aces says:

      Dallas showed this blue print, it’s a matter of executing. No team in the east is capable at this time.

    • 37yrfan says:

      ….NO…..Pop didn’t switch to another team with 2 built-in “Superstars”….lol…….. There is NO comparison !!!! NOR is it the coaches fault for the sub-par play of ringchasers…….just face it bballjunkie1…………..it IS the players !!!