|Game 4 basics|
MIAMI — For the second time in three days, the San Antonio Spurs blew out the Miami Heat on their home floor, taking Game 4 of The Finals with an easy 107-86 victory. One stat stood out from the rest as the Spurs took a 3-1 series lead and gave themselves a chance to win a championship at home Sunday.
38 – Total point differential in the first quarter of the series.
The Spurs have begun the second quarter with at least a six-point lead in all four games. They’ve won first quarters by six, seven, 16 and nine points.
It’s been dominance on both ends of the floor. The Spurs have scored a ridiculous 129 points per 100 possessions in the first quarter and have held the Heat to a paltry 87.
The first quarter has been the Heat’s worst all season and through the playoffs. In their first round sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats, they won the first quarter by only one point. In their five-game series against the Brooklyn Nets, they won the first quarter by only three points. And in the conference finals, the Indiana Pacers outscored them in the first quarter.
Against lesser opponents, the Heat could deal with bad starts, climb themselves out of holes, and rely on fourth-quarter execution. But the Spurs are much better than any of the teams they faced in the first three rounds.
The Spurs were at their best in the first quarter in the regular season, outscoring their opponents by 10.4 points per 100 possessions. They had some early struggles in the Conference finals, but have otherwise been strong in the first quarter in the postseason.
Two nights after dropping 41 on the Heat in the first 12 minutes, the Spurs’ early success was more about defense. They held Miami to just 17 points on 23 first-quarter possessions. Their rotations were quick and sharp, and they just swarmed the Heat whenever they got near the basket. The team that led the league in field goal percentage in the restricted area began the game just 2-for-7 from there. Dwyane Wade finished the game shooting just 2-for-10 in the paint.
And the Spurs never let the Heat off the mat. The rout was on and San Antonio is just one win away from its fifth championship.
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
EFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
OREB% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds obtained
TO Ratio = Turnovers per 100 possessions
FTA Rate = FTA / FGA