- Series Hub: Heat vs. Spurs
24 — Well, the Spurs didn’t waste any time throwing down the gauntlet with their entry in The Finals National Anthem Battle. I see your 12-year-old future American Idol winner (Julia Dale) Miami and raise you a dapper Sebastien De La Cruz. Let’s get it on!
23 — Props to ABC for having Tony Parker impersonator Jesse Williams in one of the pregame promos to hype the game. With the sound down a little bit and one eye on the computer and the other on the TV, what else do you learn while half-paying attention during pregame show? Dwyane Wade and Manu Ginobili might need to ride some pine during crunch time of a close game if they don’t get it together. I swear the dudes in suits (Mike Wilbon, Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose and Magic Johnson) said it. Overreact much fellas? Seriously, these cats are future Hall of Famers. They need to play better no doubt. But benching ’em in The Finals? C’mon man!
22 — Spurs spoon-feeding the ball to Tim Duncan in the post early on here. Duncan with the dunk off the sweet feed from Parker for an 11-4 Spurs lead with 6:29 to play. I see you Pop!
21 — The Spurs hadn’t played a home game since May 21st? Crazy. Sweeping my Hang Time Grizzlies forced them into that long layoff at home. No wonder San Antonio was so fired up to see them after all this time.
20 — Jamie Foxx as the President wearing Jordans, huh? Never thought I’d see it in my lifetime. White House Down has to be on the must-see list if for no other reason than to see what kind of kicks POTUS will be rocking.
19 — Is there anyone on the Heat roster Kawhi Leonard can’t guard or get a rebound over? The Heat are doing for him what they did for the Pacers’ Paul George. Holding your own in a matchup against LeBron James can do wonders for your profile. Speaking of LeBron, he looks a little scattered here early.
18 — My man Dancing Danny Green is still feeling it. How Wade loses track of him is beyond me. Green is a ridiculous 10-for-16 and counting in his first appearance in The Finals. #Dancin’DannyGreen
17 — Ray Allen giving up a 3-point look in transition for a Norris Cole corner 3 that goes bottoms. The Heat showing off some of that ball movement that they used during that 27-game win streak during the regular season.
16 — Spurs lead is up to 36-28 the moment after Game 2 hero Mario Chalmers heads to the bench with his third foul with five-plus minutes to play before halftime. Heat are going to do have to do this without ‘Rio for at least a little while.
15 — Spurs take their first double-digit lead, 40-30, of The Finals with 4:35 to play on a Leonard dunk on a break (via a great outlet pass from Duncan). Spurs are perfectly content with LeBron and Wade jacking jumpers from the perimeter.
14 — Gary Neal (knocks down a 3-pointer) meet Mike Miller (knocks down an answer 3-pointer) meet Green meet Chalmers meet … whoever the next role player from the Spurs who is ready for his turn in this series. We forget that while the stars occupy so much of our time during these things that we forget how grand a stage this is for the other guys. And since these are the teams with the deepest and most well-rounded supporting casts, we should have expected nothing less.
13 — Spurs with a crazy 6-0 run to finish the half to hold of the charging heat and head to halftime leading 50-44. Parker knocks down the first 3 from the corner and Neal finishes it off with a pull-up 3 at the buzzer. His 14 points leads the Spurs at the break.
12 — Say the Spurs win this series and keep playing the way they have, is it totally inconceivable for either Green or Leonard to be the frontrunner for Finals MVP? They’ve been the most consistently outstanding players for the Spurs to this point. I know it sounds crazy, but crazy lives here, always has. The work they are doing on both ends (specifically the defense on LeBron and the rebounding) is beyond outstanding.
11 — Miller is the only thing keeping the Heat in this game late in the third quarter. He’s 5-for-5 from deep. He’s also the Heat’s weakest link on defense. Spurs are taking advantage of him non-stop on pick-and-rolls and just shredding the middle of the Heat’s defense. Did I mention that LeBron and Wade are scoreless in the third with just 3:36 to play?
10 — These facial expressions from Heat coach Erik Spoelstra are the same ones many of his playoff colleagues have worn in trying to figure out how to deal with the Spurs. There is no easy way to solve what the Spurs do. This isn’t a part of the “process” he was expecting to deal with.
9 — NBA TV’s Steve Smith called this on the real pregame show. He tabbed Neal to have the big night and boom!
8 — Parker has an injury issue (calf) that would normally be a big deal after this game. But the way the role players have stepped up pushes this story to the background. The Spurs are going to need him to win two more games in this series, though. No way you want to finish this series without TP.
7 — The questioning of the Heat’s Big 3 will crank up again after an effort like this. No fire, no energy and no chance.
6 — Old man Duncan, Leonard and Tiago Splitter have dominated the glass tonight and that has in-turn allowed the Spurs to abuse the Heat around the rim. The Heat’s fatal flaw this season (they were dead last in the league in rebounding) could very well be their undoing in these Finals.
5 — Gregg Popovich is a master because of performances like this. The defense designed to lock down on LeBron and Wade has been masterful.
4 — This is the second straight 2-for-12 shooting start for LeBron. He’s hearing footsteps from The Finals of 2011 and another matchup against a Texas powerhouse (the Mavericks) that dared him to beat them with his jumper. That team had Shawn Marion serving as the primary defender on him. LeBron is stuck in the Matrix again this time, courtesy of young Mr. Leonard. Last time he went three straight playoff games without scoring 20 points in a game was against the Mavericks in 2011.
3 — Complete pandemonium to star the fourth. Spurs role players have officially taken this game (and perhaps the series) over. Neal, Green, Leonard wouldn’t normally constitute a “Big 3” in practice. But they are the only “Big 3” playing tonight. Finals record 16 made 3-pointers for the Spurs as the lead continues to balloon.
2 — What he said about #Dancin’DannyGreen …
1 — Fully expecting Neal, Green and Leonard to announce to the world that they are really mutants during the on-court interview at the end of the game.