NBA Finals: Heat @ Spurs Game 3 Discussion

NBA Finals: Heat @ Spurs Game 3 Discussion

Where We’re At

The series is tied 1-1 after the first two games in Miami. We now move things to San Antonio for the next three games in the 2-3-2 format.

The Heat won game 2 103-84 after a strong game from both Mario Chalmers (19 pts) and Chris Bosh. Even though Danny Green (17 pts, 5-5 from beyond the arc) and Kawhi Leonard (9 pts, 14 rebs) had solid games, the big three of Parker, Duncan, and Ginobili played very poorly. The Spurs have done a very respectable job trying to contain LeBron James so far in the series; while he’s still getting his rebounds and assists, LeBron is averaging just 17.5 points on 42% shooting in the first two games.

Keys to Game 3

Parker, Duncan, and Manu were a combined 10-33 in the game 2. If we’re going to talk about keys to game 3, there’s no better place to start than right there. Green and Kawhi are getting their looks as the Miami defense focuses on the Big 3 of S.A. Green is consistently getting good, open looks, and Kawhi has been as good as anyone could expected. He’s containing LeBron as best as possible, getting to the offensive glass (8 offensive rebs in game 2), and playing with the poise of a ten-year veteran.

With all that said, game 3 will be about Duncan and Manu setting some type of tone. Parker, more likely than not, just had a bad game in game 2. I doubt Chalmers plays at the level he played at in game 2, and the advantage at the PG spot for the Spurs should be more than evident again tonight.

Expect the Spurs to start the game today with either the triple screen play for Parker, or a simple Duncan post-up. They need to set the tone early, and running a combination of those plays early on will do just that. When Manu comes in, it really just comes down to him playing under control. We saw very sloppy ball-handling from him in the last game, and turnovers are like gold to Miami. Take care of the ball, and it immediately puts a halt on any transition opportunities for the Heat.

On defense, San Antonio HAS to close out on Miami’s shooters better. Ray Allen and Mike Miller were a combined 6-8 from beyond the arc in the last game, while the whole team shot over 52% from the three-point line. Over-helping on LeBron and Wade have led to wide open shots for very efficient shooters. Look for the Spurs to go back to what they did in game 1 – stick to the shooters, especially the ones camped out in the corner (see: Ray Allen).

The Spurs have bounced back well from disappointing performances, and I expect them to do just that tonight. The only problem is that reclaiming your dominance over a team like the Warriors or Grizzlies is much different than doing that against this Heat team.

Prediction

AccuScore simulated the game 10,000 times and gives the Spurs a 67 percent chance of winning tonight. They also have a 61 percent chance of covering the -2 spread.

Miami will steal one in San Antonio, but it won’t be game 3. Spurs win 96-90.