Spurs Throttle the Heat Again, One Win Away From Title

  • Boris Diaw finished close to a double-double (8, 9 and 9) and facilitated most of San Antonio’s finishes in the paint.

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  • Kawhi Leonard’s putback on Patty Mills’ three at the end of the first half set the Spurs lead at 22 points.

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  • LeBron James scored 19 of Miami’s 21 points in the third quarter.

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  • “They smashed us. They’re a [well-oiled] machine and they move the ball extremely well. They put you in so many difficult positions. If you’re not right on time, right on target, they make you pay for it.” — LeBron James on the Spurs.

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It wasn’t the reason they won Game 4, but there was something special about seeing every single member of the San Antonio Spurs get on the score sheet last night. From Tim Duncan to Manu Ginobili to Cory Joseph to Aron Baynes, by the end of what was a comfortable 107-86 victory, everyone got in on the fun.

After going almost perfect from the field as a team for the entire first quarter in Game 3, many expected Miami to retaliate in Game 4, considering this was a team that had gone 48 appearances without losing consecutive postseason games. But the Spurs are operating on a very high level right now, and Kawhi Leonard again leading the way, putting up 20 points along with 14 rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks. Tony Parker and Duncan also scored in double digits, and Patty Mills contributed 14 huge points off the bench. Boris Diaw, who probably deserves his own separate game story, was magnificent again with a near triple-double.

The Heat never got going offensively, and even if they did, if might not have been enough to combat the overwhelming efficiency of the Spurs in the last two games. LeBron James finished with 28 points, but got little help from the rest of his teammates. Dwyane Wade was especially lackluster in this one, finishing with 10 points on 3-for-13 shooting on often wide-open shots. Wade lacked lift and looked like his knee had rendered him ineffective. The lack of bench options for Eric Spolestra has become a huge problem as well. Aside from the Big Three and Ray Allen, no one has emerged as a viable option for Miami in these past two games.

After the heartbreaking way San Antonio lost the Finals last season, the Spurs are finally back to where they were last year: one win away from the title, a position they’ve returned to by playing savagely efficient basketball. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, and the Spurs will have two of the last three games at home. The odds look stacked against the Heat, but because of what happened last year, and the fact that LeBron still exists, the Spurs won’t celebrate prematurely.

But if the four-game sample thus far in this series is any indication (or the domination they flexed in their run through the West), they are by far the superior team and will now have a chance to close out the series in San Antonio on Sunday.

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