A lot of fans of the Miami Heat woke up Friday morning in a sweat as they scrambled to their televisions, computers and mobile devices. “It can’t be true,” they thought aloud while feverishly looking for a Game 4 recap. They peruse the box score to see the final tally, and there it is in bold lettering: 107-86. Who would have thought the Spurs would be up 3-1 heading back to San Antonio? Who could have figured that the San Antonio Spurs would jump out to yet another big time lead in the 4th quarter or that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade would have 4 and 9 points respectively in the first half? Naw, nobody thought that was possible. Not from the Big Three of South Beach? Heavens no!
What if I told you that only four Spurs would score in double-digits for the game and that LeBron James would scorch the Spurs for 19-points in the 3rd quarter but that they still lost the quarter by five points to San Antonio? It is likely that some folks are painting this second blowout loss in the Finals as some sort of shortcoming for the Miami Heat. But it appears to be another case of text book basketball and teamwork being orchestrated by Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
Tim Duncan would score 10 points and grab 14 rebounds, while Tony Parker scored 12 of his 19 points in the 1st quarter. But Kawhi Leonard was the pacemaker on the offensive end once again as he tallied 20 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks and 3 assists. There appears to be some correlation between the offensive awakening of Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker’s ability to get off on the scoring end as well.
When Leonard was struggling in the first two games of the series, LeBron James could drift and help out defensively with penetration and weak side help, and guarded the much smaller Parker to offensive ineptitude at times as well. However, with the emergence of Leonard in Game 3, LeBron now has to pay full attention to the young small forward. This means Parker is free to shake and bake against the lesser defensive talents of Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole.
Game 4 also witnessed another inspired performance by Boris Diaw, who damn near got a triple-double with 8 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists. His ball-handling and court vision have the Heat scrambling for cover whenever he’s on the floor. Another unsung hero thus far in the series has been Patty Mills. The miniature shooting guard scored 14 points on 63 percent shooting from the field. When you’ve got so many shooters and willing passers on the floor at the same time defenders are going to be in for a workout, as the Heat players would certainly agree. Every Spur played in this Game 4 laugher, and every Spur scored as Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra seemed shook like a halfway crook.
During Game 2, stretch forward/center Chris Bosh was feasting on Tim Duncan off the dribble, as well as other defenders who tried to close out on him. But adjustments in other areas seem to have affected him in unforeseen ways. After scoring 18 points in Game 2, Bosh has scored 9 and 12 in the next two games. For a guy whose making nine figures, that’s just not getting it done. Speaking of coming up short like leprechauns, Dwyane Wade is looking like Mini Me out there as his explosiveness, stamina and defensive prowess have all been the subject of speculation. Is it his knee? Is it his heart? D. Wade will likely never say, and since he’s not saying, then we can only go by what we know. What exactly is that?
We know that he had 10 points on 3-13 shooting. We also know he shot an uncharacteristic 50 percent from the free throw line. All this after scoring 18, 14 and 22 points respectively in Game 1 through Game 3. With no D. Wade and an inconsistent Chris Bosh, there’s absolutely no way the Miami Heat win this series with only one-third of their Big Three coming to perform on a night-to-night basis. The Spurs’ ball movement has been a joy to watch and has personified teamwork at its finest. Not even the best player on the planet can overcome precision teamwork.
The Heat will win Game 5 in San Antonio, but that will be their last hurrah.
Spurs in six-as was predicted by this writer beforehand.