MIAMI (CBSMiami) – This was a game that the Miami Heat were expected to win. They hadn’t lost consecutive playoff games since the 2011 NBA Finals, a streak that encompassed 48 games.
That run came to a crashing halt on Thursday night as the San Antonio Spurs dominated Miami for the second straight game, taking down the Heat 107-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.
“They played great,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra following the game. “And I can honestly say I don’t think any of us were expecting this type of performance.”
LeBron James scored 28 points but not other Heat players scored more than 12. For the Spurs, it was once again Kawhi Leonard leading the way with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
It was an inauspicious start for the Heat as they came out missing six of their first eight shots and trailed San Antonio 13-4 just over five minutes into the game.
LeBron’s first points of the game came in the form of a three-pointer, bringing the Heat to within four points of the Spurs. Miami’s offense couldn’t get much going after that as San Antonio closed the first quarter on a 9-4 run and took a nine point lead into the second quarter.
While it wasn’t the incredible shooing output that we saw from the Spurs in the first quarter of Game 3, they still shot 56.2-percent and held Miami to just 35-percent after twelve minutes.
The first half of the second quarter saw both teams trading baskets. Miami couldn’t seem to get into any flow on offense and were getting baskets off broken plays. Midway through the quarter the Heat hadn’t made any progress, still trailing by nine.
San Antonio began pulling away from the Heat as the game drew closer to halftime. Miami’s 35-percent shooting from the first quarter remained exactly the same throughout the second while the Spurs made 55-percent of their first half shots and led the Heat 55-36 at the break.
“They put you in positions that no one else in the league does,” said LeBron James. “As one of the leaders on the team, I have to figure a way to get us to a 3-2 deficit.”
No Heat players scored in double figures during the opening half as they were outscored 29-19 in the second quarter.
Miami make their first run of the game in the early stages of the third quarter, outscoring the Spurs 12-4 to draw within thirteen. Unfortunately for the Heat their run was answered by a 12-1 stretch by San Antonio who ballooned their lead up to 24, their largest of the game.
Dwyane Wade missed his three shots during the third quarter, bringing him to 1-10 from the field. He finished the game with 10 points on 3-13 shooting and throughout the game he looked as though he had weights on his ankles. On several occasions Wade got to the rim but was unable to elevate high enough to make finishing the play easier.
“I’m a very accurate shooter,” said Wade. “I don’t like missing.”
James did all the scoring for Miami in the third quarter, accounting for 19 of the Heat’s 21 points. The Spurs still outscored Miami by five in the quarter and took a 81-57 lead into the final twelve minutes.
Miami came out fighting in the fourth, starting the quarter on a 9-3 run but the Spurs quickly answered and got the lead back up to 23.
At that point the fans began filing out of the triple-A, some booing, as the game was very reminiscent of Tuesday’s debacle.
The Heat now find themselves in a 3-1 series hole that will be near impossible to climb out of unless they find a way to reverse San Antonio’s dominance of the past two games.
“They smashed us…two straight home games,” LeBron James said. “They were much better than us. It’s that simple.”