Spurs in form as Green paces rout of Knicks

NEW YORK – Even along with his team main the Western Conference, Gregg Popovich said Sunday morning his San Antonio Spurs had been playing C+ or B- basketball, adding there was “not much” he liked about their begin.

The Spurs, he mentioned, were profitable due to “luck,” “corporate knowledge,” and since “they’re older than grime.”

Apparently Pop is as robust on his pupils as he is on these sideline reporters, though a a hundred and twenty-89 rout of the New York Knicks bumped up their grades.

“I thought tonight we played a good, strong B+, A- game,” Popovich stated. “There have been some good issues out there.”

Simply not from the crew in orange. Coach Mike Woodson stated the Knicks played with no pride, even with one of the NBA’s marquee franchises making its lone go to to Madison Sq. Garden.

Danny Green had 24 factors and a profession-excessive 10 rebounds within the Spurs’ fourth straight victory. Kawhi Leonard scored 18 factors and Tony Parker had 17 in a recreation that was shut for about 3 minutes. San Antonio scored the primary 10 factors, led by as many as 37, and was in full control in between.

“It was embarrassing for us to come right here on our residence court and lose a recreation like this,” Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony mentioned. “It wasn’t about dropping the game, it was just how we lost the game. We did not compete right this moment and it confirmed on the market on the courtroom.”

Tim Duncan took simply four shots but completed with 11 factors and 10 rebounds as San Antonio (6-1) shot 54 p.c.

The Spurs spoiled the season debut of Knicks guard J.R. Smith, last season’s Sixth Man of the Yr. Suspended the first five video games of the season for violating the NBA’s anti-drug program, Smith shot 1 of 9 and scored 5 points in 20 minutes.

Anthony and Andrea Bargnani both scored sixteen for the Knicks, who have been outrebounded fifty one-33 and fell to 2-4 after a 6-zero begin final season.

“I’m not frightened but we do should determine it out,” Anthony stated. “Whatever it is we now have to figure out shortly, but so far as being concerned, I’m not nervous about that. But we need to figure it out.”

The Spurs scored just 76 points a victory over Golden State on Friday, but had every little thing working offensively proper from the opening tip Sunday.

Inexperienced hit two three-pointers within the 10-0 start, Marco Belinelli’s three made it 17-4, and the Spurs hit thirteen of 18 shots whereas opening a 35-17 lead after one quarter, matching their highest-scoring period of the season.

The lead grew to 24 factors in the second, the Spurs repeatedly moving the ball to an open participant before the Knicks knew what was happening. San Antonio was making roughly two of each three pictures for much of the first half and took a sixty one-forty five lead into the locker room after taking pictures 62 percent.

“We simply played our recreation and we made shots,” Parker stated. “If you make photographs it helps, and the ball motion was nice.”

Smith, who ended the postseason in a miserable capturing hunch, opened this season the identical manner. He missed all 5 shots within the first half, unable to shake the rust after appearing in only one preseason recreation following summer time knee surgical procedure.

“I didn’t feel rusty in any respect. I just missed loads of pictures, didn’t get to the basket like I needed to and general I didn’t have an excellent recreation,” Smith said.

By the time he made a three-pointer with eight:forty three left in the third quarter for his first basket, the Knicks trailed by 26 points. The Spurs went up by 30 a couple of minutes in a while one other three by Green, and fans loudly booed when Amar’e Stoudemire missed both free throws with a little less than three minutes left in the interval.

The Knicks received each meetings last season, sweeping the Spurs for the first time in 10 years. But with middle Tyson Chandler sidelined with a broken leg, New York looked defenseless against the Western Conference champions.

It was such a laugher that Popovich had Duncan, a profession sixty nine p.c free throw shooter, take the shot when Woodson was known as for a technical foul within the third quarter. Naturally, the way this one went, Duncan made it.


Recreation notes


Popovich will face one in every of his former assistants Monday when the Spurs go to the Philadelphia 76ers, coached by Brett Brown… Metta World Peace scored 13 factors for the Knicks.


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Shane Battier hits 6 3-pointers in huge Game 7 explosion: ‘Reports of my demise were premature’

Shane Battier and Mike Miller celebrate their second straight NBA title. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Image …

After spending Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on the bench, shackled to the sideline by a shooting slump that seemed like it might never end, Shane Battier offered a pretty disgusting analogy to describe the experience of watching his Miami Heat teammates advance to the 2013 NBA Finals without him.

“Every now and then you’ve got to eat a turd sandwich,” Battier said before the start of the Finals. “You eat a turd sandwich and that ribeye tastes really good next time.”

“Next time,” in this case, came Thursday night, in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, when Battier came off the bench to scorch the San Antonio Spurs from downtown. Like Mike Miller in his unconscious Game 5 during Miami’s 2012 title win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Battier came off the bench to drop bomb after bomb from beyond the arc, scoring 18 points on 6 for 8 shooting from 3-point land in 29 minutes to help propel the Heat to a 95-88 win in Game 7 that nailed down a 4-3 series win for Miami and the Heat’s second straight NBA championship.

“Tomorrow, I hope my wife cooks me a nice ribeye,” Battier said. “I’m looking forward to my ribeye tomorrow.”

With a shooting performance like this, he damn sure earned it:

Extra Luger’s for the champ, please.

It’s not necessarily news that Battier can fill it up from downtown — after all, he’s a 38.7 percent career 3-point shooter from distance who hit 15 of his 26 triples in the Heat’s 2012 Finals win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. But considering how mightily Battier had struggled this postseason, such a breakout performance seemed unlikely, at best.

All year long, the veteran defender and glue guy seemed a perfect fit alongside LeBron James and Chris Bosh in Miami’s frontcourt as small-ball power forward who’d provided a reliable, floor-spacing deep stroke on offense and a willingness to bang with burlier fours on the defensive end. By the time the postseason rolled around, though, Battier’s long-range touch had disappeared.

Whether due to the accumulated fatigue of all those minutes punching above his weight class or just a horrendously timed cold snap, Battier went from a 43 percent 3-point shooter in the regular season to hitting just 23.7 percent of his long balls during the Heat’s first 13 playoff games, and he was getting eaten alive by Indiana Pacers bruiser David West on the other end of the court.

His inability to space the floor — the Pacers were straight-up not guarding him by Game 4 — or slow down West forced Spoelstra to limit Battier to just 13 total minutes in Games 5 and 6 of the Eastern finals before sitting him altogether in Game 7. Battier’s most significant contribution in Miami’s blowout win over Indiana was toweling LeBron off during a timeout. It was a weird spot to be in for a guy who made 20 starts and averaged 25 minutes per game for the best team in basketball.

Miller had moved in front of him in the Heat’s wing rotation. Minutes, opportunities and shots were scarce, and when they came, they still weren’t falling. But to hear Battier tell it, his faith in probabilities helped him ward off despair.

“Last year, I had a horrific shooting slump to start the year [and] my mantra was, ‘I’ll regress to the mean.’ And I believe in that,” Battier said. “I knew that my shooting was not indicative of the numbers that I put up last year, and very similarly to the stretch right now. I know I’m a better shooter than my numbers put up.”

When the Finals shifted away from traditional two-big frontcourts to smaller lineups in which James and Kawhi Leonard slid up to power forward while swingmen Miller and Danny Green (or Manu Ginobili, depending on how you look at it) played the three, there were more minutes and opportunities for Battier to get some run in Games 4, 5 and 6. With those minutes and opportunities came shots, and with those shots came some rhythm.. even if he still wasn’t seeing them go through the net.

And then, all of a sudden, Battier got a fairly bonkers banked-in 3 to fall in Game 6, and off in the distance, the Duke grad heard heavenly hosts.

“The basketball gods — I believe in basketball gods. I felt that they owed me big time,” Battier said. “I had a bunch of shots in San Antonio that went in and out, so when that banker went in, I said, ‘You know what? They owe me.’ But it was the start of a pretty good streak there.”

After knocking in two 3s in six tries in Game 5, Battier’s banker got him in enough of a rhythm to cash in three of his four long-balls in Game 6, leading him to feel “really confident” heading into Game 7. He got going quickly, draining a catch-and-shoot bomb from the right wing off a penetrate-and-kick by Ray Allen less than two minutes after checking into the game late in the first quarter. A little over a minute later, he got another clean look when Green left him all alone to help (needlessly, since there were three other Spurs in the neighborhood) on another Allen drive. Catch, shoot, splash, and Battier had found his rhythm, and was well on the way to an explosive Game 7 performance.

As he began his session with reporters after the game, Battier thought back to his woeful slump and stint on the bench, and offered a quip as an opening statement.

“Reports of my demise were premature,” he said.

Yes, Shane Battier’s alive and well, and whatever comes next for the 12-year NBA veteran, he’s now a two-time NBA champion. I’m not sure that’s quite as tasty as ribeye, but it sure beats the hell out of a turd sandwich.


Miami capitalizes on crucial late-game miscues, defeats San Antonio to force a Game 7

Chris Bosh provided two huge blocks in the overtime win (Getty Images)

In a series full of surprises, the San Antonio Spurs shocked NBA fans across the country in Tuesday’s Game 6 by failing to do what they’ve done so well since the Clinton Administration — execute fundamentals down the stretch.

San Antonio gave up two crucial offensive rebounds in the final moments of the fourth quarter of the Miami Heat’s eventual 103-100 win, leading to two dagger three-pointers from LeBron James and Ray Allen. The Spurs also aided Miami’s cause by missing two big free throws in the final minute of regulation and not calling a timeout down one point with a minute to go in overtime. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich also curiously sat Tim Duncan late in regulation defensively in order to match up with Miami’s small lineup, and Tony Parker (who had hit a clutch three-pointer late in the fourth quarter) offensively for the final play of overtime.

It was enough for Miami — a team that was down double-digits in the fourth and seemed to have no answer for San Antonio’s long-armed, paint-packing defense — to pull out the win. In a night full of shrugged shoulders and clueless offense, the Heat had all the answers in the fourth quarter and overtime when it came to opportunistic play. And while Miami doesn’t have much to build on Xs and Os-wise heading into a decisive Game 7 on Thursday, it has a Large Hadron Collider’s-worth of momentum as it suits up for the final game of the 2012-13 NBA season.

Despite the missteps on either end, it was a classic game, and perhaps the best NBA Finals contest in years. The Spurs rocked out to an early advantage in the first half based around Tim Duncan’s efficient and decisive work in the paint. The Spurs center made his first eight shots and dove into halftime with 25 points, dominating a Miami defense that seemed hell-bent on stopping sharpshooter Danny Green from getting open looks on the outside.

The roll kept on in the third quarter, except by then Duncan (who finished with 32 points and 17 rebounds) had stepped aside to let Tony Parker (19 points) and Kawhi Leonard (22 points) take over some of the scoring load. The real breakthrough came on defense, though, as San Antonio continually went under screens and clogged the middle so as to bait Heat scorers into turning into Heat shooters. The result was a combined 38 points for Miami in the middle two quarters — hardly the sort of output needed to pull even in an elimination, NBA Finals game.

By the end of the third, though, the Spurs were absolutely gassed. Popovich had no choice but to sit Tony Parker and Tim Duncan for extended minutes to start the fourth period, and as a result the Heat clawed their way back to an eventual two-point lead on a Dwyane Wade lay-in. LeBron James, meanwhile, began to dominate on his own — taking advantage of step-slow San Antonio defense in the recovery zones, making up for a 3-12 start to the game from the field to finish with 32 points on 11-26 shooting, with 11 assists and 10 turnovers.

A quick mini-run from San Antonio, predicated on defense and opportunistic offense of its own (including the aforementioned desperation three-pointer by Parker over tough defense by James) gave the team a five point edge heading into the game’s final minute, and after Dwyane Wade clanged a turnaround jumper it seemed like the title was all San Antonio’s.

The champs weren’t done, though.

Tim Duncan’s 32-point, 17-rebound evening went for naught (Getty Images) After Manu Ginobili split a pair of free throws with 28 seconds to go, LeBron James missed a 26-foot heave in an attempt to cut the lead to two. Mike Miller secured the offensive rebound and immediately dished back out to James, who hit on his second three-point attempt. After Kawhi Leonard was intentionally fouled, the second-year swingman’s first free throw spun in and out. He made the second, but the Heat were down to a one-possession deficit. With Tim Duncan watching from the sideline, James again missed a three-pointer, but Chris Bosh sent his offensive rebound toward Ray Allen, who hit a game-tying three-pointer with just five seconds left. The Spurs could not score to end regulation.

San Antonio had its chances in overtime, but it simply did not have the legs to compete offensively, scoring just five points in the five-minute overtime period. Parker looked especially winded, and while Spurs fans will bemoan a missed foul call that could have sent Manu Ginobili to the line to tie the contest late in OT, the Spurs seemed to receive all of the close calls in what at the time appeared to be the deciding third and fourth quarter. And Manu himself did the Spurs no such favors with eight turnovers in a poor performance.

The Spurs competed in that overtime, though. And while that may seem like slim praise for a team that blew a chance at winning the NBA title in six games, understand that no other team in modern NBA history has entered an overtime period like that with a burden such as San Antonio’s. And though the Spurs eventually fell, most other teams would have fallen in a far more decisive and embarrassing manner after a gut punch like that. This bodes well for their Game 7.

LeBron’s brilliance, Miami’s younger legs, and San Antonio’s closing window does not bode well, however. Then again, this why we play these games. On-paper advantages haven’t done a damn thing for the Miami Heat in the 2013 postseason, so why should things start working that way on Thursday?

We get a game on Thursday, and that’s all that matters. One game to win it all. It’s hard to ask for much more from an NBA season.

NBA Finals coverage on Yahoo! Sports:

Ray Allen nails huge 3-pointer to send Game 6 to overtime

Slideshow: LeBron James loses headband, leads Heat to victory

Watch: LeBron James blocks Tim Duncan at the rim


Heat-Spurs NBA Finals Game 5: 7 big questions

In a purely literal sense, Game 5 of the 2013 NBA Finals isn’t a must-win, it doesn’t matter what any member of the San Antonio Spurs or Miami Warmth tries to let you know — with the sequence tied at two games apiece, whichever team drops Sunday evening’s contest will still have two pictures at staying alive and hoisting the O’Brien once the sequence shifts back to South Beach. However, although, as’s John Schuhmann noted, of the ten occasions the Finals have been tied 2-2 since 1985, the group that gained Recreation 5 has won the series seven times. On steadiness, then, it will appear to be a greater factor to win Sport 5 than to lose it; that a lot isn’t in question.

But there’s an awful lot of stuff that is in query as we head into the matchup between LeBron James’ Warmth and Tony Parker’s Spurs. Listed below are seven working by way of my head as I await tip:

1. Can Parker play full speed for the full sport?

After suffering a grade 1 strain of his right hamstring in the second half of San Antonio’s Sport 3 win, Spurs followers were involved that Parker could be unable to hit the fuel in Sport four. The All-Star level guard promptly allayed these concerns, hitting four of his first 5 pictures to attain eight factors with two assists and a steal in the first six minutes of Thursday’s contest.

He seemed great throughout the primary two quarters of Game four, seeming comfy and assured, getting to his most popular spots on the floor and showcasing the absurd shotmaking …

… and draw-and-dish playmaking …

… that have made him one of the league’s premiere level guards, scoring a team-high 15 points to go along with six assists and three rebounds to assist the Spurs head into halftime tied at forty nine. Not not like Heat star Dwyane Wade by means of the Finals’ first three games, though, Parker all but vanished in the second half, lacking all four of his photographs and going scoreless as the Heat pulled away en path to a sequence-tying sixteen-point win.

Going back over the second half, Parker’s quiet play seemed to have much less to do with any tentativeness or hobbled form and extra to do with really good Warmth defense.

Miami’s guards did an incredible job forcing their means by way of the myriad screens San Antonio units for Parker on the ball. The Warmth bigs did good work in varying their coverages, sometimes showing hard to force Parker to tug the ball out and try to make a move behind the lure (where Warmth helpers have been nearly invariably on time and on the right track with their rotations) and typically dropping back a step to corral the ball and preserve him from getting a clear path to the rim. And in the relatively uncommon instances where Parker was in a position to acquire the paint, he’d find a variety of lengthy arms between the ball and the backboard, and he did not have as much luck ending in site visitors as he had earlier in the sport.

While Miami deserves the bulk of the credit, some of the second-half wrestle, to make sure, owes to the hamstring damage. Parker acknowledged after the sport that he “got fatigued a bit of bit” after halftime, and whereas he didn’t look like a lot the more severe for wear whereas on the ball, he wasn’t precisely threatening working off the ball in the second half.

Parker had been logging heavy minutes for San Antonio throughout the postseason, averaging just below 39 minutes per game within the second round against the Golden State Warriors and 39 half minutes within the Western Convention finals towards the Memphis Grizzlies, and enjoying 39 half minutes within the Spurs’ Game 1 Finals win in Miami. But he is averaged slightly below 31 minutes per recreation over the past three outings, and stated at Saturday’s follow he did not know if he’d be able to go greater than half-hour in Game 5 whereas dealing with the damage: “We’ll see tomorrow, I assume, huh?”

He also famous that, while grade 1 is the mildest degree of strain, beneath regular circumstances, it would’ve sidelined him for a stretch.

“My hamstring can tear any time now, so if it was the common season, I’d be resting like 10 days,” Parker mentioned. “However now it is the NBA Finals. If it gets a tear, it is life.”

Two days of ice, massages, rest and treatment have reportedly helped, as Parker mentioned at Sunday’s shootaround that he’s “good to go” for Sport 5. Nonetheless, if he is unable to play heavy minutes at a excessive level at his customary pace, extra will probably be required of San Antonio’s secondary ball-handlers, including the struggling Manu Ginobili, combo guard Gary Neal (who’s been great working extra off the ball in this series), little-used backup Cory Joseph and probably even Nando De Colo, whom Spurs coach Gregg Popovich took out of mothballs for a four-minute stretch in Game four.

“If he can’t play at full speed, others must choose up the slack, and they will or they won’t,” Popovich stated Friday.

If they won’t, San Antonio may be in fairly a little bit of bother against a Heat crew eager to earn consecutive wins for the primary time since Could 15 (the clinching Recreation 5 of the Japanese Conference semifinals towards the Chicago Bulls) and May 22 (Sport 1 of the Jap Conference finals in opposition to the Indiana Pacers).

2. Can Miami’s defense maintain forcing the Spurs into turnovers?

In Sport 1 and Recreation three, the Spurs committed 17 mixed turnovers, leading to 25 Heat factors. In Game 2 and Recreation four, they coughed it up 36 occasions, leading to forty two Warmth factors. Not surprisingly, they received the former and misplaced the latter.

On one hand, turnovers compelled and points scored off them are likely to function indicators of how nicely a protection is functioning — if the Heat are capable of power miscues and capitalize off them, that usually suggests their pick-and-roll trapping, again-line rotations and early help are on point, and since these are the fundamental tenets of their defensive system, that often means the opposition’s in for a long night time. On the other, though, they’re additionally signposts to an offense’s struggles and a crucial component in any story about a defeat, as a result of as Popovich notes, turnovers deflate an offense simply as a lot as they bolster a protection.

“As a result of it’s not simply [that] you gave them another possession; folks forget you lost your possession,” Popovich said. “You might need scored one, two or three points, or four, I assume in rare situations. However you didn’t rating, and the other team oftentimes — especially the higher the group you play, like Miami — you turn it over and they are going to rating. It is basically a dunk or a layup on the different end of the court docket. So it is all the time a swing of 4 points, at the very least, and that’s what really takes its toll.”

The Spurs’ 19 turnovers in Recreation 4 got here in all styles and sizes — Tiago Splitter’s recreation-opening backcourt violation, Kawhi Leonard dribbling the ball into LeBron James’ chest on a quick break, Danny Green setting a (questionable) transferring display screen on Chris Bosh, Tim Duncan rolling to the rim and charging into a planted and ready Wade, telegraphed-and-intercepted cross-courtroom passes by Green and Boris Diaw, sloppy flip passes by Parker and Ginobili that did not discover their meant targets, and on, and on. You name it, the Spurs booted it in Game 5, with lots of the poor selections, execution errors and passes thrown either a split-second too early or too late owed to the Warmth with the ability to get back to being themselves.

“Our focus has been attending to our id, which is an aggressive, disruptive defensive staff,” Warmth coach Erik Spoelstra mentioned Friday.

“When they go to that next degree or that next gear defensively and aggressiveness‑clever, you higher be ready for it and try to make the most of it by shifting the basketball, not playing in a crowd, that form of factor,” Popovich mentioned. “Our two losses towards them, we’ve not performed that very well.”

“We now have to understand that their id is to play aggressive protection and so they gamble and they’re going to take a lot of possibilities with steals and blocks,” Parker said Saturday. “We just need to be smarter with our choices.”

When the choices are smarter, the ball motion crisper and the passes delivered on time, on target and ahead of Heat rotations … properly, that is when Sport 3 can occur. The Spurs have been far from flawless in that recreation, committing 13 turnovers that became 17 Warmth points, but San Antonio’s passes were fast sufficient and accurate enough usually enough to turn the AT&T Center right into a capturing gallery.

“Who gets to who extra usually? Typically the margin for error is a centimeter distinction of our exercise and their precision,” Spoelstra stated. “The way in which they transfer the ball and their execution, their precision — you must be completely linked and on level defensively in any respect levels or not only they will beat you, but they will embarrass you.”

If Miami will get the identical level of defensive focus, commitment and execution — especially from Wade, who (as I famous Friday) was much more attentive, opportunistic and precise together with his rotations on Thursday, and Bosh, who was absolutely everywhere, particularly in that second half — then it will be awful troublesome for San Antonio to get again to that embarrassment-causing offense in Sport 5 with out shuffling the deck a bit.

“Clearly, their defense was rotating form of completely and figuring out precisely what we were going to do, so it’s important to change issues up,” Duncan stated Saturday. “It’s a must to change the pace of issues, the way in which you do things, and in that manner it form of keeps them on their toes. Greater than them understanding precisely what they will do, I believe that is what now we have to do in this upcoming sport.”

Parker’s well being/exercise and whether the Spurs can get their precision passing game going are the two biggest issues that I will be looking ahead to in Game 5, however as you’d count on in a recreation this huge, there are many different ones, too — here, rapidly, are just a few extra:

3. Can Wade approximate what he provided in Sport four? As Kelly noted earlier Sunday, Wade’s the offensive bellwether for this Warmth workforce; as Bosh stated, when Wade gets free, Miami’s rattling close to unstoppable.

Given how up-and-down (and, actually, down) Wade’s been for these past few months, anticipating another 32-level, six-rebound, six-steal, 4-help outing would seem foolhardy, but now that we all know he is capable of that kind of efficiency with his bone-bruised proper knee, a return to the languorous misfiring of Games 1 by three would simply be unacceptable. Whether or not his jumper’s falling, Wade again must press the paint looking for contact, make off-ball cuts with malicious intent, keep locked in on the defensive finish and rotate laborious enough to spook the Spurs into mistakes. With a lot on the road in Sport 5, those points of the game are non-negotiable.

4. Can Ginobili answer his critics as Wade answered his? It is probably a bit much to ask the 35-yr-outdated Argentinian legend to pop for 32 points, considering he hasn’t carried out that in a bit over a 12 months. However after a subpar Recreation four (five points on 1 for 5 shooting with two turnovers in 26 minutes), a very quiet Finals thus far (simply 7.5 factors per recreation on 34.5 % taking pictures, and a three for 16 mark from three-level land) and some head-scratching choices and errors as the Spurs’ secondary facilitator, any semblance of a threatening offensive sport — threatening to Miami, I imply — would signify a major leap ahead for the Spurs’ long-honored sixth man.

Spurs followers are determined for a flicker of the pace and sharpness that made Manu a nightmarish cowl as not too long ago as Sport 3 of the Western finals, when he scored 19 factors on nine photographs against the Grizzlies and made repeated forays into the paint to earn journeys to the line, when that all-time court imaginative and prescient resulting in 5 assists with just one turnover, when the irrepressible spark caught fireplace and engulfed Memphis relatively than leading to self-immolation. After Sport four, Duncan recommended that Ginobili would possibly have to let the blaze burn moderately than attempting to keep it under management.

“I feel he’s simply trying to be incredibly unselfish proper now,” Duncan stated. “I think he’s making an attempt to make the appropriate play at the right time. He is making an attempt to make the right cross, make the defense transfer instead of wanting extra for his own. […] We want him to be a little extra aggressive, be slightly extra selfish, perhaps, and hopefully we are able to find him a solution to get him to try this.”

5. Can San Antonio regulate to the Wade-Bosh elbow choose-and-roll that gave them so much trouble in Game four? I am going to defer on the breakdown to Rob Mahoney of The Point Ahead, but one of the key offensive variations for Miami in Sport four was operating Wade-Bosh ball screens on the elbows slightly than up top with Bosh rolling onerous to the basket relatively than coming out for midrange jumpers. The shift leveraged Wade’s passing capability, Bosh’s underrated abilities as a finisher around the basket and the quickness/pace advantage Bosh has over Spurs defenders like Duncan and Diaw to get the 2 All-Stars more seems shifting toward the basket. How will Popovich respond to snuff out the action and get the Warmth back outdoors the paint?

6. Can the Spurs create extra three-level looks? Two nights after setting a file for three-point makes in an NBA Finals sport with sixteen, the Spurs managed simply 16 attempts from deep (a collection low) in Recreation four, as the Heat ran San Antonio shooters off the line with robust rotations and the Spurs ran themselves off the road with poor passing. We know Green (a scorching 19 for 28 from distance), Neal (12 for 22 from lengthy range) and Matt Bonner (only one for 4 in the Finals in restricted minutes, but a 44.2 p.c mark from three during the season) can catch hearth if given opportunities, however we additionally know that they will typically battle to make the right reads and choices when forced to put the ball on the deck by a timely closeout. Determining tips on how to simply let these shooters shoot with out having to think shall be huge for San Antonio on Sunday.

With the Warmth’s smaller lineup swarming shooters, space to rise and fireplace is hard to come by — Grantland’s Zach Lowe caught a pleasant little staggered display screen design the Spurs used a couple of instances in Sport four to get open looks for Green, and Pop’s going to wish to figure out some extra methods to engineer some breathing room. I am betting the Spurs might want to get back above 20 three-point attempts, and doubtless properly over that mark, to have a real sturdy probability in Sport 5.

7. If Miami stays small, will San Antonio proceed to match? Putting Mike Miller into the beginning lineup for Udonis Haslem did not have a major effect on the score sheet — Miller took only one shot in 21 minutes in Sport four, missed it and later smiled about being a “decoy” — however it did sign a stylistic shift by Miami and create a bit of matchup uncertainty for San Antonio, who abandoned the Splitter-guards-Wade gambit after forty seven seconds.

The Heat performed only one big man at a time throughout the entire game — Bosh played slightly below 38 minutes at middle and Haslem played simply over 10, with James and Shane Battier splitting energy forward duties, and previously important reserve Chris Andersen not seeing a second of ground time. San Antonio largely matched that look, with their standard two-large lineup of Duncan and Splitter sharing the floor for just three minutes and different two-type-of-large lineups (Duncan-Bonner, Diaw-Splitter, Bonner-Splitter) logging just a bit over eight minutes of total flooring time. The only two-huge lineup that Pop stayed with for a stretch was the Duncan-Diaw pairing, which carried out fairly properly and helped the Spurs go on an eleven-2 late-second quarter run.

If Spoelstra elects to keep going small with Miller in the beginning lineup, Bosh on the five and LeBron on the 4, will Pop similarly shift Splitter to the bench in favor of, say, Neal? (You can perceive de-emphasizing Splitter at this level, contemplating he is capturing 38 p.c from the floor and serving as the Finals’ main embarrassment magnet.) Will Pop go back to Duncan-Diaw in an attempt to, as Miller put it Saturday, “be huge and small on the same time, like I said, if that makes any sense?” Or will he stick with Splitter, trusting that the 28-yr-outdated Brazilian, who’s been so necessary for San Antonio defensively this season, will be able to maintain his personal on that finish while combating by the early-series struggles he is skilled on the opposite side of the court?

Honestly, I have no idea what the answers to any of those questions will wind up being — this series has felt like one long, steady subversion of all of our expectations, which is what’s made it so amazingly enjoyable to look at. This is hoping Sport 5 continues to make us all look stupid and depart us grinning like idiots in its wake.


Miami Heat Vs San Antonio Spurs | June 11, 2013 | Game 3 | Full Game Highlights | NBA Finals 2013

Danny Green scores 27 points while Gary Neal adds 24 points as the Spurs take a 2-1 series lead in Game 3 of the NBA Finals by defeating the Heat,113-77. Lik…