“These are the best two teams. There is a way to lose.” – Mark Jackson 2014.
We have seen blowouts in the finals before. Lakers over Celtics Game 1 of the 2010 Finals. Or how about Game 3 of the 98′ Finals when the Bulls stampeded over the Jazz 96-54. But to be blown out consecutively in the NBA Finals is a different story.
The Miami Heat left Game 3 with their heads down in pure disbelief. How could the Spurs come into their own building and put on a clinic for thousands of fans to watch? My mistake. Most of the fans had already departed American Airlines Arena even before the 4th quarter concluded. Game 4 was not so different.
No 41 point first quarter this time. Instead, the Spurs showcased the true definition of team work from jump ball to the final buzzer. Every player on the squad scored and the team combined for 25 assists. Unselfishness would be a pure understatement to summarize the team’s effort.
Here is the break down. Kawhi Leonard’s put back dunk in the second quarter set off ooohs and aahhhs from the Heat’s own fans. Besides that emphatic slam, Leonard had himself a night. 20 points, 14 rebounds, and three assists. Tony Parker was in rhythm as he scored 19 points of 8-15 shooting. Patty Mills hit 4 triples to go along with the 16 points he racked up. And the behind the back dish to Tiago Splitter from Boris Diaw had every Heat player on the floor memorized. Boris was a rebound, an assist, and a field goal from a triple double. Diaw’s mother, a basketball legend in France, told Boris that unselfishness wins games. Looks like someone listened to Muma Diaw in Game 4. And it was not the Heat.
Miami lacked that tenacity and fire they always play with in Game 4. Numbers don’t lie. The team combined for 13 assists which is nearly half of what the Spurs attained. They were -17 on rebounding and went 65% from the charity strike. Is this what a championship team looks like? Sure this is the 4th straight finals appearance for the Heat, but this was something else.
Watching the Heat on offensive was like playing a pickup game at the YMCA. Each player just took turns trying to score. The collaborative effort to penetrate the unyielding defense of San Antonio was as non- existent as the Lakers presence in the playoffs this year. Miami scored 21 points in the 3rd quarter. 19 points came from Lebron James. 2 came from Mario Chalmers. I’ll just let that stat do all the talking.
To end this berating of the Heat, we will talk about D- Wade. He shot 3-13 from the field and just seemed out of it. None of his shots were going down and the frustration just kept accumulating. It looked like another LeBron Show with some help from Bosh. If the Heat want to stay alive in this one sided Finals Series, they need to start playing as a team like they did before.
The Spurs were in control from start to finish. Miami tried to rally in the fourth behind Wade and Bosh, but the efforts were in vain and the Spurs went on to take Game 4. 3-1 is the current state of the finals and it can all end in Game 5. A little sooner that I had expected. The Heat’s backs are up against the wall. There is no more margin for error. Will the Heat push for another Game in Miami, or will they have to endure that long plane ride back home. Game 5 is this Sunday at 5:00 pm (pacific time).
On to the next one!