Teamwork, teamwork, team work. Conceptually, it is a dead horse that we will continue to get beatan until the Heat gets it.
The San Antonio Spurs proved once again on Tuesday night why their method is the best. Tim Duncan was limited to 12 points, Manu Ginobili scored only seven points and Tony Parker finished with six points in just 27 minutes. Disaster, right?
Wrong. It was Danny Green and Gary Neal to the rescue. Green had 27 points, and Neal netted 24 points in Tuesday’s 113-77 win over the Heat. The Spurs now lead the best-of-seven final 2-1. Game 4 is tonight at 9 p.m.
It’s no misprint. The Spurs got a combined 51 points on 18-for-32 shooting from Green and Neal, while their top three of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili combined for just 25 points. The Spurs actually looked comfortable with their big three playing subpar basketball. Those things happen when your squad is accustomed to playing extended periods without its top veterans.
Ginobili missed 22 games this year, putting forth the second-lowest scoring output of his career (11.8 points), while Duncan, who didn’t put forth the most vintage performance during the regular season, had his third lowest scoring output of his career in 69 games.
Playing a chunk of the regular season without Ginobili and Duncan thrust several of the Spurs’ role players into the national spotlight. It forced coach Gregg Popovich to mix and mingle his lineups. It forced Popovich to give players like Green, Neal and Kawhi Leonard a bigger role in the offense. What better way to school your bench players than to play them?
Conversely, the Heat’s big three of LeBron James (15), Chris Bosh (12) and Dwyane Wade (16) didn’t play up to their normal standards. It didn’t help that the Heat’s other starters-Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem-didn’t score.
This doesn’t mean the Heat can’t rebound tonight and even the series at two games each. James is capable of putting up one of those all-time great finals performances. The problem is that James could do just that on Thursday and the Heat could still lose.
James admitted as much after the Heat’s loss in Game 1 when he told reporters that he’s done more in games and lost.
It’s time for the Heat to “cowboy up.”