Danny Green and Gary Neal crush the Heat as big three quiet once again

The big three were quiet once again, which big three? Take your pick. The last two games have belonged to the role players as the stars have been silent on both sides. However, the pressure really only mounts on LeBron James, who's viewed as the best player in the NBA. Would Michael Jordan ever average under 17 points a game through three finals games?

Would you even consider making that comparison to any other player in this series? Heck, any other player in the league outside of perhaps Kobe?

However, it doesn't matter much what LeBron, Wade, or Bosh did in this game. This game was going to the Spurs regardless. Miami didn't lose it by poor offensive execution, they lost it because Danny Green and Gary Neal walked up, smacked them in the mouth and took it. If LeBron shot 17/21 instead of 7/21, Miami was still losing by double digits.

This was the Spurs role players stepping up to answer the Miami role players of last game.

The Heat's struggles go well beyond San Antonio bringing out a couple of three point flamethrowers in the game though. Miami was outplayed heavily on the glass, turned the ball over repeatedly in the stretch that decided the game, and simply looked out of sorts offensively all night.

LeBron, once again, looked scared to drive, scared to shoot, and missed bunnies that he typically finishes off easily. Dwyane Wade looks a bit more aggressive but can't seem to find good looks for himself, so when he pushes the issue he ends up taking very difficult shots. Chris Bosh looks like he's incapable of anything outside of shooting spot up jumpers and three years in Miami not having to play as the first option has significantly regressed his game.

The Heat will have all kinds of questions to answer, as their role players still chipped in 7/12 from the three point line which is the primary offensive role the Heat expect them to fill. When your shooters are actually shooting and hitting shots, then you have to look to your big guns and wonder WTF?

Outside of the second half of game two, the Heat have simply not looked like themselves.

The Spurs have problems of their own though. While they're up 2-1 in this series, no one should sit back and think that winning two of the next four games is an automatic for them. Their big three haven't exactly lit the world on fire either.

Manu Ginobili struggled through another awful game and has been a complete no show in the finals so far. Tony Parker pulled a hamstring and will have an MRI today. He returned to the game last night, so he'll probably be able to come back for the series, but the Spurs main offensive weapon may not be 100% the rest of the way.

Tim Duncan did a nice job on the offensive glass and played excellent defense, but his 12 points on 11 shots with four turnovers isn't going to excite anyone, and he was coming off an abysmal game as well.

No one complains after a blowout, but the Spurs better not get the slightest bit comfortable, because if they expect to get 15/22 shooting from the three point line from Neal, Green, and Leonarrd again, they'll likely be disappointed.

Miami's come back from 1-0 deficits numerous times in the playoffs, but has only found itself losing in a series after game three three times. They came back from a 3-2 deficit against Boston and a 2-1 against Indiana last season while losing after a 3-2 deficit against the Mavericks two years ago. They now have to play from behind again with LeBron's legacy on the line.

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  • Lebron tends to shy away from pressure situations. The guy is going on ten years in ths league and he hasn't figured it out yet? His coach said he will figure it out but it might be too late if the Spurs refuse to lose at home. The Heat are being exposed big time. If a team has players that can score at a good percentage from the perimeter to go along with good defense and rebounding, the Heat is pretty much vulnerable and vsry beatable. This is the very reason why i along with a few other Bulls fans have been bitching about the Bulls roster. The Bulls need offensive players that can score, not players whose play seem to fade come playoff time. That's why i dont understand letting a player like Nate Robinson leave. What Neal and Green did to the Heat last night is what Nate can do. Deng...and I'm sorry to say needs to be traded along with Hinrich and whoever else is inconsistent. Owners have to be passionate and have a competitive drive in the NBA in order to win a championship and I'm guessing Rose and his camp is noticing now that his boss doesn't have that.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Multiple shooters on the floor which doesn't allow MIA's 'great' defense to switch and close out on everything.

    Hmm, where have we seen this movie before? Oh that's right, when the Mavs beat the Heat in 2011.

    If only we could identify a couple shooters.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    The Heat absolutely abused Korver on defense though and stopped him from getting his shot off, so it's not enough to just have shooters.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    In other words, though a great outside shooter, Korver's lack of athleticism handicapped him.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Agreed, which is why you need multiple shooters and not just 1.

    The Heat, at least 2 years ago (now they're all breaking down) were great in closing out on defense. They were athletic, fast, and disciplined to rotate and recover. With Korver being the lone shooter; the Heat basically shut him down.

    But with the Mavs and what we are seeing with the Spurs, we're seeing the ball zip from one side of the court all the way to the other and sometimes back. Even if Wade and Battier weren't injured and old, they still couldn't stop that.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Yeah it's so easy to build a championship team, practically every NBA team has figured it out. Why can't the Bulls? Must be lack of passion.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Uh oh i ruffled a homers feathers, don't be so sensitive...it is what it is man.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I simply disagree with you that it's easy to beat the Heat if you have a passionate owner, but you can call it "ruffled feathers" due to "sensitivity" if it makes you feel better.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I would also be for trading Deng/Hinrich, except I don't think you get anything for them, and I don't think the team is better simply dumping them.

    I do agree you need more guys who can create a shot, that said Danny Green is basically just a spot up shooter, he's not a shot creator in any sense of the word. He's more of a Bruce Bowen type who's been exceptionally hot.

    I do agree the Bulls need guys like Nate Robinson to add scoring to the team for sure though. That said, to me the series, so far, is about Miami's lack of execution and the poor play by LeBron/Wade/Bosh. The Spurs were hot in game 3, but Miami kills San Antonio in game one if they execute.

  • Appreciate your game recaps Doug. I do disagree though to a certain extent about Ginobli.

    If your're looking for past member of the Big Three All-Star big offensive production guy then yes you could say that guy's missing. But we knew that before the series started didn't we? He's their fourth leading scorer in the regular season averaging 11 ppg on 43% shooting.

    You're right his numbers overall are bad, but his impact plays during momentum building tides have actually been big in IMO. If you're talking purely about winning I think labeling Ginobli as a "no show" is missing the mark and more of a media observation i.e hype not fact driven jab. No offense Doug.

    Examples: Last night, 1) Fast break back breaking nasty flush dunk that crested a momentum run that brought the house down, and also a driving dunk from the key I believe both plays with LeBron as the nearest defender(could be wrong), 2) He has hit some big threes during momentous runs, 3) Some killer special deliveries as in assists to Splitter on the slipping screen over the shoulder perfect strikes under the basket that help take the heart out of the defense. And I'm no Ginobli "fan" or anything just sayin'.

    The larger point may be that they probably will need one game a much more impactful, prolific offensive outburst perhaps to keep them in a struggling game or put them over the top to sheer domination as in out of reach in a second half. Particularly if Parker is now limited or a Finals DNP(hopfully not going to be the case or be that bad of a hamstring).

    Famed cliche, but whoever wins the next game wins the series??

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    If the Spurs win the next game then it's hard to imagine them losing the series.

    If the Heat win, it just brings it back to probably a 60/40 Miami advantage since they have two home games.

  • Road Warrior,

    I disagree. When the game was still somewhat in the balance last night, Ginobli was pretty sloppy with the basketball. When the only way Miami was going to get back in the game was to create some live ball turnovers, Ginobli seemed happy to oblige. I agree with you that it may be unfair to compare him to what he was in his prime, but I get real nervous when he is on the floor now. I never used to be that way with him, but I am now. And I want the Spurs to win in the worst way.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Ginobli has looked like he is playing with 2 left feet the entire series, not sure if he is injured, or he is just done, but right now he is giving the Spurs nothing and is a shadow of his former self.

    In fact, as a whole the Spurs big 3 are a shadow of their former selves, which makes it even more remarkable that they are beating the Heat. I still fear that Miami will rally to win the series. but maybe this year will mark the beginning of the end of the Big 3 Heat era.

  • Maybe we can trade our "Lebron stopper"(Deng) for the Spurs(Leonard).

    I hope that this series finally puts to rest the theory that Luol Deng plays Lebron as well as anyone can. Lebron goes at Deng at will, with confidence and averages more against Deng and the Bulls than he does against the league. Clearly, the Spurs have figured something out, or Kwahi Leonard is the real Lebron stopper.

    Actually, after the Bulls got killed by the Spurs subs during their first regular season meeting, I mockingly threw out the suggestion that we trade Deng for Kwahi Leonard. Of course the Spurs would have laughed in our faces then as they would now.

    Shocking, but you can't trade a 2 time(fake) All Star(and fake all defensive team) for a second year role player.

    Last night was just one of those games where the Spurs shooters had irrational confidence and it worked for them. Not much that Lebron or Miami could have done, but it did appear that they gave up fairly early in the second half. Again, something that I don't think that Jordan would have ever done himself, or let his team do for that matter.

    Fingers crossed that Parker is O.K. It would suck more than Carlos Boozer if Miami were to win the series because Parker can't play.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Good point about Deng. I've argued before that he defends Lebron as well as anyone, but never again after seeing Leonard.

    The problem with the Bulls isn't Deng because he's a really good player, but he does personify the Bulls.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Deng isn't even the best LeBron defender on our own team... Jimmy Butler did a better job than Deng ever has against LeBron. LeBron lights the hell out of Deng everytime they play. He can't compete with him athletically. He tries hard and keeps decent position but LeBron knows he can get his shot off at will against him and does so with great efficiency.

    Deng is probably the most overrated defender in the NBA. Also one of the worst two time NBA all stars in history. I would trade him for Leonard in a heartbeat and not just because the salary difference.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Is Deng a more overrated defender than Hinrich? Both guys lack elite athleticism but get branded as great defenders because they hustle and are pesky.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    If you don't want to use the 'eye-test', use the stats.

    Lebron averages better numbers against Deng/Bulls than he does for his career.

    Butler is a better Lebron defender than Deng.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Hey guys, some Bulls fans defend Deng because of being homers. If they can't see that Lebron pretty much abuses Deng on the regular, just have pity for those fans cause it's as plain as day that Jimmy Butler in one year has done the better job defending Lebron.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Yes I've seen LeBron's stats in those games, but the Bulls won a lot of those. I'm not arguing that Deng defends him well though.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    The problem with Boozer or Deng in trades is age/salary.

    However, it's silly to compare second contract guys with guys on rookie deals. The majority of guys on their second deal can't easily be moved for a very promising young player on a rookie deal due to the lack of upside / cost.

    How many of the guys making between 10 million but less than the max do you think you would take for Jimmy Butler when you factor in age/salary/ability? Probably not many.

  • what will Kobe do if Tim Duncan win's his 5th championship. Another ship in la la land won't happen with chemistry destroyer Howard that ruins every team he's a part of. Kobe keep your options open for summer of 2014. Also looking at you Bosh, you would of been perfect with Derrick Rose but you had to hide behind wade and lebron, now your a fraction of the player you were before 2010. Never bet against Chicago smashmouth tough basketball. Our city is cold but tough and always working.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    If the Lakers win another title, it will be BECAUSE of Dwight. At this point in his career, I think Kobe stays with the Lakers for the remainder of his career. Bulls had their shot to get Kobe.

    Bulls won't have enough for a single max contract, let alone for Kobe AND Bosh. And I'm a Bosh fan and think he would play well with Rose, but signing him in 2014 when he's 2 years older and not necessarily in his peak prime, will feel just like the Boozer signing again.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Would you really max Kobe again given his age? I don't think I would.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Agreed, Kobe is no longer worth his MAX+ salary. His best basketball is well behind him. Next...

  • It amazes me that LeBron and Wade aren't hitting those mid-range shots which they hit on almost automatic against the Bulls three years in a row.

  • Yes Lebron torches deng but you guys can't say that Leonard is stopping Lebron by himself. That is completely FALSE!!!!! The SPURS are collapsing in the paint and daring Lebron and wade to shoot jumpers. Even Danny green is clearly out matched by Lebron as he too was guarding him. but what happened? lebron was still forced to take the jumper or drive though a wall of 4 spurs that's in the paint!! Maybe bulls could do the same thing if boozer committed to defense. Need to stop with all the deng bashing.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    I don't think it's a matter of the Spurs doing anything really.

    LeBron is simply choking IMO.

    He's scared to shoot jumpers, he's missing the jumpers he's shooting, he's missing layups for gosh sake. His timing is way off, and he just looks like crap.

    Credit the Spurs if you want, but I think LeBron's just mentally fallen off a cliff, and needs to get his crap together.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    That is LeBron's history, that's why he gave up on trying to lead a team on his own and went to a team that already had a clutch player in Wade. That's why I lost respect for him after The Decision. Winning the one championship with the Heat absolves him of nothing. With Wade struggling, LeBron has a golden opportunity to show that he is in fact a clutch, championship player but will he do it?

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I agree with this. Even LeBron's greatest detractors have now seen what he's capable of. Is a 37-year-old Tim Duncan and a couple mediocre big guys really stopping him from driving to the hole? No. And is Leonard really making him miss those jump shots when there's five feet of separation between them? No. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that this Spurs team sent his Cavs home in four.

    I don't agree with something you said Doug that you wished they played Memphis. The Grizzlies don't have any long range shooting. You need to hit threes to spread the Miami D. I think Spurs had the best chance and I think barring injury they would have come out of the West even if Westbrook had remained healthy. The difference in that series last year was late-game heroics by James Harden. Then they traded that guy for a half-eaten sandwich and here we are.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Yes, but he has mentally fallen off a cliff because the Spurs have robbed him of his confidence, that never happens against the Bulls, he attacks us with complete confidence, so something has to be different between the Spurs approach to defending Lebron and ours.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    this is all nonsense, the heat are gonna fuckin win again (most likely in six), and the nba sucks for one more year.

  • Does the winner of Game 4 win the series? Takers??

  • In reply to Edward:

    Yes.

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    Can't wait for another article on how Lebron and the Heat are failures....., GIVE CREDIT WHEN DUE!!!! Lebron is chasing Jordan AND has a chance to match or surpass Jordan's mountain top reign.

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