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Heat vs. Spurs NBA Finals Game 3 preview: Was Heat’s run an aberration?

Jun 11, 2013, 12:13 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game Two Getty Images

The Miami Heat just have another gear that no NBA team can match. The kind of gear that puts on a 33-5 run against a very good Spurs team in the NBA Finals.

But they have played these playoffs more like a Top Fuel dragster — they can’t sustain that level of play for an extended period of time.

That leads to the big question coming into Game 3: Which version of the Heat shows up? That question gets answered Tuesday night at 9 p.m. Eastern.

If the Heat play like the team from the final 16 minutes of Game 2, the Spurs are in a lot of trouble (really, it was more like 8 minutes of great play followed by 8 minutes of garbage time). But for the previous 80 minutes of this series San Antonio had hung right with Miami and now going home you can expect some better shooting and fewer turnovers from San Antonio.

The turnovers are the first (and one of the most obvious) keys for the Spurs — they had 4 in Game 1, 17 in Game 2. For much of this series San Antonio has done a fantastic job of getting back in transition, taking away the easy points that the Heat thrive on. But the turnover became too much and undid all that good work in Game 2. The Heat’s defensive pressure is not going away, this is on the Spurs to adjust.

“I’ll figure it out,” Tony Parker said Wednesday at morning shootaround. Okay then.

The other key is how the Spurs will adjust to dealing with the Mario Chalmers/LeBron James pick-and-roll. Miami ran it at the elbow or lower and an attacking Chalmers, plus all the threats LeBron poses, had the Spurs defense scrambling. Their rotations were a step slow and suddenly Mike Miller and Ray Allen were open for threes. Which they hit (that’s far from a given lately). There are a number of ways the Spurs can choose to deal with this, but they need to be more aggressive because the Heat picked them apart.

Expect the combo Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili to shoot better than they did in Game 2 when they were 10-of-33 as a group. The Heat defense was better but Duncan and Parker also just missed shots they normally make. You can expect those to fall at home.

Ginobili is another matter — he is 7-of-23 since Game 4 against Memphis. He lost his dribble a few times last game and just looked awful, so Gregg Popovich held him to 18 minutes. I’m not sure what is going on but he just doesn’t look right at all.

There are other factors, like who stays hot from three — Danny Green from the Spurs and Mike Miller and Ray Allen from the Heat have found their groove. Both provide some important points and floor spacing to their teams. Then there is Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — they played better in Game 2, the Heat need more of that (particularly from Bosh)

In the end, the question remains — can the Heat hit that other gear again? If they do, what the Spurs do isn’t really going to matter much. But you know the Spurs are not going to roll over, the Heat are going to have to earn this.

  1. baymac408 - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    This has been a fun series to watch and I just see it getting better as they move to San Antonio.. P.s. Spurs swept the west except for the Young Ballin WARRIORS.. Why does that say bout W’s future? I’m pumped and ready for next season!DUB CITY.. Of course that’s after watching this good series full of future legends..

  2. pmx8411 - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Manu is the X-FACTOR….7-23 shooting while fumbling and bumbling the ball is inexcusable

  3. dolphindubs - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    No, not an aberration. A premonition. Of things to come….

    • hehateme2 - Jun 11, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      Kurt, It’s what the HEAT does. And you’re right…. no team can match up to it when it happens.

  4. jzone954 - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Miami shot themselves in the foot game one and lost by 4 due to a Miracle shot by TP (not taking anything and from him) and and game 2 I mean it just exploded wide open. Hopefully they keep this up. We all know they go on amazing runs. Well just see what happens

  5. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Which version of the Miami Heat will show up? As long as it’s the 2012-2013 version, I like our chances.

    I will grant you that if the 1988-1991 versions show up, the 2002-2003 versions, or the 2007-2008 versions show up; we’re going to be in a whole heapin’ hell of trouble.

    If the 1996-2000 versions show up, we’d probably do pretty well but come up a bit short at the end. I’ve always been partial to the 2003-2004 Caron Butler/Lamar Odom/Rookie Dwyane Wade team but the Spurs would probably sweep them pretty easily.

    But if the 2012-2013 Miami Heat shows up tonight; that’s pretty much as good a shot to win as you’re going to get.

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:05 PM

      no jingle??? you’re getting lazy.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        I can understand Knicks fans not being pro Heat, but to call Pearl Jam lyrics “jingles” is a sure sign of severe mental disease.

        Next time Nothingman comes on, I’m going to think about you sitting by yourself in Tootsies hanging on the edge hoping and praying the Heat lose.

        “Walks on his own…with thoughts he can’t help thinking…
        Future’s above…but in the past he’s slow and sinking…
        Caught a bolt ‘a lightnin’…cursed the day he let it go…
        Isn’t it something?

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:10 PM

      Pearl Jam? pretty cool, if it were 1990.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:55 PM

        Exactly how many things are you completely uniformed about. Guess they don’t play Pearl Jam in strip clubs. PJ’s much better now than they were in 1990 (91 actually).

        Although you don’t deserve it, here’s a little video from two months ago for you to enjoy.

  6. jzone954 - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:49 PM


    Hopefully it’s not the team we saw game 6 at Indiana. But I agree

  7. cantonbound13 - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Spurs win big tonight, no bandwagoners for two days yet again.

    • mannyfresh209 - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      You’re a bandwagon Spurs fan

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:11 PM

        I’m actually a Knick fan & fan of anyone playing the Heat.

      • hehateme2 - Jun 11, 2013 at 3:18 PM

        Just a lonely troll. Too bad his snarky posts do nothing to swap anyone with a brain.

  8. HotHotHeat - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Canton is a fan of anyone playing the Heat which means he hasn’t had a lot to cheer about the last two seasons. Keep hating cause it just seems to fuel the Heat.

    • rtfinch - Jun 11, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      Which is funny, the heat have only had fans for the last two seasons.

      • HotHotHeat - Jun 11, 2013 at 4:22 PM

        Did you forget about 2006 already??? In case you didn’t know the Heat have been around for 25 years.

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 11, 2013 at 5:32 PM

        So true!

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 11, 2013 at 5:33 PM

        @ hot hot name 3 guys on the 2001 team

      • rtfinch - Jun 12, 2013 at 9:00 AM

        Oh no, I remember 2006. And i did it without Google and ESPN.

  9. apmn - Jun 11, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    9 pm ET game starts suck. The Lakers aren’t playing, so just put it on tape-delay for the West Coast.

  10. savagedolfan - Jun 11, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    I find it funny how the heat haters jump on heat fans for “bandwagon”ing but yet they refuse to be called “heat haters”. Okay, do you prefer to be called “Chicago Bulls Bandwagoners”? No, how about “Indiana Pacers Bandwagoners”? No, how about “San Antonio Spurs Bandwagoners”? Get the picture heat haters. Fans jump on board when any team begins to win, unfortunately for those of you who are NOT from Miami, you have no idea what the fans down here do to support our teams. So instead of accusing Miami fans of “jumping on the bandwagon” how about you stop “heat hating”. Or you could look for a career on ESPN, I believe it’s a requirement.

  11. 1historian - Jun 11, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Spurs in 6, take it with a ‘Spursspurt’ in the last 3 minutes in front of a whole lot of unhappy Heat fans.

    Sunday was a blowout, but feces occur. Spurs will be back.


  12. harshedmellow - Jun 11, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    The “another gear” thing has been getting lots of play here. It is an interesting idea- that the Heat make a 7-game series into a 5 or 6 game series by simply running away with a game or two each series.

    The 2-3-2 Finals format is weird, though. Not a fan. It has a funny flow to it.

    (I’m going to need to “snark up” to hang with all y’all. And get some skin thickener.)

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