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Spurs’ Green, Neal, Leonard have same amount of points as LeBron, Wade, Bosh through 3 games of the Finals

Jun 12, 2013, 12:26 PM EDT

SPO-BASKET-NBA-FINALS-SPURS-HEAT

SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs and their “Big Three” have taken it to the Heat so far in this series, and it’s one of the reasons that Miami finds itself down two games to one in the NBA Finals.

But it isn’t Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili who are keeping pace with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh through the first three games — it’s been the more unsung, role players who have risen up to perform on the game’s greatest stage, as pointed out by Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com.

Danny Green, Gary Neal, and Kawhi Leonard have combined to score 130 points in the Finals thus far, and it’s the exact same amount tallied by James, Wade and Bosh.

Small sample size theater and all that, sure. And of course, the numbers get skewed even further with a game like Green and Neal combined for on Tuesday, scoring 51 of those 130 points in a single night while contributing to an historic shooting performance from three-point distance.

Miami will have to find away to defend the arc better as the series moves forward, but the bigger problem has been what the Heat haven’t been getting from their All-Star core, especially on Tuesday, and especially from James.

LeBron said afterward he just has to play better, and that’s going to mean taking the shots he wants instead of those that the Spurs are choosing to allow. James shot just 7-of-21 from the field in Game 2, but the location of those attempts is what needs to change for the Heat to start to find a consistent measure of success.

James was 5-of-7 in Game 2 from inside the restricted area, but made just one of his five attempts from beyond the three-point arc, and was even worse from midrange, where he was able to connect only one of nine times. Smart teams emphasize creating shots in the paint or in the corners for open looks at a short three, and by LeBron settling for the open midrange looks instead of forcing the issue to create something better, the Spurs are getting exactly what they want out of the league’s MVP.

It wasn’t only LeBron, however — his teammates seemed to be fine with settling for these shots in Game 2, as well. Miami was only 7-of-33 from outside the restricted area and inside the three-point arc, and that accounted for 43 percent of their shots.

None of that can continue if the Heat are to bounce back and eventually get control of this series, and you have to think that at some point the role players for San Antonio will cool off, and the Spurs will need to turn to their stars to get the required level of production.

But it doesn’t have to go on very much longer — it’s worked through three games, and the Spurs just need it to continue for two more in order to end up winning the title.

  1. pmx8411 - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Danny Green, Mike Miller, Gary Neal and Ray Allen should just have a three point shoot out and winner wins the nba championship…..Leonard is doing a helluva job on LBJ imo and BOSH needs to hit his OPEN jump shots Jeeeeeesus

    • alildusty - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:31 PM

      I abosolutely LOVE it that bosh is missing his shots!

      I seriously can’t stand that freaking poser and the way he acts after EVERY made shot as if it’s a game winner. He’s got talent, always been an all-star/borderline all-star caliber but just play the damn game! Don’t scream, pound your chest and go nuts after each made shot. Especially when you’re ugly and look like a ET/Raptor mix!!

  2. thenew013 - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    They arent “unsung” anymore.

  3. chargerdillon - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Has everybody so quickly forgotten the beating the Heat put on the Spurs in game 2?

    Are we talking about the same Leonard in Game 1 that was jacking up airballs from the three point line?

    Are we officially having Jeremy-Lin-Syndrome where one good game of shooting makes you think he’s suddenly some prolific scorer?

    The Spurs are a GREAT team, probably the greatest TEAM of this generation, but NOBODY in their right mind would’ve put their money down on the the Spurs bench playing more dominant than all of the starters for both sides.

    • alildusty - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:27 PM

      The Spurs are a GREAT team, probably the greatest TEAM of this generation, but NOBODY in their right mind would’ve put their money down on the the Spurs bench playing more dominant than all of the starters for both sides.

      @chargerdillon….FYI, only person of the trio that’s a bench player is gary neal. Starting SG and SF vs Startign SG and SF

    • damyourestupid - Jun 12, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      Guess you missed the first meeting during the regular season when the bench gave the heat all they could handle? Remember, the game that Allen won on a last second three? Nah you probably don’t

  4. bucrightoff - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    So yeah, who had Green, Leonard and Mike Miller as their top 3 MVP candidates after 3 games?

  5. asimonetti88 - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Wow that’s crazy! Way to step up on the big stage. Definitely a big reason why the Spurs are leading the series right now.

  6. historyisyourfriend - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Spurs are leading because from spots 1-12 on their team they are flat out better than Miami. They are also winning because Lebron has virtually disappeared in these Finals for long stretches of each game. Here’s a stat: Michael Jordan 6-0 in the Finals. Lebron so far? 1-3 and if he loses this Finals it will be 1-4. Only difference is he won’t be able to fall back on the “I don’t have enough talent around me” excuse he has used year in and year out. He is a once in a decade type elite player/athlete..but a very common heart/will human being…

  7. illegalblues - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    the spurs don’t just rely on their big three on offense. they have a legitimately great system that involves everyone on the floor. the fact that neal, leonard, and danny green have been important to the offense isn’t a fluke, it’s design. in a league where superstars get the benefit of doubt when it comes to drawing fouls, this team is winning using intelligence. it’s the exact same thing dallas did two years ago to beat the heat. doesn’t really need to be more analysis than that.

  8. azarkhan - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    I love Kahwi Leonard, the Zen Spur. He’s taken Tim Duncan’s laconic style and self-effacing personality to a whole new level. I was watching him being interviewed and honestly, if he didn’t occasionally blink, I’d a thought he was flat lining. Monosyllabic, lips barely moving, contemplating the reporter with detached, bored curiosity, he is becoming the perfect Spur. Will he attain nirvana and cease speaking altogether? We shall see.

  9. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 12, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Other than Green/Leonard/Neal being asked to talk about how great they are, the next best thing that has happened for the Heat over these 48 hours is LBJ/Wade/Bosh being asked to talk about how much they’ve sucked.

    • savvybynature - Jun 12, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      Except Green, Neal & Leonard are truly humble individuals who defer all credit to their teammates and Pop.
      I doubt that the media will influence the mindset of Spurs players heading into game 4.
      And Bosh, Wade & James are all veterans that shouldn’t need the media to get them motivated to win an NBA Finals.

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