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Heat Knot up Series at Two Behind Big 3

by Photo of Kenneth Teape

Behind strong performances from their “Big 3” the Heat were able to tie the NBA Finals at two.

Heat Knot up Series at Two Behind Big 3

The Miami Heat continued their dominance in games following a loss this playoffs as they blew  out  the San Antonio Spurs 109-93 to tie the NBA Finals series up at two. This was a tie game at halftime as the Heat allowed the Spurs to stick around, but in the second half they buried them behind stellar performances from Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. With the victory Thursday night, the Heat moved to 6-0 this postseason following a loss, with all six wins being by double-digits and by an average margin of 20.6 points.

Wade looked like 2006 Dwyane Wade tonight as he had his best game of the playoffs. He had a monster game scoring 32 points on 14-25 shooting from the field, six rebounds, four assists and six steals in 40 minutes without any turnovers. This was the first time since March 17th that Wade scored over 22 points. He also became the first player to accumulate at least ,30 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists in a playoff game since 2001 when Allen Iverson did it.

Wade was not alone tonight as James and Bosh had big games as well. James broke out in a big way in Game 4 after struggling through the first three games to the tune of 33 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. Bosh had undoubtedly his best game of the series and possibly of the playoffs scoring 20 points and grabbing 13 rebounds while having two blocks and steals of his own as well. This was only the second time all postseason Bosh scored 20 points in a game, the other coming in Game 3 against the Chicago Bulls in the second round.

Bosh shooting the ball well is a good indicator of Miami's fortunes. In Game 4 Bosh shot 8-14 from the field, good for 57.1 percent. When Bosh is over 50 percent the Heat are virtually unstoppable, as they have reeled off 31-straight victories when he reaches that plateau, including 11 straight in these playoffs. Wade and James also went above 50 percent from the field, marking the first time since March 29th that the Heat’s Big 3 all made at least half their shots in the same game.

Ray Allen again gave the Heat a spark off the bench, scoring 14 points in his 33 minutes on the court. Allen was the only Heat bench player to have any impact on the game as Head Coach Erik Spoelstra changed the rotation and only Norris Cole, Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier appeared in the game and combining for only four points.  Spoelstra decided to change his game plan by going small and for at least one game it worked as well as he could have hoped.

The Heat’s defense caused problems for the Spurs throughout the night, evidenced by the 19 team turnovers the Spurs raked up. They were also able to lock down on Danny Green and Gary Neal much better in Game 4, as the two combined for 23 points after going off for 51 combined in Game 3.

The Heat were also able to neutralize Tony Parker just enough to get the win.  Parker looked well on his way to another big night as he scored 15 points in the first half alone, but the Heat were able to put the clamps on him in the second half. Parker went scoreless after halftime and the Spurs offense sputtered as a result. The perimeter shots were not as open as in the first half with Parker struggling. A positive though was that Parker was able to make it through the game with seemingly no problems. His status was up in the air prior to the game with a right hamstring strain. Tim Duncan had his best shooting night of the series, going 6-10 from the field and ending the night with 20 points but there was just not enough fire power to keep up with the Heat.

There are two culprits for the Spurs who are really hurting them and could see a decrease in playing time: Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter. Splitter had an awful start to the game, getting called for a backcourt violation on the tipoff and then committing a foul 40 seconds later, leading to his benching 48 seconds into the game. Splitter did nothing to change Head Coach Gregg Popovich’s mind about getting him more playing time as he offered nothing in his 14 minutes on the court, ending with a -11 +/- ratio.

The only player to rival Splitter’s poor play was Ginobili, who is starting to look his age. Ginobili struggled throughout the game once again, going 1-5 from the field and scoring five points in the game while adding only two rebounds and two assists. Ginobili was a game worst -22 on the night.

One bright spot for the Spurs though was Boris Diaw. After being relegated to the bench for poor performances in Games 1 and 2, Diaw responded strongly in his 11 minutes in Game 4 and was the only player to finish with a positive +/- ratio. He provided a spark for the Spurs off the bench and it would not be surprising to see him get some more minutes in Game 5 at the expense of Splitter and Ginobili.

The Heat changed their game plan and it resulted in a big Game 4 win. It is now Popovich and the Spurs' turn to throw a counter-punch and adjust to what the Heat have changed. One move that you may see is Diaw being inserted into the starting lineup to combat the smaller lineup the Heat started in Game 4.  Popovich is a seasoned enough coach to make the adjustments necessary to put the Spurs in the best position to win. Game 5 will be Sunday night in San Antonio at 8 P.M. ET.

Let CHARGED.fm get you San Antonio Spurs Tickets to the NBA Finals!


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