MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat made their way into a hostile AT&T Center for Game 3 of the 2013 NBA Finals and quickly ran into a massive mauling at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, 113-77.
The Western Conference Champion Spurs wasted no time getting power forward Tim Duncan involved in the game with the first made shot. Duncan was looking for a breakout game against the Heat after he said he played awfully in Game 2.
The Spurs defense also immediately went to work clogging up the lane against the Heat’s Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Both players couldn’t get past the defense early and Miami’s shooters struggled to hit the rim early in the quarter.
The Heat started just 3-12 in the first six minutes before coming on in the final few minutes of the quarter. Miami was sparked by the sniper-like aim of Mike Miller who continued to shoot the lights out in the NBA Finals.
When Miller hit his first 3-point shot of the game, he improved to 12-14 over his last four games in the NBA Finals dating back to last year’s championship run.
Wade also started the game hot, scoring eight points in the first frame, leading all scorers.
As the first quarter came to an end, San Antonio led the Heat by a score of 24-20.
Miami started off cold in the second quarter and San Antonio increased the lead to 27-21 until the Heat’s Chris Bosh hit a jumper from the elbow to make score 27-23.
Heat then moved the ball around the court and Norris Cole drained a three-point shot from the corner off a perfect pass from Ray Allen.
The Spurs would go on to a 13-4 run over the next several minutes of the second quarter and open a 10 point lead with a little more than four minutes to go in the first half.
The story of the first half might have been the invisibility of James. In the first 21 minutes of the game, LeBron was 1-6 from the field, including 0-2 from behind the three-point-line, and had just two points.
LeBron finished the first half with just four points and was 1-7 from the field. James finished the Heat’s first half by getting his shot blocked with too much time on the clock and the Spurs converted it to a three-point shot and a 50-44 lead.
The Heat were noticeably sloppy with the ball during the first half with six turnovers, many of them leading to quick transition buckets for the Spurs.
But the biggest question for the Heat was would LeBron finally show up in the second half of the game to help Miami climb back into the contest. Miami never led in the first half and only briefly tied the game at 42 in the second quarter.
Wade led all Miami scorers with 10 points followed by Bosh who had 8 points in the first half. Miami shot just 41 percent from the field, but did hit 50 percent from behind the three-point line thanks to Mike Miller’s shooting (3-3 in half).
The Spurs were led in the first half by Gary Neal and Tim Duncan who had 11 and 10 points respectively.
Miami came out in the second half lethargic and not looking like they were into the game at all.
On the first play of the second half, LeBron James had the ball stolen before it could get to him in the low post. LeBron continued his poor play early in the third quarter and was just 2-8 after 28 minutes of the game.
The Spurs just wanted the game more in the beginning of the third quarter as they completely outhustled the Heat on one sequence where the ball almost went out of bounds twice before the Spurs got fouled on a layup.
The Heat were completely cold with two starters, Udonis Haslem and Mario Chalmers, shooting 0-7 for the field after 31 minutes of the game.
Miami’s Miller continued his hot shooting in the third quarter, but turnovers and poor shooting from the rest of the team doomed Miami at multiple times and the Heat couldn’t eat away at a Spurs lead that was in double-digits for most of the quarter.
James and Wade scored zero points through the first nine minutes of the third quarter and San Antonio quickly blew open a 73-52 lead with three minutes to go in the quarter.
No matter where James tried shots from on the court, he couldn’t get anything to fall against the Spurs’ tough defense.
On the flip side, Danny Green and Gary Neal of the Spurs couldn’t miss anything and combined for
LeBron finally got in the scoring column in the third quarter with a three pointer with just 90 seconds left in the quarter.
Looking at the Heat’s bench, the players were shell-shocked and looked exactly like the Spurs did during the Heat’s third quarter run in Game 2 on Sunday.
Then LeBron got rolling and outscored the Spurs 9-2 over the last 1:30 of the quarter.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Heat had some hope as LeBron began to show up, but still trailed by 15 points, 78-63.
But, just as quickly as the Heat closed the lead down to fifteen points, the hot shooting Gary Neal continued to torch what little defense the Heat could muster in the game. Neal had 24 points early in the fourth quarter and was 6-9 from behind the three-point line.
Miami quickly faltered in the early fourth quarter to go down by 23 points, 86-63.
Things only got worse from there as Neal continued hitting big shots and the Spurs went on a 8-3 run to extend the lead to 94-71 with a little less than 8 minutes to go in the game.
The Spurs had an NBA Finals record 15 three pointers after Danny Green hit a big shot with the shot clock winding down with just over 7 minutes to go in the game.
But as the clock ticked under six minutes to go the Heat’s Big Three of James, Bosh, and Wade combined to score 43 points while the duo of Neal and Green were 13-19 from behind the three-point line for 51 points.
As the clock ticked down, both Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra and Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich emptied their respective benches because the game was completely out of hand in favor of the Spurs.
James, the reigning NBA MVP, finished the game with 15 points on 7-21 shooting and never looked like he was in the game in what could only be described as a nightmare game for the Heat and its fans.
The Spurs also completely dominated the Heat in rebounding 52-33 in the game, including 19-9 on the offensive boards.
The final margin of victory was 113-77, which was the third largest blowout in NBA Finals history.
The Heat must now respond as the Spurs did after getting blown out by the Heat in Game 2. It needs a defensive effort and Chalmers and Udonis Haslem can’t combine to score 0 points in a game.
Miami played as poor of a game as they were capable of and against a team like San Antonio, that’s a recipe for disaster, and it was exactly that throughout this game.
The 2013 NBA Finals will continue with Game 4 in San Antonio on Thursday at 9 p.m.