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Spurs take 3-1 lead with 107-86 victory over Heat

Spurs 'Deserve To Be Champions'

BY BRIAN MAHONEY
AP BASKETBALL WRITER

MIAMI (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs have three more chances to grab the championship trophy that slipped away last year.

The way they're dominating the Miami Heat, they might need just one.

Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and 14 rebounds, and the Spurs routed the Heat again, winning 107-86 on Thursday night to open a commanding 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

The Spurs can win their fifth NBA championship with a victory at home in Game 5 on Sunday and avenge their seven-game loss to Miami last year. And if the Heat are going to deny them again, it will take the biggest comeback in NBA Finals history.

"I'm pleased that they performed as well as they did while we've been in Miami, and that's about as far as it goes," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Now we've got to go back home and play as well or better."

LeBron James tried to keep the Heat in it with 28 points and eight rebounds, but Dwyane Wade was just 1 of 10 through three quarters and finished with 10 points.

No team has overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals, and the way they were outclassed twice on their home floor makes it hard to imagine the two-time champions being the first.

"This was probably the biggest surprise of the series," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Tony Parker added 19 points, and Tim Duncan had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who shot 57 percent from the field.

The Spurs lost twice in Miami to end last year's finals, their only defeat in the championship round. They won their two games in South Florida this time by a combined 40 points.

If this was the last home game of the season in Miami, it looked and sounded nothing like the ones to end the last two years, which featured confetti falling and trophies raised. This one had the unfamiliar sound of boos late in the first half and a chant of "Go Spurs Go!" with under 3 minutes left from the San Antonio fans who remained long after many of Miami's had bolted.

If the Heat force a Game 6, it would be in Miami Tuesday.

The Heat had followed their last 13 postseason losses with a victory, but at the end of a fourth straight season that went the distance, they might be out of gas. Miami seemed to lack the energy - or maybe effort - to defend San Antonio's precision ball movement for the full 24 seconds, and time after time the Spurs ended up with a shot from somebody who didn't have a defender nearby.

Not quite as sharp as when they shot a finals-record 75.8 percent in the first half Tuesday night, the Spurs were still plenty good enough to open another huge lead by halftime, and they withstood every attempt Miami made to make a run.

"We were expecting a reaction from them but we were ready for it, so we just did the same thing," Spurs forward Boris Diaw said.

The Spurs knew their defense had to be better, realizing their once-in-a-lifetime, 19-for-21 start in Tuesday's 111-92 Game 3 victory covered the fact that they allowed Miami to make more than 50 percent in the game.

The defense was definitely improved in the first half, holding Miami to 12 of 34 (35 percent).

The Spurs missed their first three shots after needing 22 attempts to miss three times Tuesday. They quickly got untracked from there, running off a 13-2 spurt to open a nine-point lead, and that was the margin when they went to the second ahead 26-17.

San Antonio got the first five of the second to make it 31-17 on Danny Green's 3-pointer, and the Spurs blew it open later in the quarter with seven straight points, capped by Leonard's soaring follow dunk that made it 55-33.

It was another rough start for James, who battled cramps in Game 1, then left the court and briefly returned to the locker room midway through the first quarter Thursday.

He had 10 quick points in the third quarter to bring Miami within 13, but San Antonio got a basket from Duncan to start a 7-0 run that pushed it to 68-48. The Spurs poured it on late in the third, pushing the lead to 81-57.

Notes: Under Popovich, the Spurs have won 15 of the 18 best-of-seven series in which they led 2-1. ... The Heat hadn't lost back-to-back games in the playoffs since dropping three straight against the Boston Celtics in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals.

Join the discussion

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deepwthin June 13 2014 at 12:45 AM

At least the Spurs play as a team and not a 1 man show like somebody on the miami Good job Spurs

Flag Reply +36 rate up
13 replies
groovy3130 June 13 2014 at 1:35 AM

The last 2 games LeBron's arrogance has been quieted down. Have not seen the
imposing stare he displays after a big dunk. Now he is chewing his fingernails on the
bench. Even Bosh is chewing too. And Wade continues his usual dropping on the
floor everytime he drives. That could be the last home game of the season for Miami.

Flag Reply +33 rate up
3 replies
cinamon200 June 13 2014 at 1:03 AM

Who are these people?! I knew the Spurs were a good team but the level and intensity of the way they've played in the last two games is unbelievable! Kawhi Leonard is amazing!!!! I will say it again. Kawhi Leonard is amazing! The entire team gets kudos for excellent ball movement! I can't even keep track of who has the ball at times! True champions play like this. As much as I would like to see these teams go at it for longer, I hope the Spurs close it out on Sunday night.

Flag Reply +23 rate up
5 replies
Taxi Talk June 13 2014 at 4:00 AM

I had Tim Duncan in the cab... GREAT guy, GREAT tipper !!! ;)

Lebron... uh... er ... um

Flag Reply +18 rate up
1 reply
ameliabelladonna Taxi Talk June 13 2014 at 10:33 AM

Awesome!! :-D

Flag Reply +1 rate up
sutt202 June 13 2014 at 3:30 AM

I really like the Heat. But they've won two in a roll and their heads have gotten too swollen. This year it's the Spurs turn. And so far Leonard is my pick for MVP. Just maybe they should give MVP to the whole team. They really are playing as a TEAM. The way they are suppose to.

Flag Reply +17 rate up
5 replies
accordmee June 13 2014 at 12:56 AM

One more game. Go Spurs!

Flag Reply +15 rate up
1 reply
fdebonisusa accordmee June 13 2014 at 8:34 AM

LeBron should drink more SPRITE or switch to Pepsi

Flag Reply 0 rate up
3 replies
brianohorner June 13 2014 at 1:39 AM

Where do the Heat go from here? HOME!!!! Buh bye now!! Lebron is NO MJ That's for sure!! MJ NEVER lost in the finals and if the Spurs hadn't handed it to them last year, Lebron would be facing FOUR losses in the finals!!

Flag Reply +13 rate up
7 replies
leeprnce47 June 13 2014 at 1:03 AM

I think its over for the Heat, stick a ford in them,they are roasted and done.

Flag Reply +10 rate up
9 replies
hugh4u2 June 13 2014 at 6:50 AM

Wheres the heat fans this morning lmao, they like to run their big mouths all the time, all i seen was a bunch of fairweather fans leaving minutes befir the last 2 games were over. spoiled cry baby players and spoiled cry baby fans awwww wait till queeen james moves ON.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
2 replies
C sizzle hugh4u2 June 13 2014 at 8:53 AM

I'm a indiana pacer fan and woah this year, they left me in shcok how poorly they played. But since I moved in miami all I have heard is heat we the best and ppl who don't know english or bball.. Sad how everything crumbles and the bandwagon is flipping over to spurs. The only good outlook I see if lebron leaves this year my pacers could make a final but beat a west team i'm asking too much. Just being realistic. Now A shout out to all my heat fans in spanish que paso, hacer calor o el equipo es tremenda mierda. lol.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
latjo1234 C sizzle June 13 2014 at 9:55 AM

the spurs have guys with ther head on. they buy into pops system. passing passing passing getting involve involve no resting on offense which exhausted the heat on defense . just broke them apart. they had no fuel for offense. pops way indiana was good when taking this approach but too many wanted to be superstars didnt think about what was going to lead them to a championship

Flag +2 rate up
Paul C sizzle June 13 2014 at 11:34 AM

"People who don';t know english" that was priceless. Sizzle , meet mirror.

Flag 0 rate up
davedoe12 hugh4u2 June 13 2014 at 2:54 PM

And who was the cry baby players and fans last year? LMAO the Spurs deserve to have lost that series last year, for playing too cocky. Good for the Heat for stealing the championship away :) And I don't care for the Heat at all. Just stating a fact. I personally feel that NBA games are FIXED. The more games they play, the MORE $$$$$ the NBA, owners, players, hotels, restaurants, etc make.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Jimbo Franks June 13 2014 at 1:21 AM

laughing at all these lebron videos. hahahahah
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olIVNlhoXR0

Flag Reply +8 rate up
1 reply
slowe5steve Jimbo Franks June 13 2014 at 11:37 AM

not over till they win 4 lj greatest we could see history in making..

Flag Reply 0 rate up
2 replies
davedoe12 slowe5steve June 13 2014 at 2:57 PM

I hope so, so, they can send the Spurs players to retirement LMAO. I will take Karl Malone OVER Tim any day. Tim should retire after this series. He is too old and too slow. Parker is smart by retiring after this series. He has a great game, but, there is life after the NBA.

Flag 0 rate up
mac0386mac slowe5steve June 13 2014 at 3:28 PM

The Spurs still have more class than the Heat and the Spurs are not going to let the championship title slip away this time. We will win game 5 at home and it is impossible for the heat to win this year b because we have home court advantage and when we do we have won every championship at home. The heat can't handle our offense and Defense. Sorry but if the Spurs play like they did in games 3 and 4 on Sunday it is over for the heat.

Flag 0 rate up
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