SAN ANTONIO -- With LeBron James again scoring well below his norm, the Heat badly needed gems from his Big Three running mates on Tuesday.
Alas, neither Dwyane Wade nor Chris Bosh could deliver one in Game 3.
The two combined for just six points in the second half, and four of those (from Wade) came after the outcome had long since been decided.
“They came out in the third quarter and kicked our butt, and frustration started to set in,” Wade said.
Miami got the vintage version of Wade in the first half, but his excellence abruptly ended at halftime, and D-Wade unraveled in a dreadful second half, finishing with 16 points in the 113-77 loss.
Bosh crashed the boards for the second game in a row (10 rebounds) but was underwhelming offensively, attempting only two shots in the second half and scoring 12 for the night.
Wade looked like the Wade of old — not the old Wade — in a first half in which he filled the box score with 12 points, five assists and three steals.
But the second half was dismal for Wade: four points on 2 for 8 shooting and no assists. And Wade, among others, was scorched defensively by Danny Green, who scored 27 points, including 22 in the second half, and hit 7 of 9 three-pointers.
The idea of Green easily outscoring Wade over the first three games of an NBA Finals would seem hard to believe before this postseason. But Green has outscored Wade 56-43 in the series.
On Tuesday, Green gave Wade so much room on his jumper early in the game that Wade could have placed a couple of chairs between himself and Green. And that was understandable, considering Wade — in the postseason — entered shooting 29 percent on jumpers from 16 feet to the three-point line, and 43.2 percent on shots from 10 to 15 feet.
“[Spurs coach] Gregg Popovich knows when we get in the paint, we’re a very dangerous team,” Wade said. “I’m not mad at a lot of shots we got. We just have to step up and make them. We’re playing against one of the best defensive teams. We have to make them like those guys did.”
Wade didn’t merely settle for jumpers in the first half, despite the cushion. Of his five first half field goals, only one (a 16-footer) was a jumper. The others were dunks or layups.
But the 16-footer was the only jumper Wade hit all night. He didn’t hit rim on one mid-range attempt in the first half, and he missed three jumpers in the third quarter (11 feet, 10 feet, 16 feet), and missed from 19 feet and 10 feet to start the fourth quarter.
By the time Wade scored his first points of the second half — on a left-handed layup — the Heat was trailing 91-63 with 9:17 left in the game. Wade then hit a five-foot jumper, but by that point, it hardly mattered.
Wade got to the free throw line only twice, continuing a disturbing trend that has spanned most of these playoffs. Wade also had some defensive breakdowns on Green.
“We got away from some trust,” he said. “This was a terrible performance by the Miami Heat and we have to correct it.”
As for Bosh, his modest offensive contributions continue, at a most inauspicious time. After averaging 16.6 points during the regular season, Bosh hasn’t topped 13 points in seven playoff games in a row. Here are his point totals for the past seven: 7, 7, 5, 9, 12, 13 and 12.
“We did a decent job of getting into the paint, but we didn’t capitalize,” Bosh said. “They gave us a lot of different looks. We missed a lot of open shots.”
Bosh missed four jumpers in the first quarter, then another in the second. Several were in the range — 16 feet to the three-point line — where he was so reliable in the regular season (50.2 percent) but so erratic in the playoffs (38 percent).
The Heat entered having won 30 in a row in games when Bosh makes at least half his shots. He finished 4 for 10 in Game 3.
“We got what we deserved,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Every shot they wanted to get, they got. We did not disrupt them.”