Miami Heat | The Big 3

San Antonio Spurs contain Miami Heat’s Big 3 to take NBA Finals lead

 

Miami’s best three players failed to live up to their billing, and the Heat must now win the next two at home to repeat.

bjackson@MiamiHerald.com

An attacking, aggressive Dwyane Wade again gave the Heat more than he could muster for much of these playoffs. But collectively, the Big Three — especially LeBron James — couldn’t replicate its Game 4 breakout.

James and Wade each scored 25 points in Game 5, but the perception of their nights differed, and justifiably so.

Wade was the more efficient player Sunday, dishing out 10 assists and finishing 10 for 22 from the field, with two blocks, a steal and four rebounds.

James, meantime, had a nightmarish second half, shooting 2 for 11 and closing 8 for 22 from the field. And in the first half, he didn’t make his usual impact in other facets of the game, going to halftime with one assist and no rebounds or steals.

Chris Bosh managed just six points and one rebound in the second half, and overall, Tim Duncan outscored him (17 to 16) and out-rebounded him (12 to 6).

The Big Three’s combined scoring total of 66 points was 19 off its output in Game 4. And unlike Game 4, none of the three could make enough of an imprint on this game defensively, each victimized at various times.

“Everyone was taking turns breaking down our defense,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Offensively, we weren’t very efficient.”

Danny Green, defended part of the game by Wade, scored 24, and James – who guarded an assortment of players – didn’t play at the level that allowed him to finish second in Defensive Player of the Year balloting.

“This is the kind of team that capitalizes on any mistake you make,” Wade said. “Danny Green is making shots – give him credit. We have to do a better job of knowing where their shooters are at all times. He got away from us a few times.”

Unlike the first three games of this series, James managed to top 20 points. But these felt like something of an empty 25. The biggest issue was his offensive inefficiency, surprising for a player that shot a career-high 56.5 percent this season.

He missed 8 of 9 shots during a lengthy stretch covering the entire third quarter and much of the fourth, including three misses – a 12-footer, a 5-footer and a layup -- during the Spurs’ 19-1 run to end the third and start the fourth. Boris Diaw did an especially effective job defending James.

After making a three-pointer 43 seconds into the second half, James didn’t hit another shot until a layup with 3:27 left in the game, and the Heat down 17. His misses included – among others -- two threes, a layup and a two other shots from short range.

And after the Heat cut the Spurs’ lead to 11 soon after, James was called for a foul on a moving screen, negating a Ray Allen three-pointer with 2:23 left.

That epitomized a frustrating night for James that included three missed layups, an airball on a four-footer, an inability to convert an alley-oop from Mario Chalmers (the pass was hardly perfect) and not a single rebound in the first half.

This was especially disappointing: James came up empty during both of the Spurs’ monster runs -- both the 19-1 second-half burst and a 22-7 first-half spurt, during which James shot 0 for 3.

James had only one dominant stretch in the game, and it was too brief: a nine-point tear late in the first half. He finished with eight assists, six rebounds and four steals, but also three turnovers.

“I missed a lob, I missed two layups in the same possession,” James said. “D-Wade missed a couple of layups. Those we aren’t worried about. Those are shots we normally make.”

Wade scored in double figures in the first half for the fifth time in this series (14 points) and scored or assisted on 14 of the Heat’s first 17 points.

He made four jumpers in the third quarter, ranging from 6 to 20 feet, keeping the Heat afloat, before shooting 1 for 4 in the fourth.

“There were a lot of mental mistakes we made tonight,” Wade said. “If we make those same mistakes again, it will be the same result.”

As for Bosh, he took only three shots in the second half, making all of them, but didn’t assert himself on the boards, or defensively, like he did in Game 4.

Unlike earlier in the playoffs, he did most of damage in the paint. Five of his seven baskets were layups, put-backs or dunks, and another was a three footer. His other was on a hook shot.

An attacking, aggressive Dwyane Wade again gave the Heat more than he could manage for much of these playoffs. But collectively, the Big 3 — especially LeBron James — couldn’t replicate its Game 4 gem in Sunday night’s 114-104 loss.

James and Wade each scored 25 points, but the perception of their nights differed dramatically, and justifiably so.

Wade was the more efficient player, dishing out 10 assists and finishing 10 for 22 from the field, with two blocks, a steal and four rebounds.

James, meantime, didn’t play to MVP standards by any measure. He had a nightmarish second half, shooting 2 for 11 and closing 8 for 22 from the field. And in the first half, he didn’t make his usual impact in other facets of the game, going to halftime with one assist and no rebounds or steals.

Chris Bosh managed just six points and one rebound in the second half, and overall, Tim Duncan outscored him (17 to 16) and outrebounded him (12 to 6).

The Big Three’s combined scoring total of 66 points was only nine off their output in Game 4. But unlike Game 4, none of the three could make a big enough imprint on this game defensively, each victimized at various times.

“Everyone was taking turns breaking down our defense,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Offensively, we weren’t very efficient.”

Danny Green, who opened opposite Wade, scored 24, and James — who guarded an assortment of players — didn’t play at the level that allowed him to finish second in Defensive Player of the Year balloting.

Unlike the first three games of this series, James managed to top 20 points. But these felt like something of an empty 25. The biggest issue was his offensive inefficiency, surprising for a player who shot a career-high 56.5 percent this season.

He missed 8 of 9 shots during a lengthy stretch covering the entire third quarter and much of the fourth, including three misses of makeable shots during the Spurs’ 19-1 run to end the third and start the fourth. Boris Diaw did an especially effective job defending James.

After making a three-pointer 43 seconds into the second half, James didn’t hit another shot until a layup with 3:27 left in the game, and the Heat down 17. His misses included — among others — two threes, a layup and a two other shots from short range.

And after the Heat cut the Spurs’ lead to 11 soon after, James was called for a foul on a moving screen, negating a Ray Allen three-pointer with 2:23 left.

That epitomized a frustrating night for James that included three missed layups, an airball on a four-footer, an inability to convert an alley-oop from Mario Chalmers (the pass was hardly perfect) and not a single rebound in the first half.

James came up empty during both of the Spurs’ monster runs, including shooting 0 for 3 during the Spurs’ 22-7 spurt that gave them a 15-point lead in the first half.

James had only one dominant stretch in the game, and it was too brief: a nine-point tear late in the first half. He finished with eight assists, six rebounds and four steals, but also three turnovers.

Wade scored in double figures in the first half for the fifth time (14 points) and scored or assisted on 14 of the Heat’s first 17 points. But he missed three shot during a 22-7 run that put the Spurs up 15.

He snapped out of that and closed the second quarter with a short jumper, a put-back on his own miss, and a nifty 12-foot floater.

He then made four jumpers in the third quarter, ranging from 6 to 20 feet, keeping the Heat afloat, before shooting 1 for 4 in the fourth.

As for Bosh, he shot an airball during that Spurs’ second quarter spurt and couldn’t particularly slow Duncan. But unlike earlier in the playoffs, he did most of damage in the paint. Five of his seven baskets were layups, put-backs or dunks, and another was a three footer. His other was on a hook shot.

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