SAN ANTONIO -- The Heat finished in the upper half of the league in three-point field goal percentage defense this season, but San Antonio’s Danny Green – and to a lesser extent, Gary Neal – are tormenting Miami from beyond the arc during these Finals.
The Spurs, who ranked fourth in three-point accuracy during the regular season, are shooting 44.2 percent on threes in this series. That’s well above the 35 percent that Miami allowed during the season, which ranked 11th.
Green is shooting an absurd 65.8 percent on threes (25 for 38) during this series, and Neal has made 12 of 24.
What’s more, the Spurs’ 50 three-pointers are just two short of the NBA Finals record for most threes in a series of any length. The Celtics hit 52 against the Lakers in 2008.
“Danny is playing great – I can’t believe he’s still open at this moment of the series,” point guard Tony Parker said. “They are still trapping me and doubling [ Tim Duncan], and Danny is wide open.”
According to ESPN, 24 of Green’s 38 three-point attempts in the series have been open looks. Green has made 18 of 24 threes when he wasn’t tightly defended, and 7 of the 14 contested threes.
“Give him credit – he’s knocking them down,” Dwyane Wade said. “He’s also getting some stuff in transition. And he’s the beneficiary of Tony Parker’s penetration. We do have to do a better job, like we did in Game 4, of knowing where the shooters are at all times.”
Green already has broken the NBA record for most three-pointers in a Finals and stands just three short of equaling the overall record for most three-pointers in any playoff series of any length. That mark is held by the Heat’s Ray Allen (for Milwaukee in 2001) and Dennis Scott (for Orlando in 1995).
“That will be something we have to correct,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Got to do it hard and be more committed. The open looks are the ones that are killing us.”
Green said he is surprised he’s getting some uncontested shots.
“Tony, Timmy and [ Manu Ginobili] are doing a great job of sucking in the defense,” he said. “Right now, everything is working for me. I’m feeling truly blessed.”
• Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, asked if Green’s evolution as a player reminds him of former Heat and ex-Spurs forward Bruce Bowen: “They don’t really dribble or do anything. They just shoot it. So in that sense, they are kind of similar.”
Ginobili’s start for the Spurs in Game 5 was his first since the Western Conference Finals against Oklahoma City last June.
According to ESPN, this was the first time since Marcus Camby in 1999 that a player started in the Finals after not starting a game during the regular season or earlier in the playoffs.
“I had a better game, but I’m not sure it was just because I started,” said Ginobili, whose 24 points were just six short of his total for the first four games. “I attacked better, got to the free throw line a little more [eight times], and those things got me going.”
Duncan said Ginobili seemed “dejected” by his play earlier in the series. His 10 assists Sunday were the most by a Spurs player in this series.
• The Spurs are 14-2 in potential series-clinching games played on the road since the start of the 2002-03 postseason, according to ESPN. The rest of the NBA is 61-75 in that time span.
“We’ve been in situations like this,” Duncan said. “We’ve been together for a long time. I think every one of us wants this very badly from the top on down.”
• Kawhi Leonard said defending LeBron James has been “fun” and he doesn’t care in the least whether he has earned James’ respect.
• Among the things the Heat won’t miss about the AT&T Center: the irritating flies that exasperated Udonis Haslem, among others, during on-court media sessions.