The three-point shot played a big role in this year’s NBA Finals – with San Antonio hitting a record number and Ray Allen saving Miami’s season with one in Game 6.
In Thursday’s title game, it was the Heat that was living beyond the arc – with mixed results.
When Miami hits those long shots, however, watch out.
Miami won its second straight championship Thursday by beating the Spurs 95-88 in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals – and did so with the help of a steady diet of threes.
The Heat ended up receiving some of its biggest shots, and a good portion of its scoring, from long range. Miami’s offense seemed content to pull up and shoot from outside instead of challenging the Spurs and their clogged up lane.
Miami ended up hitting 12 of 32 three-pointers Thursday – with its 24 attempts headed into the fourth just one shy of the most three-point attempts of this series. The Heat eased by that total early in the fourth.
Miami struggled to get into a rhythm from long distance, although there were times when it seemed the Heat couldn’t miss.
Shane Battier, benched during the Eastern Conference finals against Indiana amid a shooting slump (and because he faced difficult defensive matchups in the paint), found his shooting stroke at the perfect time Thursday night
Battier sank his first five three-point attempts – with his fifth coming early in the fourth to give Miami a four-point lead. He hit on four of five three-pointers in Miami’s Game 6 win Tuesday after going just 3 of 15 in the first five games of the series. He finished 6 of 8 from long range Thursday night.
“He was smart enough to know that sometimes it’s about matchups, things change,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Battier. “He’s so important to what we do; eventually he would get his chance again. When he did, he made the most of it.”
LeBron James, whom San Antonio allowed to shoot from the outside, fired up eight three-pointers through the opening three periods.
Going into the fourth quarter, James and Mario Chalmers had taken more three-point shots (14) than the rest of the Spurs (12).
In the opening half, James hit his first two three-pointers before banging his next two offerings off the rim.
When James pulled up and drilled one early in the third, the sold-out AmericanAirlines Arena crowd was alive and on its collective feet.
James later hit back-to-back three-point shots after the Spurs had taken the lead with 4:32 left in the third period. James ended connecting on 5 of 10 shots from beyond the arc.
Battier hit all three of his shots from downtown in the opening half and made it 4 for 4 by hitting one with 27 seconds left in the third period to temporarily tie the score.
“What a response from Battier,” ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy said after Battier’s shot in the third.