The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

5 things to watch in Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs

  • Print

MIAMI - The NBA Finals are back in Miami, the same place they ended each of the last three years.

Miami can put itself on the brink of a third straight championship with victories over San Antonio in Games 3 and 4, starting Tuesday night. The Heat are unbeaten at home in this year's playoffs and haven't lost a post-season game in their own building since the Spurs beat them in Game 1 of last year's NBA Finals.

Here are five things to watch in Game 3:

___

LOOKING FOR LEONARD: Kawhi Leonard is not only struggling to defend LeBron James, but hasn't been able to get his own game untracked. After averaging 14.6 points and shooting better than 50 per cent in the 2013 NBA Finals, Leonard has managed only 18 total points through two games. He was in foul trouble in Game 2 and was ineffective, scoring nine points on 3-of-9 shooting, and the Spurs are letting him know they need more.

"I don't think Kawhi got into the game," Tim Duncan said. "He was in foul trouble up and down and he was so worried about that, I think that kind of took him out of the game. We talked to him, got in his ear, and have him refocus no matter what happens on the defensive end of the floor. He's got to continue to be aggressive on the other end and make LeBron and those other guys work."

___

BOSH BLOSSOMING: Outside of the offensive rebound that set up Ray Allen's tying 3-pointer in Game 6, Chris Bosh was pretty disappointing in last year's finals.

He was scoreless in Game 7 and managed just 11.9 points per game while shooting less than 50 per cent, getting badly outplayed by Duncan. He scored 18 in both games in San Antonio, nailing the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:18 left in Game 2 but not settling for the 3 as he sometimes does. He also had a pair of driving dunks while getting fouled and made 59 per cent of his shots in the two games.

"With us, look, he's arguably our most important player. We've said that now for four years," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "And it's not just because of that shot. That's what everybody notices, and if he's not getting the normal opportunities, and he's not scoring, or doesn't have big rebound numbers, it seems from the outside everybody is so critical about his game. But for us, he has a lot on his plate."

___

THEY'RE FOR FREE: Free throws keep costing the Spurs against the Heat.

Tony Parker and Duncan combined to miss four straight in Game 2, preventing San Antonio from extending a two-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Spurs finished with eight misses in a game they lost by two.

The Spurs, who missed a chance to finish off the Heat when Leonard and Manu Ginobili each missed a free throw late in regulation in Game 6 last year, are shooting 69 per cent in the series. The Heat have made 78 per cent, with James, Bosh and Dwyane Wade combining to go 21 of 24.

"We were 12 for 20," Parker said after Game 2, "so we will try to do better next game."

___

HEAT AT HOME: The Heat are 8-0 at home in this year's playoffs and have won a franchise-record 11 straight here in the post-season since the Spurs beat them in Game 1 of the 2013 finals.

"It's a quick turnaround in Miami, not many days off," Wade said. "We've got to use our home crowd, our energy to our advantage."

Miami is 68-19 all-time (.782) at AmericanAirlines Arena during the post-season. Only the Lakers' .792 winning percentage at Staples Center is higher.

"You know you have to win on the road to win a championship," Parker said after Game 2. "And tonight we played a little bit better, got 11 turnovers, and we wanted to do that. On the road we're going to have to play even better."

___

GETTING THE POINT: The Heat are still waiting for a meaningful contribution from their point guards.

Starter Mario Chalmers has taken only seven shots and scored eight points thus far and was bothered by foul trouble in Game 1. Backup Norris Cole was scoreless in 11 minutes off the bench Sunday and is just 1 for 6 in the series. And neither one has had much successful guarding Parker, who is averaging 20 points.

But the Heat remain confident in all their players, never hesitating to give someone the ball even if he's struggling.

"When we do that, we just stick together and continue to motivate each other, good things happen," Bosh said.

___

Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Is that warranty worth it?

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060711 Chris Pedersen breeds Monarch butterflies in his back yard in East Selkirk watching as it transforms from the Larva or caterpillar through the Chrysalis stage to an adult Monarch. Here an adult Monarch within an hour of it emerging from the Chrysalis which can be seen underneath it.
  • Perfect Day- Paul Buteux walks  his dog Cassie Tuesday on the Sagimay Trail in Assiniboine Forest enjoying a almost perfect  fall day in Winnipeg- Standup photo – September 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How many wins do you think the Bombers will finish with this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google