The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

5 things to watch in Game 4 of the NBA Finals matchup between San Antonio and Miami

  • Print

MIAMI - The Spurs are old.

Tim Duncan is 38, Manu Ginobili is 36, Tony Parker is the youngster in San Antonio's star trio at 32.

Though it's still their team, soon it will belong to Kawhi Leonard, who was 6 when Duncan played his first game with San Antonio and won't turn 23 until later this month.

Leonard already has the quintessential San Antonio qualities down pat: Show up, work hard, play hard, win often, don't say much, call it a day.

His star shone brightest in Game 3 of the finals against the Miami Heat on Tuesday with a 29-point breakout. And after that win, the Spurs will try to take a 3-1 series lead when the matchup resumes Thursday in Miami.

"I don't think you're ever going to get him to sit down and expound on a whole lot of things," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He just wants to do his job. He wants to be a great player and go home. That's basically who he is."

It's still hard to believe Leonard wasn't exactly burdened by huge expectations when joining the Spurs.

"I just knew I wasn't going to get the ball right away or just be a focal point with these great players on the team," Leonard said. "But now I just try to play my game and go out there and be aggressive."

He'll be a focal point of the Miami defensive plan on Thursday. And here's five other things to know going into Game 4 of the NBA Finals:

___

MUST WIN FOR MIAMI: Miami's season cannot end Thursday. But if the Heat lose Game 4, the Spurs can safely go ahead and order that fifth championship banner. Only eight teams in NBA history have successfully rallied from 3-1 deficits, and none of those eight did it during the finals.

IMPROVING SPURS? Not many teams could open a game 19 for 21 from the field, beat a two-time defending NBA champion by 19 points on the road in a finals matchup, then say they have to do better — and mean it. Such is life with the Spurs. Manu Ginobili said the Spurs saw "many mistakes" on the tape of Game 3. "The thing is that we masked it with making so many shots. ... So the mistakes you made kind of faded away," Ginobili said.

THE HEAT STREAK: For whatever reason, losses bring out the best in the Heat at playoff time. Miami has won its last 13 games immediately following a defeat in the post-season, the most recent of those victories coming in Game 2 of this series. Those 13 wins have come by an average of 14.4 points, and six of them have been absolute blowouts of 18 points or more.

SCORING SPURS: When San Antonio won its first NBA title, the Spurs had exactly two games of 100 points or more in that post-season run. They have 14 already in these playoffs, going 12-2 in those games. When not scoring at least 100 so far in this post-season, the Spurs are a mere 2-5.

HOT HEAT: Miami is shooting 49.8 per cent so far in these playoffs, putting the Heat on pace for the best post-season field-goal percentage since Orlando shot 49.9 per cent in 1996. Among teams that won at least one series, the last to shoot better than 50 per cent in a post-season was the 1991 Chicago Bulls, who connected on 51.4 per cent of their shots on the way to Michael Jordan's first championship.

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

Tree remover has special connection to Grandma Elm

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Down the Hatch- A pelican swallows a fresh fish that it caught on the Red River near Lockport, Manitoba. Wednesday morning- May 01, 2013   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A nesting goose sits on the roof of GoodLife Fitness at 143 Nature Way near Kenaston as the morning sun comes up Wednesday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 07- Web crop-May 09, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How surpised are you by the Bombers’ 4-1 start to the season?

View Results

Ads by Google