The San Antonio Spurs rolled into Miami with a point to prove, and boy did they deliver. After gifting Miami a road victory in Game Two, Gregg Popovich’s men were faced with the tough task of winning at the American Airlines Arena. After two outstanding performances, Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs to the impossible; successive road wins in Miami.
The destination of this year’s Larry O’Brien Championship trophy looks a lot clearer this morning. A lesson in ball movement from Tony Parker and co. saw the Spurs steamroll Miami in their own back yard with a 107-86 win over the defending NBA Champions. This means the Spurs take a mammoth 3-1 lead back to Texas.
Three-peat? Think again.
No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit. LeBron James is a record breaker, but not even the self-proclaimed King can turn this one around. It was the first time Miami had lost back-to-back postseason games since the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals.
The Heat were over reliant on LeBron and ultimately this was their downfall. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for just 22 points on 8 of 24 shooting. To put this into perspective, Patty Mills and Danny Green combined for more (23). So much for the Big Three.
It was a historic night for Tim Duncan as he became the all-time leader for NBA Playoff double-doubles. He also passed Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most minutes played in NBA history.
Tim Duncan is now the all-time double-doubles leader in NBA Playoffs history. pic.twitter.com/qKr889uJFT
— ESPN (@espn) June 13, 2014
While Duncan was relatively effective with his 10 points and 11 rebounds, Kawhi Leonard was undoubtedly the star of the show.
The 22-year-old Californian matched LeBron (28 points) throughout and finished the night with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
Leonard continues to grow in confidence and his impact on this series cannot be overstated.
If Game Three was a career night for Kawhi, Game Four marked him out as the new leader of the Spurs franchise.
Tim Duncan, for so long the flame that has ignited this famous franchise, is ready to step aside. There’s white smoke coming from the San Antonio conclave; a new leader has been chosen.
Kawhi Leonard is about to win his first NBA Championship ring. It will not be his last.
Game Five is in San Antonio on Sunday.
Richard Barrett, Pundit Arena.