Less than 24 hours after the San Antonio Spurs' 113-77 thumping of the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, both teams are already looking at what needs to change heading into Game 4 on Thursday night.
Here is a look at two changes both the Heat and the Spurs need to make for Game 4:
The Heat need to make perimeter defense a priority
There is an old idiom that says, “When it rains, it pours.” Tuesday night inside the AT&T Center, there was a full-blown Jim Cantore-style monsoon.
The Spurs set an NBA Finals record by knocking down 16 three-pointers in a 36-point rout of the Heat. Miami was slow to react when the ball was flung out to the perimeter.
If the Heat want to see a sixth game in South Beach, they will have to protect the three-point line or it could be lights out for the city of Miami.
Miami needs to grab more defensive rebounds
It’s no secret the Heat are a poor rebounding team. Miami often sacrifices second chance shots as a result of its smaller lineups.
Game 3 was no different. San Antonio grabbed 19 offensive rebounds—10 more than Miami—and attempted 12 more field goals.
As evidence by the three-point exhibition Gary Neal and Danny Green put on, the Spurs can't be given any extra chances to knock down shots.
Someone needs to put a hand in Mike Miller’s face
In a series of inconsistencies for Miami, Mike Miller remains as one of the only constants.
The Heat’s sharp shooter hit all five three-pointers he attempted in Game 3 and is shooting a blistering 90 percent from distance against the Spurs.
Miller, by himself, will not beat San Antonio on any given night. However, he continues to get clean looks at the basket, often finding room as the trailer in transition plays. The Spurs will need to account for Miller every time he touches the ball and close out completely on him to avoid getting burned.
The Spurs need to improve their free throw shooting
If there was one discerning stat for Spurs fans Tuesday night, it was the free throw shooting. San Antonio hit on only 11 of 19 free throw attempts in Game 3.
The Spurs had the third-best team free throw percentage during the regular season, shooting 79.1 percent as a team. That number has dipped to 75.3 percent in the postseason and in the NBA Finals, it has declined to 70.5 percent.
The Spurs are still making trips to the charity stripe, but they are not converting as many as they should be. If Game 4 is as close as Game 1 was, free throw shooting could prove to be the difference.
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