With Game 3 of the NBA Finals in the books, all eyes turn toward the next game in basketball’s ultimate showdown. While players like Tony Parker, Danny Green and Mike Miller are being praised for their contributions, both the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs have players that will need to step up if they expect to get their hands on the Larry O’ Brien Trophy.
The first of these players is also the most scrutinized, as reigning MVP LeBron James finds himself under fire once again.
A poor 7-21 shooting night from LeBron drew the wrath of his eager critics after Game 3. LeBron disappeared for stretches of the game, and most of his points came after the outcome was already decided.
However, look for LeBron to have another vintage, eye-opening performance in Game 4, as his block on Tiago Splitter may not be King James' only contribution to the highlight-reel this series.
The Heat will also need more of a contribution from starting point guard Mario Chalmers if they hope to climb back from the 2-1 deficit.
Chalmers was held scoreless in Game 3, which is troubling since the former Jayhawk averaged 8.6 points-per-game throughout the regular season. Chalmers also recorded four turnovers and one assist, making him a detriment to the team’s offense.
However, look for Chalmers to step up in Game 4, as the Heat can't rely on Mike Miller to pick up all of their role players' slack.
Miami will also need a greater contribution from three-point marksman Ray Allen if they hope to even the series.
Allen has a legendary jump shot, which has been a valuable weapon in Miami's arsenal. Allen benefits from the attention James and Wade draw, which can lead to some good looks from beyond the arc. However, Allen failed to launch a three in his last game, scoring only 4 points.
If the Heat hope to win, Allen will need to change the game with some hot shooting. Expect Allen to get more shots in Game 4.
For the Spurs, veteran Manu Ginobili has always been a key player.
As one of the Spurs’ Big Three, Ginobili has been obscured in the shadow of Duncan and Parker this series, contributing less than expected. Ginobili has only scored 25 points in the series’ three games, a total that will need to improve if the Spurs are to maintain their dominance.
Expect Ginobili to have more of a presence in the coming games, as the Spurs will need to rely on his production, especially if Tony Parker’s hamstring injury affects his overall play.
The Spurs may hold a 2-1 lead in the series, but look for Miami to come out angry like they did in Game 2. An injured Tony Parker, matched with a motivated Heat squad should make for an interesting Game 4, as the Heat look to bring the series back to South Beach.
Who do you think needs to step up next game? Discuss it in the comment box below!