The NBA Finals are the place for the biggest stars in the game to shine on the largest stage, but so far in 2013 some have come up short.
After three games, the San Antonio Spurs have a 2-1 lead over the Miami Heat thanks to a dominant 113-77 win in Game 3. The veteran squad can become an NBA champion by simply winning the next two games at home.
However, the Heat are simply not going away without a fight and it won't be surprising to see this hard-fought series go the distance. The only certainty is that a few players will have to step up their efforts to make it happen.
Here is a look at grades for the performances so far from each of the biggest names in the series.
Manu Ginobili, SG, San Antonio Spurs: C
There was a time when Manu Ginobili was a "bench player" in name only. He was averaging over 30 minutes per game and clearly earned his spot as part of the "Big Three" alongside Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
Unfortunately, this postseason has seen the guard assume not much more than a complementary role on the talented roster.
Ginobili has scored only 12 total points in the last two games and has clearly been passed by Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard in value to the team. During the postseason, the veteran has only hit 30.9 percent of his threes and his shot selection is getting worse.
The rest of the Spurs have been doing just fine in the playoffs, but the Argentine guard is not the player he once was.
Chris Bosh, C, Miami Heat: B+
Compared to his showing in the rest of the postseason, Chris Bosh has been outstanding in this series. After failing to reach double digits in any of the final four games against the Indiana Pacers, he has been much better against the Spurs.
In three games, Bosh is averaging 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds, including a double-double in each of the last two contests.
Although he is still not contributing as much as he is capable of on offense, his defensive efforts will be vital for the rest of the series. As long as he takes care of business on that end of the court, the Heat should be in decent shape.
Tony Parker, PG, San Antonio Spurs: A-
San Antonio could be in trouble if Tony Parker is unable to play in Game 4, as the Associated Press (via ESPN) is reporting that he strained his hamstring on Tuesday night. He has clearly been the most important player on the roster and has played extremely well so far in the series.
Game 1 was clearly the point guard's best performance, with 21 points, six assists, zero turnovers and one amazing shot with the clock running out to put the game out of reach.
The problem is that his production has dropped in the two most recent contests. The Spurs lost the second game thanks in part to five turnovers and a poor shooting display by Parker.
He has been solid in the team's two wins, but San Antonio will need more strong performances to close out this series.
Dwyane Wade, SG, Miami Heat: B-
It is clear that Dwyane Wade is hurt, so this needs to be taken in consideration when making a grade. That being said, he is still missing too many shots to help his team.
So far in this series, Wade has exactly as many points (43) as shots taken. This lack of efficiency has hurt the Heat. He is also not getting to the free-throw line enough, which does not help.
Fortunately, he is still giving the team plenty of production on the defensive end. Wade had four steals in the last game, which usually leads to transition points for this squad. He is also playing strong on-ball defense on anyone he guards.
The effort is there for Wade to help the team, but he is clearly not playing like one of the best players in the NBA. If the Heat are going to win, they will need the guard to at least come closer to resembling the player of old.
Tim Duncan, PF, San Antonio Spurs: A
Every time you think Tim Duncan is on the decline, he continues to impress on both ends of the court.
In the Spurs' two wins, he is averaging 16 points and 14 rebounds. He is not forcing the action on offense, but he has made the shots when he gets the ball.
While he did have a rough showing on offense in Game 2, when he went only 3-of-13 from the floor, he still contributed 11 rebounds in the loss. He is the type of player who will constantly help his team regardless of his actual numbers.
If he keeps up this level of play, it is tough to imagine the Spurs losing this series.
LeBron James, SF, Miami Heat: C+
This is only based on the standard that LeBron James has set for himself. Put his numbers from the series—including a triple-double in Game 1—next to any other player's name and they would be considered fantastic.
The problem is that we know James is capable of much more. After averaging 29 points per game against the Pacers, he has only scored 16.7 per game against the Spurs.
He made 51 percent of shots from the floor last round and 44.1 percent from three-point range. This series, he has dropped to 38.9 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from deep.
Even though his other numbers are up, the Heat need him to score points. James has settled for jump shots, which has led to worse looks and fewer opportunities at the free-throw line.
The MVP can get all the rebounds he wants, but Miami will not win this series if he does not score at a higher rate in the coming games.
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