The Miami Heat are in do-or-die territory after their nonexistent performance against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 of the 2013 NBA Finals. Although the Spurs hold a 2-1 series lead over the Heat, Game 4 could ultimately decide who takes control of the series.
With Game 4 set to tip off Thursday evening in San Antonio, both teams will without a doubt be ready to battle. Here are a few keys to victory for both squads heading into Game 4.
Miami Heat: LeBron Needs to Be Aggressive
For the Heat to win Game 4, LeBron James has to play like a four-time MVP.
LeBron James: 16.7 PPG in NBA Finals, 26.2 PPG in 1st 3 rounds this postseason— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 13, 2013
In the Heat’s 36-point demise in Game 3, LeBron was limited to just 7-of-21 shooting from the field and did not even attempt a free-throw in 39 minutes of action.
We have all seen what an aggressive LeBron can bring about for Miami.
Let’s just hope, for the Heat’s sake, that he is present Thursday night in San Antonio.
Chalmers and Cole Have to Be Efficient
In Game 3, Mario Chalmers scored zero points.
Cole did score 8 points, with the majority coming in “garbage time.”
Although they were no help for Miami, Chalmers and Cole did have a hand in San Antonio’s 20 points scored in transition, pitching in with 7 turnovers.
Chalmers and Cole have to step it up, or else they will be in for a very long summer.
San Antonio Spurs: Ball Movement Leads to Easy Buckets
Since head coach Gregg Popovich transformed the Spurs into an offensive-juggernaut a couple years ago, ball movement has been of prime importance.
If the Spurs are to win Game 4 and take control of their finals destiny, the ball movement we have been accustomed to from the Spurs will have to continue.
In game 3, the Spurs shot 48.9 percent from the field, registering 29 assists on the night.
When the Spurs are victorious, it is mainly due to Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker working the drive-and-kick to perfection. Doing so creates space for Danny Green, Gary Neal and Kawhi Leonard to put in work from the perimeter.
San Antonio's Guards Have to Be Stellar
With Tony Parker dealing with a right hamstring strain, Ginobili, Neal and Green have to continue their fine form in Game 4 for the Spurs to achieve victory.
If Parker does play Thursday evening, it will be difficult for him to easily penetrate through the Miami Heat defense like he has all series.
Thus, Ginobili and Neal will have the joint-responsibility of creating opportunities for the Spurs.
When Manu aggressively attacks going left, it is almost impossible to guard. After Game 3, he definitely knows that.
Green and Neal were amazing in Game 3, shooting a combined 13-of-19 from downtown.
If Ginobili, Green and Neal continue to work in unison with each other, San Antonio will be one step closer to championship gold.
Game 4 of the 2013 NBA Finals is a must-win for both San Antonio and Miami. Whoever comes out victorious Thursday night may be the one celebrating in the end.
Both squads know how important the moment is. We’ll just have to wait and see who delivers in the end.