The Big 3s for the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs have played a huge role in the 2013 NBA Finals to this point, and how they perform in Game 7 will determine the champion.
Tim Duncan. Tony Parker. Manu Ginobili.
Both conference champions have had a game plan throughout the series, and it’s revolved around those six players. They will be the six most important people in the city of Miami on Thursday night when the Heat and Spurs take the court.
The legacy of each Big 3 depends on the result of one 48-minute basketball game.
So, how will each team’s Big 3 perform in Game 7? Let’s take a look.
Miami Heat’s Big 3
It’s been mainly "The LeBron Show" for most of the NBA Finals, as Bosh and Wade haven’t been very consistent. Wade has only scored more than 20 points twice in the six games against the Spurs. Bosh has only scored more than 15 points twice, and he’s yet to score more than 20 points in one night.
LeBron, on the other hand, has heated up in the last three games.
The opening three games weren’t James’ top performances—scoring around 17 points per night. From Game 4 through Game 6, LeBron has scored at least 25 points in each, and recorded a triple-double in Miami’s Game 6 victory to tie the series at 3-3.
Miami’s Big 3 has shot the ball well overall throughout the series.
James is shooting 43.3 percent from the field, while Wade and Bosh are shooting 46.7 and 49.3 percent, respectively. All three will need to be just as accurate in Game 7, as every basket could determine whether Miami wins or losses the series.
James is a near lock to put at least 25 points on the scoreboard in Game 7. He has the potential to go off at any moment, as we saw in the fourth quarter of Game 6.
But Bosh and Wade need to have good performances as well. Scoring in the teens might not do the trick. LeBron can’t take down the Spurs all by himself.
James: 31 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists
Wade: 20 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists
Bosh: 18 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists
San Antonio Spurs’ Big 3
Duncan and Parker have led the Spurs throughout the series, along with some big contributions from Danny Green, Gary Neal and Kawhi Leonard. Ginobili is the third piece of the Spurs’ Big 3, but hasn’t made a consistent impact.
Duncan has been great against Miami, with the exception of an uncharacteristic nine-point performance in Game 2. "The Big Fundamental" has been very accurate from the field, hitting 50 percent of his shots in the last six games.
He did his best to seal the deal for the Spurs in Game 7, with 30 points and 17 rebounds, but his team came up just short.
Parker, meanwhile, is coming off a poor Game 6.
While he scored 19 points, he only made 6-of-23 shots from the floor in 43 minutes. Shooting 26.1 percent isn’t going to help any team win a championship. But overall, Parker has been fine shooting the ball. He’s finding the open man and scoring when he gets the opportunity to.
Ginobili has primarily come off the bench against the Heat, but did get the start in Games 5 and 6—his first starts of the entire season. Outside of a 24-point breakout in the fifth game of the series, Manu hasn’t contributed very much.
He’s scored less than 10 points in four of the six games. He has to score at least 10 on Thursday.
Duncan: 20 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist
Parker: 18 points, 2 rebounds, 9 assists
Ginobili: 15 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists
Miami vs. San Antonio
You can look at the graph above and think that Miami’s Big 3 has dominated San Antonio’s, but the numbers are a bit skewed. Ginobili hasn’t played as much as the other five players, and if he did, the numbers would be a bit closer. In other words, it’s comparing three starters to two starters and a bench player.
But those are how the two Big 3s have played throughout the series.
Both trios have had their ups and downs during the NBA Finals, but that’s beside the point now. Whichever trio has the better Game 7 should end up winning the title—the surrounding cast will obviously play a role too.
If LeBron or Duncan doesn’t play well, for example, that can change the game completely.
So, which Big 3 is going to help its team win a championship? Well, whether Ginobili starts or not, the Heat should still put up better numbers.
All six stars will play well overall, but Miami’s trio is more likely to score at least 60 total. Those 60-plus points will go a long way in determining which team comes out victorious in Game 7.
Miami’s Big 3: 69 points, 24 rebounds, 16 assists
San Antonio’s Big 3: 53 points, 18 rebounds, 14 assists