San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat: Game 3 Grades and Analysis

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San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat: Game 3 Grades and Analysis
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After surrendering home-court advantage in Game 2, the San Antonio Spurs regained control of the NBA Finals with a 111-92 victory over the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena Tuesday.

San Antonio now leads the series 2-1.

The Spurs jumped out to a huge first-half lead, behind a record-breaking shooting performance. They hit an absurd 25-of-33 from the field in the first two quarters.

Miami was able to cut the lead back down to single digits in the second half, but simply ran out of gas trying to overcome the huge deficit.

Key Player Grades: San Antonio Spurs

 

Tony Parker, Point Guard

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Parker was one of the only players who couldn't get going in San Antonio's red-hot first half, and he remained relatively cool for the rest of the game.

He appeared to be hit on several of his drives, and as a result, he failed to put in any of his trademark wild finishes at the rim.

Parker's struggles also had a lot to do with the fact LeBron James was defending him for much of the game, and the Spurs' point guard had a hard time adjusting to that size and length.

He finished the game 4-of-10 from the field for 15 points, to go along with four assists.

Grade: B-

 

Tim Duncan, Center/Power Forward

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After two vintage performances in San Antonio, Duncan was finally slowed down a bit by the Heat in the first game in Miami.

Every Heat defender that found himself matched up with Duncan in the post seemed to have been schooled on his interior moves, as Duncan was stripped more than once turning to the rim. He finished the game with four turnovers.

His shooting performance was solid again, though. He wound up 4-of-7 from the field for 14 points.

He also did a decent job defending Chris Bosh, who shot 100 percent from the field, but was limited to just four attempts, thanks in large part to Duncan's D.

Grade: B

 

Kawhi Leonard, Small Forward

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Leonard was as bad in Games 1 and 2 as Duncan was good.

So with Duncan struggling a bit in Game 3, naturally Leonard stepped up. And by stepped up, I mean absolutely smash blasted the Heat in the first half.

After two quarters, Leonard had a game-high 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting. He would finish with 29 on 10-of-13.

Add to that the fact he had to expend tons of energy on the other end trying to contain James, and Leonard's offensive performance is even more impressive.

Grade: A+

 

Danny Green, Shooting Guard

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Green was about as hot as Leonard in the first half, and surprisingly he did most of his damage inside the three-point line.

What makes that even more out of the ordinary is the way he got those two-point buckets. The catch-and-shoot three-point specialist scored four times off the dribble and finished with runners and contested layups. For at least one game, he looked more like a slasher on his way to 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting.

On top of that, Green was his typically stellar self on the other end. He didn't do a great job of stopping Dwyane Wade, but his five steals were huge for momentum.

Grade: A+

 

Boris Diaw, Power Forward

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The adjustment to start Diaw over Tiago Splitter was overdue, and it was critical in countering Miami's Rashard Lewis lineup and getting the victory.

Lewis spreads the floor in a way that makes the Splitter/Duncan frontcourt look lead-footed. Diaw has the ability to defend the perimeter and completely negates that advantage.

His box score numbers of nine points, five rebounds and three assists may not look huge, but his presence and his game-high plus-minus of plus-20 was.

Grade: B+

 

Manu Ginobili, Shooting Guard

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Ginobili had a relatively quiet game, but still managed to hit double figures, as he finished the game with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting.

He just didn't provide that spark we're used to seeing from him off the bench, and it almost looked like his being on the floor inspired confidence in Wade. When Ginobili was on him, Wade pretty much scored at will.

Grade: B-

 

Bench

Without Diaw, San Antonio's bench certainly had a little less punch, but Patty Mills and Tiago Splitter still provided solid contributions.

As always, Mills went after loose balls with more hustle and intensity than anyone on the floor. He tapped one away from the Heat and to Ginobili for a dunk in the fourth quarter that helped sway momentum in San Antonio's favor.

He also hit a nice little floater in the second half when it looked like Miami was on its way back into the game. He finished with five points and four assists.

As for Splitter, he was solid on the interior in the 16 minutes he played, finishing with six points and four rebounds.

Grade: B

 

Key Player Grades: Miami Heat

 

LeBron James, Small Forward/Power Forward

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James did his best to counter the start of Kawhi Leonard, scoring 14 of his 22 points in the first frame. Even with that effort, the Spurs won the first quarter 41-25.

And then LeBron really didn't do much after that. He scored just eight points over the last three quarters, as he couldn't get himself going against the stingy defense of Leonard.

James did do a solid job of distributing, though. He finished with a game-high seven assists.

Grade: B

 

Dwyane Wade, Shooting Guard

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Like LeBron, Wade was solid as a scorer, putting up 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting. But he wasn't able to provide much else defensively, as a playmaker or anywhere else.

Despite the fact he outscored Green by seven points, the eye test would tell you the Spurs guard won the battle of the shooting guards based on impact alone.

Wade was good, but he'll have to be able to provide more going forward, especially if James isn't having a monster performance like he did in Game 2.

Grade: B

 

Chris Bosh, Power Forward

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He may have made every shot he took, but Bosh was pretty much non-existent for the Heat. He played 34 minutes and finished with just nine points and three rebounds.

With Diaw starting in the frontcourt, Duncan was pretty much exclusively assigned to Bosh, and Miami's pseudo center couldn't get free for many looks.

If he's not scoring, he's almost a drag on the team due to his unwillingness to rebound and his inability to make an impact as an interior defender.

Grade: C-

 

Mario Chalmers, Point Guard

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Chalmers' Finals performance has been utterly disastrous. After scoring 8 points on 3-of-7 shooting in the first two games, he went 0-of-5 for two points Tuesday.

A couple of his shots were open and in the flow of the offense, which is fine. When he got into trouble is when he forced the issue, as he inexplicably did on this play.

Chalmers also can't defend Parker, which is why LeBron spent so much time on that matchup. That leaves Chalmers on Leonard, and we see how well that went.

Grade: F

 

Rashard Lewis, Power Forward/Small Forward

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Lewis continues to defy logic in this postseason run he's having. He put in another performance that was reminiscent of his days in Orlando (not quite Seattle), as he scored 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 4-of-5 from three-point range.

The adjustment by Popovich to start Diaw was huge, but it seemed to impact Bosh more than Lewis.

Grade: B+

 

Ray Allen, Shooting Guard

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Allen matched Ginobili's scoring output with 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting, but with the exception of a second-half three that came during one of Miami's mini-runs, he didn't really do anything that stood out.

With the way San Antonio was shooting, Miami needed a little more firepower to keep pace. Allen may have to provide that in future games.

Grade: C+

 

Bench

Chris Andersen and Norris Cole were the only other reserves to get much playing time for the Heat.

Andersen grabbed five rebounds and scored three points in 20 minutes, while Cole scored eight on 3-of-9 shooting in 18 minutes.

Once again, even with Diaw out of the equation, Miami's second unit was thoroughly outplayed by San Antonio's.

Grade: D-

 

What's Next?

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The Spurs really don't need to make many adjustments for Game 4. If they move the ball the way they did Tuesday, and Leonard remains aggressive, they should give themselves a chance to win.

As for the Heat, they have to go back to the drawing board, especially on defense. San Antonio got one wide-open look after another, and Erik Spoelstra may need to look to some other players on his bench who are more willing to defend.

Game 4 is set for Thursday, June 12 at 9 p.m. ET.

 

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewDBailey.

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