Kawhi Leonard emerges from slumber with a career-best outing as Spurs trounce Heat

Posted: 06/10/2014 in basketball
Tags: , , , , , , ,

That was quite a statement the San Antonio Spurs made while cruising to a convincing 111-92 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

San Antonio opened Tuesday’s game by making 19-of-21 shots and actually reached 50 points before the Heat made it to 30. The Spurs led by as many as 25, held off a Miami charge, and kicked it back into gear in the final quarter.

Kawhi Leonard scored a career-best 29 points on 10-of-13 shooting to pace the Spurs and Danny Green contributed 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting. San Antonio shot 59.4 percent overall while putting on a shooting clinic. (See stellar recap here – http://sltrib.sportsdirectinc.com/basketball/nba-boxscores.aspx?page=/data/NBA/results/2013-2014/recap882692.html).

Miami lost a home playoff game for the first time this postseason and you would have thought the Heat were playing in somebody else’s building while digging the huge deficit. LeBron James scored 22 points but 14 of them came in the first quarter.

The Heat will attempt to tie the series in Thursday’s Game 4. It should be noted Miami trailed last season’s series 2-1 also before winning three of the next four to claim the title.

Some other thoughts:

–Miami has won 13 consecutive postseason games following a loss and the impressive streak will be put to the test in Game 4. The competitiveness of James and guard Dwyane Wade seemingly soars another couple octaves higher whenever their backs are against the wall.

–Leonard picked a good time to emerge from his slumber with the standout outing. I mentioned his subpar series performance shortly before tip-off and the former San Diego State standout responded by scoring 16 first-quarter points on 5-of-5 shooting. San Antonio badly needs this Leonard and not the one that showed up for Games 1 and 2.

–Heat veteran Shane Battier has played just 16 minutes in the series and has yet to score. When Miami had no answers on how to keep the Spurs from scoring in Game 3, it might have been worth throwing Battier in there for a few minutes.

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