SAN ANTONIO (CBSMiami) – After mauling the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 of the 2013 NBA Finals, the Miami Heat will look to take a 2-1 lead in the series Tuesday night during Game 3 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
For the Heat, they’re trying to become what the Spurs have been for the better part of the last 15 years, a dynasty. But to get to the rarified air of becoming a successful back-to-back NBA champion, Miami must get past a Spurs team not willing to ride off into the sunset.
San Antonio will look to get power forward Tim Duncan going after he struggled mightily during the first two games in Miami. Duncan, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, shot just 11 of 32 at the AmericanAirlines Arena and he knows he has to step it up if the Spurs are to win its fifth NBA championship.
“Obviously, they’re contested shots, but they’re the shots I feel I can make,” Duncan said after the Heat’s 103-84 victory Sunday. “So whether it be them or me or whatever it may be, I’m going to get back in the gym tomorrow and hopefully come out with a better stroke. But I’m getting the shots I want. I just have to knock them down.”
The Spurs also hope to get point guard Tony Parker rolling again after he struggled in Game 2 against the Heat. Parker, a one-time NBA MVP candidate before getting injured in the regular season, destroyed the Heat in Game 1 only to disappear in Game 2.
Parker was 5-13 from the field and 0-1 behind the three-point line in Game 2 and managed just 13 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists by the time the final horn sounded.
On the other side of the court, the Miami Heat have to keep doing what they’re doing and force San Antonio head coach to make the decision to live or die with his defense on NBA MVP LeBron James.
In Game 2, if the double-teams came on LeBron, he moved the ball to the Heat’s shooters who began burying big shot after big shot. He also ran the screen multiple times for Heat point guard Mario Chalmers which put added pressure on the Spurs.
If the Spurs went for the double-team on Chalmers, he passed the ball to an open James which made the defense rotate and leave a shooter open for James to get the ball too or allow James an open lane to the basket if the defense didn’t rotate.
If the Spurs left Chalmers one-on-one, he drove to the basket and either finished strong at the hoop or kicked the ball to an open teammate as the defense collapsed in the lane.
All of those factors in Game 2 helped send the Heat on a 33-5 run that blew the game wide open. During the run, which lasted 8:05 in game time, Miami forced six turnovers and allowed just five points to the Western Conference champion Spurs.
Against that backdrop, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich must devise a defensive scheme that can not only stop James, but also limit open shots to his Heat teammates, which is a lot easier said than done.
“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “Two best teams in the NBA at this point. Both teams have won and can win on each other’s floor. So it’s not a biggie.”
The Heat are just 3-22 in San Antonio, though they did win this year even while James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers sat out the late-season meeting.
But James, having seen the Heat not have enough when they were largely just he, Wade and Chris Bosh two years ago, insists his current team is deep enough to do big damage even when it doesn’t come from the big names.
“I think the supporting cast is really why both teams are here,” James said. “They’ve been making an impact all year long, and they feel like their supporting cast is better. We feel like our supporting cast is better. It’s who goes out and do it each and every night to help seal wins.”
The Spurs are shooting just 41 percent and averaging 88 points in the series, perhaps lucky to not be down 2-0, and realize they needed to be much sharper when they got back home.
“It’s about getting refocused here, playing a much better game, ending quarters better, and hopefully shooting better,” Duncan said.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)