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A clinic, hosted by the Spurs, broke out at Game 3 of the NBA Finals. It was
the most incredible first quarter that I've seen in my 40 years of watching the
I've never seen anybody move the ball like that, make the
right passes and finish. In the first
half they had something like 14 assists on 25 baskets. Anybody can make a pass
(my 85-year-old mother could make a pass), but not like the Spurs. If I'm on
the Spurs, I could pass the ball to post or I could feed into a player who's in
position to score. If I'm a cutter, I'm going to cut a little bit harder,
sharper, tighter, because I know the ball is going to be on time and on target.
A great passer motivates a great receiver. The Spurs' precision was
I would venture to say that if Erik Spoelstra weren't
involved in the Finals he would think the Spurs' play in Game 3 was really
great. But he's on the other side thinking about how his team can stop them.
Because of that, it puts so much pressure on the Miami offense to try and meet
the scoring need.
They were down 21 at the half, and I think Spoelstra's
halftime locker room speech was one of the finest speeches made by a coach. He
told them they needed to shave a few points off, play with courage, play with
heart, do what they do. It was a fantastic balance of firm, but not over the
top where these guys felt pressure. He was just spot-on, and those guys came
out electric in the first six or seven minutes.
You could feel their energy, but in the back of my mind, I
was wondering how long Miami could claw back into the game without any
production from Chris Bosh. Role players are role players, but stars have to be
stars on the brightest stage. When the lights are bright, that's when the
greats get their reputation. LeBron and Dwyane played really hard, but I
believe Chris has to be an equal opportunity offensive player for Miami to win this
series. As a matter of fact, he's my X-factor for Miami. He's got to do more
than stand in the corner. He's got to be like a realtor – location, location,
location – and sometimes you have to change your zip code a little bit.
The biggest thing I'm noticing is the bench. The depth of
San Antonio is unbelievable. I actually thought that Patty Mills and Boris Diaw
closed the barn door when Miami was trying to make a comeback. Diaw picked up a
couple charges, made some nice passes...Mills had multiple defensive efforts. And
then when Miami cut it to 7, Belinelli hit the three-pointer to take it back to
10. You could see that took the steam out of Miami. Can the Heat make a
comeback? Yes. But can they sustain it?
Going into Game 4, the pressure is all over Miami. They do
not want to go back into San Antonio down 3-1, which would be a massive hole to
try and come out of. They must get the win...with rebounding, low turnovers and
pushing the pace. They have to rebound and run before San Antonio sets their
defense, and I think they need a combination of about 65 points from the Big 3.
I think Miami wins tonight. They have too much pride, they
have hearts of warriors, they don't quit and they know they have to win
tonight. It's one of those must-have games in the life an NBA player competing
in the Finals.