This time - was it fatigue or was it theatre? Regardless, your Miami Heat who claimed game 2 of the NBA Finals, with an impressive 19-point margin was clearly not the same team who fell off the planet in a 36-point whooping of otherworldly proportions Tuesday night in San Antonio.
The combined team effort accounting for the Heat's equalizing win went silent in agonizing defeat as their Western Conference counterparts reeled off an NBA record 16 3-pointers, (13 by Danny Green & alone). This train wreck of a performance has brought "Don't Mess with Texas" to a whole new level - and lead. The end result, San Antonio 113, Miami 77.
So how did Miami do it? What was their recipe for disaster?
Game 2 - No one could miss - when it mattered most (or not).
Game 3 - Everyone missed, be it defensive assignments, all kinds of rebounds and yes, any chance they got to score.
Game 2 - Mario Chalmers shot 50% from the field, scoring 19 points...
Game 3 - " O " points.
Game 2 - Dwayne Wade had 10 points...
Game 3 - Wade's 16-point effort was tops - amongst the entire team!
Come to think of it, the only other time this game references the number 16, it represented the best statistical 3-point output (ANY) NBA game has ever seen!
And over 80% of them were made by 2 people! One of them, Gary Neal, coming off San Antonio's bench & still tallied a higher scoring total (24) than that of Wade!
And them there's Lebron James...
James is averaging 16.7 points on 38.9 percent shooting with 12.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists in the Finals. Good numbers for a better than average player. But this is Lebron!, The reigning league MVP!! He said it himself, his performance won't cut it, and I'll leave it at that.
I'll leave their offensive woes at that.
But what about the Heat's defense? From here, it only goes downhill, especially if you so much as mutter the letter "D."
Game 2? Respectable.
Game 3? Horrible.
The Spurs scored in the paint at will, rebounded the ball anywhere they wished and rained 3's as if Miami, or its fans needed any more reference to rain. And what's worse, the Spurs role players are the ones putting it to MIA the most. Despite this year's salary divide of roughly $46 million, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Gary Neal have outright out-scored Wade, James and Bosh in this series, period.
Though mentioned as "complicated," the Spurs anti-scoring plan is simple. Pile in the paint, play aggressive, (but not dirty) and let the Heat shoot from the perimeter all night long. Outside of Mike Miller's beyond the arc presence, it's certainly working. When it comes to defense, statistically the Heat and San Antonio neck and neck, yet game 3 and the series as a whole continues to say otherwise.
And as long as Miami, continues to miss shots, lose rebounds and most of all, NOT inspire Lebron to take over, the 4-time MVP with 4 trips to The Finals may only have 1 ring to show for it.