Jun 12, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dunks while defended by Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) during the second half of game four of the 2014 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The San Antonio Spurs did something that no team has done since the 2012 playoffs: defeat the Miami Heat in consecutive playoff games.
This is the first time that Miami lost consecutive playoff games since 2012 ECF, when they lost 3 straight to Boston (but won the series).
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 13, 2014
While that alone is extremely impressive, San Antonio managed to blow them out on the same court where their championship dreams were crushed last season.
With San Antonio’s decisive 107-86 victory, they have an opportunity to close out the series on Father’s Day. Wouldn’t that just be a fantastic gift for all those dads who are die-hard Spurs fans?
While history is on the Spurs side to win this series, they know that they can’t sell the two-time defending NBA champions short and definitely don’t want to head back to Miami for a Game 6.
Teams with 3-1 leads are 31-0 in Finals history.
— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneysaen) June 13, 2014
Back to recapping Game 4.
The first quarter really set the tone and pace for the rest of the game.
Everyone expected the Heat to come out pissed off and ready to cast their frustrations out on the Spurs after their embarrassing Game 3 home loss, but Miami came out flat and listless.
Danny Green started out the game hot, leading the Spurs to an early 13-4 advantage; it was a lead that would never truly be threatened the rest of the game. By the end of the first quarter, the Spurs led 26-17.
The Spurs’ play extended into the second quarter where they at one point held a 55-33 advantage.
Once again, although not to the same offensive extent as Game 3, Kawhi Leonard was fantastic.
Kawhi had a solid first half and was oh so close to having a first half double double (8 points and 8 rebounds). The highlight play of the night, although some would argue for Boris Diaw’s fantastic behind the back, no-look pass to Tiago Splitter, was Kawhi’s electrifying put back dunk that really put an exclamation mark on the half.
Tony Parker had himself a nice first half scoring 12 of his 19 points while Patty Mills also played some efficient minutes off the bench, hitting a few threes and layups in the process.
Going into halftime, the Spurs led 55-36.
Heat’s Biggest Halftime Deficit at Home in Big 3 Era Tuesday -21 vs Spurs Tonight -19 vs Spurs
— Jeremy Lundblad (@JLundbladESPN) June 13, 2014
In contrast to Game 3, the Spurs halftime lead was primarily due to its terrific defense.
The Spurs shot a record-breaking 75.8% in the first half of Game 3 and “only” led by 21 points due to their lackluster defense. While the Spurs didn’t shoot at historic percentage the first half in Game 4, their lead was almost identical to Game 3 because of their shutdown defense.
Out of Miami’s 36 first half points, 13 of them came from LeBron (9 points) and Dwayne Wade (4 points). As great as San Antonio was moving the ball and getting what they wanted, it was their focus on defense that really made this game feel more dominating than the previous one.
As expected, the Heat came out of halftime with a nice 12-4 run, but that would be the extent of their damage into the Spurs lead for the rest of the game. Boris had two slick baskets as the shot-clock was winding down, much to the frustration of Heat fans.
Out of Miami’s 21 third quarter points, 19 of them came from LeBron. There is no way that Miami is beating the Spurs on their A game when LeBron is the only player producing on the court.
By the end of the third, the Spurs led 81-57.
The fourth quarter wasn’t chock full of drama, but there one was one sentimental moment: Tim Duncan passing Magic Johnson for the most playoff double-doubles (158) in NBA history.
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) June 13, 2014
While Timmy had also broken the playoff record for most minutes played in the NBA Playoffs (previously held by Kareem Abdul Jabbar), the former record held much more significance for the foundation of the Spurs franchise.
Kawhi was once again the player of the game with a fantastic line of 20 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks, but I’m just as ecstatic that Boris is finally getting some love from the media after his performance in these Finals.
In many of my playoff columns, I’ve gushed over how important Boris is to this Spurs team, whether it is seen in the box score or not.
Finally, finally, everyone else has been able to witness and enjoy his unique and versatile skill set. In Game 4, Boris just missed out on a triple double (8 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists).
These two tweets are very telling of why the game unfolded in the Spurs favor:
Spurs outrebound Miami 44-27, limit Heat to 15-34 FG inside the paint.
— Aaron Preine PS (@DukeOfBexar) June 13, 2014
— Paul Garcia PS (@PaulGarciaPS) June 13, 2014
Up to this point, San Antonio has simply been the better team. Winning two games on the road in the NBA Finals is about as tough as it gets, especially against a team that prides itself at dominating at home.
San Antonio knows they can’t take anything for granted going into Game 5, but I know that they won’t be satisfied until they officially put down the Miami Heat in four games.
Get ready for Game 5 on Sunday. It should be a good one.