Heading into Game 4 of the NBA Finals, everyone was expecting one of the teams to come out with intensity, focus, and hustle, playing with the desperation of a team that knew it was in a must-win game. And that’s exactly what happened.
The only problem was, it was the San Antonio Spurs playing with their backs against the wall, and the Miami Heat simply cruising. The result was a blowout 107-86 win for the visitors, which leaves Miami down 3-1 in the series and looking like a team that has simply run out of gas.
The Spurs won this game the same way they always do: with outstanding, efficient team basketball. They shot 57 percent from the field, scored 46 points in the paint, and out-rebounded Miami 44-27. The team got another virtuoso performance from Kawhi Leonard, who scored 20 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and played tremendous defense on LeBron James all night long. Undoubtedly, he is the Finals MVP right now.
It wasn't just the Kawhi Show, though. In his second consecutive start, Boris Diaw nearly had a triple-double with eight points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. Tim Duncan had another double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, Tony Parker had 19 points, and Patty Mills was huge off the bench with 16 points on 4-for-6 shooting from three point range.
The Heat, on the other hand, struggled mightily. James had another strong game, scoring 28 points and grabbing eight rebounds, but apart from LeBron, the Heat were simply bad. They had 13 assists as a team to go with 13 turnovers, Dwyane Wade limped to a 3-for-13 shooting night, and Chris Bosh was again marginalized on offense with just 12 points.
The series now shifts to a 1-1-1 format, and the Spurs have to be favored to close the series out in Game 5 on Sunday night. They look like the hungrier team, and the Heat look like a group ready for their season to be over.