Game 3 By The Numbers
By Brian Martin
Here are the 20 numbers you need to know from San Antonio's 111-92 win in Game 3 of the 2014 NBA Finals.
The only place to start is the record book, which the Spurs entered on Tuesday night with their incredible shooting performance in the first half. The Spurs hit 25-of-33 shots, including 7-of-10 from 3-point range, in the first half. Their 75.8% field goal percentage is a new Finals record, edging out the Orlando Magic's mark of 75.0% from Game 3 of the 2009 Finals, nearly five years ago to the day (June 9, 2009). San Antonio's effective field goal percentage (accounting for added value of 3s) for the half was an astounding 86.4%.
Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 29 points in Game 3. Not a playoff career-high, but an NBA career-high for the third year pro. That's 188 regular season games and 55 playoff games (243 total NBA games) before Tuesday night's effort. His previous NBA career-high was 26 points (done twice) and his previous playoff career-high was 22 points (also done twice). When was the last time Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points in a game? You have to go back to high school. In his 70 games at San Diego State, he never scored more than 26 points, which he did twice (hat tip to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports).
Leonard had scored a combined 18 points in Games 1 and 2 of The Finals before his breakout game on Tuesday.
Games 1 & 2 combined: 18 points, 6-14 FGs
Game 3: 29 points, 10-13 FGs
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kawhi Leonard (22 years, 346 days) passed James Worthy (23 years, 94 days) to become the youngest player in Finals history to score at least 25 points while shooting at least 75%.
The Spurs led by as many as 25 points in the second quarter (55-30 at the 8:09 mark) and took a 21-point lead to the locker room for halftime. However, the Heat made a run, cutting the deficit to seven points (81-74) on Norris Cole's layup with 1:59 to play in the third quarter. The Spurs pushed the lead back to double-digits by the end of the quarter and the Heat were unable to get it back to single digits in the fourth as the Spurs went on to win by 19.
The Spurs had 41 points at the end of the first quarter, the most point scored in the opening quarter of an NBA Finals game since April 24, 1967 -- Game 6 of the 1967 Finals -- where the Philadelphia 76ers (43) and San Francisco Warriors (41) both eclipsed 40 in the opening quartef of a game won by Philadelphia 125-122 to clinch the championship.
The Spurs scored 71 points in the first half, eight shy of the NBA Finals record 79 points scored by the Boston Celtics vs the Los Angeles Lakers on May 27, 1985.
Remarkably, the Spurs' 71 points came on just 33 shot attempts, thanks in part to seven 3-pointers and 14 free throws. Here is breakdown of how they scored those points.
1-point shots: 14-17 (82.4%)
2-point shots: 18-23 (78.3%)
3-point shots: 7-10 (70.0%)
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each scored a team-high 22 points for the Heat and both shot the ball extremely well. James shot 9-of-14 (64.3%) from the field, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, and also chipped in seven assists, five rebounds and five steals. Wade shot 8-of-12 (66.7%) and also posted four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
However, the James/Wade duo also combined for 12 of Miami's 20 turnovers in Game 3 - seven coming from James and five from Wade. The Spurs scored 23 points off of Miami's miscues.
Despite the loss, Miami's LeBron James joined an elite club on Tuesday night, becoming just the fourth player in NBA history -- along with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Larry Bird -- to rank in the top 10 in postseason points and assists. LeBron's seven assists in Game 3 moved him past Dennis Johnson (1,006) for 10th all-time.
LeBron James, postseason totals and ranks
Chris Bosh had just four shots in 34 minutes in Game 3. He made all four of his attempts, including one 3-pointer, to finish with nine points. Bosh had 30 ball touches in Game 3, his fewest number of touches by far in The Finals -- he had 58 in Game 1 and 50 in Game 2.
The winner of Game 3 of a tied NBA Finals has gone on to win the series 30 out of 36 times (83.3%). However, one of those six exceptions to the rule came last year, when the Spurs blew out the Heat in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead and eventually lost the series in seven games.
Also, the Spurs under Gregg Popovich are 15-3 (83.3%) in best-of-7 series when leading a series 2-1.
The Spurs dealt the Heat their first loss of the 2014 Playoffs, dropping their mark to 8-1 on the year. The Heat had not lost at home in the playoffs since Game 1 of the 2013 Finals, also to the Spurs. The Spurs improved to 4-5 on the road in the playoffs, after posting the NBA's best road record (30-11) during the regular season.
Boris Diaw scored nine points in his first start of the 2014 Playoffs. While he was the only Spurs starter to not reach double figures in scoring, his all-around contributions (five rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block) led to a plus/minus of plus-20, the highest mark of any player, in Game 3. For the series, the Spurs have outscored the Heat by 45 points with Diaw on the floor. His plus-45 through three games is the best mark of any player in the series.
After shooting 13-of-15 in the first quarter, the Spurs opened the second quarter by hitting their first six shots, to improve their shooting to 19-of-21 (90.5%). San Antonio's first miss in the second quarter came at the 6:45 mark when Tony Parker missed a 3-pointer. For the first 17:15 of game time, the Spurs shot over 90 percent from the field. "That'll never happen again. That's crazy." - Gregg Popovich said after the game.
The Spurs attempted just eight mid-range shots in their Game 3 win, the same number as their Game 1 win. In their Game 2 loss, the Spurs attempted 23 shots from mid-range (hat tip to NBA.com's John Schuhmann for the stat).
Danny Green shot 7-of-8 (87.5%) from the field in Game 3, but unlike his previous Finals games, he did most of his work from inside the 3-point line on Tuesday. Green shot just 1-of-2 from beyond the arc. He was a perfect 6-of-6 on 2-point shots, all coming inside the paint. On multiple occasions, Green caught the ball at the 3-point line with a Heat player rushing at him to contest the shot, Green pump faked, put the ball on the floor and drove the lane for floaters and layups. He also got layups in transition off of his playoff career-high five steals.
The combined scoring efforts of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James for Miami and Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green for San Antonio.
Wade/James: 44 points (22 each) on 17-of-26 (65.4%) shooting
Leonard/Green: 44 points (29 and 15) on 17-of-21 (81.0%) shooting
With the Spurs win on Tuesday, the visiting team has now won 38 times in this postseason, the most in a postseason in NBA history, per Elias.
The Spurs have scored 48 points in the paint in both of their wins in this series. In Game 3, the Spurs held the edge in the paint 48-42, continuing the trend that the team that wins the points in the paint battle wins the game. It has held true for all three games of this series and eight of the 10 Finals games between these teams over the last two years.
The Spurs shot just 2-of-7 on Corner 3s in Game 3, the only spots on the floor where they were not setting the nets on fire. The Spurs lead the playoffs with a 46.4% make rate on Corner 3s (58-of-125), but could not knock them down on Tuesday.
Spurs' Game 3 Shooting by Zone
Restricted Area: 17-23 (73.9%)
In the Paint (Non-RA): 7-13 (53.9%)
Mid-Range: 5-8 (62.5%)
Above the Break 3: 7-13 (53.9%)
Corner 3: 2-7 (28.7%)
The Spurs shot 21-of-33 (63.6%) on contested field goals in Game 3, compared to 17-of-30 (56.7%) for Miami. On uncontested shots, the Spurs shot 21-of-27 (56.8%) compare to 15-of-30 (50%) for the Heat.