Kawhi Leonard stars again for Spurs with 20 points
Another road game, another stunning beat-down and the San Antonio Spurs moved within a victory of dethroning the two-time defending NBA champs.
Kawhi Leonard had 20 points with 14 rebounds, Frenchman Tony Parker netted 19, and the Spurs spanked the Miami Heat, 107-86 on Thursday night to take a commanding 3-1 advantage in the NBA Finals.
“We’re playing Spurs basketball like we’ve been doing all season,” said Parker, whose club crushed the Heat 118-92 in Tuesday’s game 3. We’re moving the ball well, we’re clicking. Hopefully, we can do it for one more game.” San Antonio has three shots to lift their fifth NBA title starting with game 5 at home on Sunday night.
A tough road ahead
If the Heat is to win a third straight crown it will have to make history by becoming the first team to rally from a 3-1 deficit. Patty Mills tossed in 14 points off the bench while Duncan contributed 10 and 11 boards for the Spurs, who shot a sizzling 56 per cent from the field and led by as many as 25 in a second straight road domination.
James scored 28 points, Chris Bosh added 12 for the Heat, which offered little challenge and had its streak of 13 straight playoff wins following a loss snapped. San Antonio didn’t shoot nearly as well as their Finals-record 76 per cent in the first half of Game 3 rout but still got off to another fast start.
Displaying sparkling offensive execution that led to wide-open jumpers and easy layups, the Spurs hit a torrid 56 per cent from the field en route to a 55-36 cushion at the break behind Parker’s dozen points.
The Spurs also bucked down on the defensive end, holding the Heat to anaemic 35 per cent field shooting (12-of-34) led by James’ nine points.
James tried to bring the Heat back, dropping in 19 third-quarter point. But the unselfish Spurs continued to execute, carried an 81-57 cushion into the final frame and coasted home.