Don’t look now, but the San Antonio Spurs are a game away from winning the NBA Finals.
With a 107-86 win over the Miami Heat on Thursday, the Spurs took a commanding 3-1 lead in the series and look to end the Heat’s quest for a third consecutive title.
The Spurs, as they did in Tuesday’s Game 3, made things look incredibly easy.
San Antonio won in another rout that left many shaking their heads afterwards. The Spurs winning, as I’ve stated in the past, isn’t terribly surprising since the two teams looked fairly even heading into the Finals. However, the sheer domination by San Antonio couldn’t possibly have been expected.
As they did in Tuesday’s contest, the Spurs used a big first half to win the game. The 55 points scored by the franchise wasn’t nearly as much as the 71 they tallied in Game 3, but their defense held the Heat to only 36 over the first two periods, and the result was the same – a sizable halftime advantage.
Leading the way for a second straight game was forward Kawhi Leonard. His emergence over the past two games is showing that he could be ready for a bigger workload next season. Leonard again led the team in scoring, with 20 points, and his impressive work on the glass (team-high 14 rebounds) helped give the Spurs a +17 edge there.
While this looks like a done deal, keep in mind that we’ve seen this story before. Last year, the Spurs used a big Game 5 effort to take a 3-2 lead in the series before dropping the final two games. Still, this has the look of a completely different situation. San Antonio’s 3-1 edge is bigger than the one-game lead they had last season. In addition, while the Spurs had to play Games 6 and 7 on the road last year, San Antonio gets two more chances to seal the deal at home, if needed.
Such a comeback by the Heat would be an unprecedented one since no team has rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals before.
More important than any of that, though, Miami has just looked out of sorts. Since playing two relatively close games to kick off the series, The Heat haven’t been anywhere near winning Games 3 or 4, losing both by an average of 20 points. Despite having the league’s best player in LeBron James, this just isn’t Miami’s year.
The Heat are competitors and likely aren’t officially making their offseason plans just yet – but a comeback doesn’t appear to be in the works.