Spurs stun Heat with 107-86, on brink of 5th title
By Greg Heakes ,AFP Saturday, June 14, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
MIAMI -- The San Antonio Spurs blitzed Miami for their second straight blowout win of the NBA finals on Thursday, their 107-86 triumph putting the Spurs on the brink of a fifth title.
Kawhi Leonard scored 20 points for the top-seeded Spurs, who made the two-time defending champion Heat look helpless at home for the second consecutive game and now have a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven championship series and a chance to claim the title on Sunday in San Antonio.
"We thought we could win here. We hoped to win two, obviously, but we were happy to win one," said Spurs forward Tim Duncan. "Then came the second game and we didn't want to rest.
"We came in here tonight and had great focus, put a great game together and came out with two."
Tony Parker tallied 19 points while Tim Duncan had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who are seeking redemption after losing to the Heat in seven games in last year's title series.
This is the first NBA finals rematch since the Chicago Bulls battled the Utah Jazz in 1997 and 1998.
The Spurs set the tone early in Game 4 as nine different players got involved in the scoring en route to a 19-point lead at halftime.
"It is always tough when you have a big lead in the NBA," said Parker. "I am kind of surprised the way we have been holding those leads."
The Spurs shot 55 percent in the first half Thursday, and while it wasn't quite as mind-blowing as the finals record 76 percent they fired in the first half of Game 3, it staked them to another commanding lead.
But this time there was no letdown in the third quarter from the Spurs. They continued to pour it on, outscoring Miami 26-21 in the third.
"Game 3 was an anomaly," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "That is never going to happen again."
It didn't need to, as the Spurs dominated in every facet of the game Thursday and their bench outscored Miami's reserves 41-30.
France's Boris Diaw flirted with a triple-double, finishing with eight points, nine rebounds and nine assists and Australia's Patty Mills scored 14 points for the Spurs — who also out-rebounded the Heat 44-27.
"He has really changed the game for us, along with rebounding and defending as well as he has," Duncan said of Diaw. "He hasn't really scored that much but he has found a way to be really effective."
LeBron James scored 28 points while Chris Bosh had 12 points for the Heat, who now have to win three straight, including two in San Antonio, to win a third straight title.
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