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NBA Finals -- Spurs move 1 game away from title


PhilBoxing.com




MIAMI -- The San Antonio Spurs are 48 minutes away from their franchise's fifth NBA title, thanks to a 107-86, rout of the Miami Heat Thursday night at a jam packed American Airlines Arena here in downtown Miami.

Just like Game 3's 111-92 romp, Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs in Game 4 with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Guards Tony Parker and Patty Mills had 19 and 14 points, respectively, while Tim Duncan finished with 10 and 11 rebounds.

With a commanding 3-1 series advantage, the Spurs hope to close out the best-of-7 affair in Game 5 Sunday night (Monday AM, June 16 in Manila).

No team in the history of the NBA Finals has ever recovered from a 3-1 deficit.

Game 3 looked like a mirror of Game 4. The Spurs jumped early, built a 25-point lead, before carrying it home.

"The game plan was to play the same way that we did the last game, and that's what we did. The game is pretty similar. Starting the game it was kind of tight, and we took the lead, and then they tried to make a run in the third quarter, but we hung in there to keep the lead," Spurs center Boris Diaw, who chalked 8 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists, told reporters.

San Antonio, thanks to a blistering 25 assists, converted 40 of 70 shots (57.1 percent) including 9 of 21 threes (42.9 percent). The Spurs also made 18 of their 25 free throws.

"They played better than us. No question about it," said Heat star Dwyane Wade.

LeBron James made 10 of 17 field goals and posted another stellar effort of 28 points and 8 rebounds. But the 4-time MVP received little help from his teammates who combined for just 22 of 54 from the field, or a timid 40.7 percent.

Playing in his third game in 5 nights, Wade looked old and fatigued, making only 3 of 13 shots for 12 for 10 points. Point guards Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole were no-shows again with a combined 12 points while Chris Bosh contributed only 12 points and 4 boards.

After trailing 2-0, the Spurs sprinted to a 13-4 advantage before closing the half with a 55-36 edge, two less than their 21-point halftime edge in Game 3.

To secure a historic 3-peat, the two-time defending champions Heat will now need to beat the Spurs three in a row, a task that's before been done at this stage in the postseason.

"Well, we need quite a few things right now, so I have a couple of days to mull over all the possibilities. So I'll have probably a lot of waking hours thinking about it with my staff," Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said. (Homer D. Sayson)

Photo: Kawhi Leonard followed up his 29-point Game 3 effort with 20 points and 14 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs blew out the Miami Heat in Game 4 --- 107-86 --- to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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