El Conclusion: Spurs fall short at taking 2-0 series lead

by

Miami Heat 98 Final

Recap | Box Score

96 San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, PF 38 MIN | 7-14 FG | 4-8 FT | 15 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | +2

Was so good earlier and then he and Spurs didn’t adjust well to what the Heat did in the second half. There wasn’t much big-to-big passing, mainly basic posting up. That being said, if the Spurs keep moving the ball like they did early, the Heat don’t have an answer for Timmy. It’s the biggest matchup of the series.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 32 MIN | 3-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -6

Maybe this is a little harsh because of the massive task he has. Kawhi, simply put, has to be smart the entire time he’s on the court. The fourth foul where he ran over Birdman to try to defend a 3-pointer was just reckless. It’s so unfair to ask such a young player to always be razor sharp, but that’s where Kawhi needs to be to avoid getting in foul trouble. Also, is he over dribbling? Feels like he’s passed up open jumpers to try to put the ball on the floor.

Tiago Splitter, C 19 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +1

Brilliant passing in the first half, found Duncan time and time again, as well as wings cutting to the basket. Should the Spurs have tried the Splitter-Duncan duo in the second half more? Problem is neither him or Duncan can stay in front of Bosh if he puts the ball on the deck. So they give him space and he can hit that jumper, get up on him he’ll go by them. Tough matchup for San Antonio.

Tony Parker, PG 35 MIN | 8-15 FG | 3-6 FT | 0 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 21 PTS | -1

Pretty good up until the shot to the ribs. After that he looked a little off, maybe still winded from getting jacked in the ribs. Overall though, he didn’t force a ton. A couple of bad jumpers, but overall he looks sharp.

Danny Green, SG 18 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | 0

Tough to grade him this game. He made more shots then he missed and made Dwyane Wade play a tough game, but still he didn’t have the impact he had in Game 1. Miami did a good job of closing out on him.

Boris Diaw, PF 32 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -5

Mostly liked what he gave, but I thought he passed up a couple of open looks in the second half. When Miami’s defense blitzes you like they did in the fourth quarter especially, you have to take the open look if you have it. But really, that’s a minor criticism for a guy that’s been awesome the first two games.

Patty Mills, PG 15 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -1

This isn’t even about his box score. In the third quarter, the Spurs looked like they were on the ropes while LeBron was going off. Then Mills responded with two massive 3-pointers to help the Spurs regain the lead by the end of the quarter.

Manu Ginobili, SG 28 MIN | 7-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 19 PTS | +4

Three turnovers weren’t great, especially the bullet that Duncan wasn’t ready for near the end of the game. There were also a couple of fadeaway jumpers that made you sigh. I just thought the offense was so bad at the end of the fourth quarter. I don’t know if that was Manu’s fault or just everyone else not doing anything.

Marco Belinelli, SG 22 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -7

Missed his shots, got lost on defense and left a couple of shooters open on defense. So he basically the bad Belinelli game.

Gregg Popovich

I don’t know what happened that kept Tim Duncan out of the paint, or maybe I’m making a bigger deal out of a couple plays that stuck out, but it felt like Duncan got conventional post ups in the second half instead of him catching it on the move where someone has to rotate over and is more often than not a smaller player.

Two Things We Saw

  1. I’ll let Matthew Tynan handle most of the bullet points in the margin, but this is going to be a long series. Miami can win in San Antonio, San Antonio can win in Miami. I’d be stunned if this doesn’t go 7.
  2. Oh, one more thing. LeBron James is really good. Chris Bosh is not quite as good, but still really good. It’s tough to win two in a row when those guys are on the other team and they’re playing well.
  • colelandes12345 .

    I wish Popovich would stop playing Belinelli so many minutes. It isn’t that Belinelli has been particularly bad, it’s just that Green has been good and is not on the floor enough (I know that in the first quarter it was because of foul trouble). Also, I feel that Splitter deserves more minutes. This series, Diaw does not have that great of a matchup, yet he got 13 more minutes than Splitter.

  • lvmainman

    2 Things stand out in this game.

    1.) Pop panicked in this game. Pop deserves a C-. Never let the fouls on your players dictate the rotations and you’re defensive matchups. Green got 2 quick fouls, sat, played fewer minutes than Belinelli, ended the game with 3 fouls. Ginobili got 3 fouls – due to $5000 Wade flop, sat, took him out of rhythm, and let the Heat tie at half, ended the game with 3 fouls. Took Leonard off Lebron when he had 3 fouls, Lebron makes next 4 shots for 10 points cause Diaw is guarding him, changed the whole moment of the game, Leonard fouled out anyway. Hide Leonard, he fouls out anyway. Dumb move.

    2.) The refs were atrocious this game. Green gets 2nd foul by jumping beside Wade, but Wade jumps sideways on jumpshot to get call, 2 FT’s that are the difference in the final score. Duncan gets fouled by Lebron, draws a tech, and Ginobili gets his 2nd foul as a result of the missed call stopping the breakaway. Ginobili gets a 3rd foul off the $5000 Wade flop, goes to the bench for the last 4 minutes of the 2nd qtr after scoring 4 straight points. Leonard gets his 2nd foul for standing next to Lebron. BS. Leonard gets his 3rd foul on an offensive charge, but Lewis hacks the living daylight out of him – NO CALL. So, no FT’s and a 3rd foul. Pop takes him off Lebron. Lebron scores 10 points on 4 shots. Bosh makes 3, Spurs down 2, Ginobili gets poked in the eye by Allen – NO CALL. That’s 2 FT’s and a tie game, instead of being down 2 with a minute left. Refs were completely awful tonight.

  • phillip mabry

    Heart breaking loss. Don’t be to hard on The Claw, he’s got an impossible job to do. At least one of his fouls was tick-tack and while he was on the floor, LeBron was slowed down a bit.

  • camnpat

    There is plenty the Spurs did wrong to merit the loss, such as turnovers early and missed free throws late (maybe Pop should go back to the “if you miss one you buy me a car” strategy?), but those two blatantly bad calls from the officials on Manu for a non-foul on Wade on the second and Leonard for a non- over the back foul on James in the third made a difference. Miami scored 4 points off those and we would be talking about a +2 win rather than -2 loss.

    With that said, I am not implying that there was anything nefarious about the officiating like Heat fans immediately do when they don’t get calls their way, but the officiating was really terrible both ways.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Our two best players missed all 4 free throws that resulted from Chalmer’s flagrant on Tony. That’s the difference in the ball game. If you can’t hit ANY of those free throws, you don’t deserve to win, period.

  • Riot smoke

    All of this.. In a nutshell. Officiating was horrible tonight. HORRIBLE… It’s clear that Miami (and the league) both want this to be a series but this was a game squarely dictated by bad officiating. They literally killed the pace for the entire game, but at the same time, SA and Pop have to realize they’re playing 8 on 5 this series and the officials aren’t going to help you. Not to sound homer-istic, but if Timmy gets T’ed up for argueing calls then you know something is amiss with the basketball force. This game clearly had a redemption factor with the Heat, and the officials clearly let it pan out that way. Games like this make me sad…

  • Riotsmoke

    I agree with you that the Spurs need to hit those, but at the same time, if the officials are going to ignore everything else than how in the hell is this thing supposed to be even? They were getting mauled downed on the offensive end, while the Heat got every call they wanted with half of those clearly coming on some “wtf” calls. Sure.. Missing FT’a is a factor, but the ones that aren’t called are even worse..

  • Governmentname

    The corpse of Rashard Lewis just outplayed Kawhi “Mr. Franchish” Leonard for 2 straight games in the 2014 NBA Finals. *SMH*

  • Ali

    Foul Troubles

  • ali

    I disagree. As much as the league is rigged, the officiating was awful both ways. maybe we got the shorter end of the sticks but honestly they hurt both teams.

  • SpurredOn

    I’d give Pop a B due to end of game strategy. He didn’t use one of his timeouts at 47-seconds, down three, and the Spurs end up using nearly 20 seconds to miss a mid-range jumper. They could’ve gone to a set play, a three to tie or a quick two, in no more than ten seconds. He then had his defense scramble and trap resulting in a layup. Either play it out cleanly or foul early to save time and hope for a missed FT.

    Other than that, story of the game was that second chance points kept Heat game early, stagnant ball movement killed Spurs during 4Q and end of quarter play. Manu’s third foul, the Wade flop that the ref ever even saw, cost the Spurs a halftime lead, as he was carving up the Miami defense. Rather big seeing as how the Spurs lost this game on offense. That Manu was hit in the face late in the game but did not receive the same call, with the ref staring right at them, summed up the night for the officiating. His FTs would’ve tied the game. Refs were as bad at times as was the Spurs’ ball movement.

  • Pingback: Spurs let 2-0 series lead escape as LeBron goes off for Heat()

  • Chris FOM

    Regardless of how good the officiating was or wasn’t (and I’m not defending it), when you miss 8 free throws, including 4 in a row at a critical time late in the game, you lose any opportunity to gripe.

  • Ryan McShane

    Kawhi Leonard needs to spend his defensive energy doing things other than swiping at the ball before LeBron even drives/shoots. He’s probably gotten four or five fouls like that in the last two games. And yeah, that Andersen foul. Yeesh.

    Their defense is elite or borderline elite with him on the floor, not so much otherwise.

  • Joseph Dooley

    When Kawhi barrelled through Birdman was a huge call, but don’t forget the refs played a big part in not calling that illegal screen to begin with. I don’t think you’re allowed to grab onto a guy with both hands like an offensive lineman in the NBA.

    Unless there’s a different set of rules for the Heat.

  • Tyler

    Officiating didn’t decide the game. Miami was pretty good defensively, especially the last 3-4 minutes of the 4th. That, combined with Lebron making jumpers was the difference, not the refs.

  • Tyler

    Unless you want a ragged Manu come the 4th, you have to go with Belinelli that early in the 1st qtr. The rotations are fine.

    If you’re going to gripe about Belinelli, it should be that he’s passed up a few shots I think he should have let flown. Miami is too good and too active defensively to pass up quality looks. When he gets them, he needs to take them. Same goes goes for Kawhi.

  • Riotsmoke

    Sorry, I re-read my post and I guess I made it sound a little too dramatic with the fist-pounding-on-the-table stuff. What I’m trying to get across here is exactly what was posted in The Margin. When officiating is inconsistent it absolutely kills the pace of the game, calls gets missed, calls get made trying to make up for missed calls, players are assessed fouls that they shouldn’t have, and so forth. In the end, it’s a roller-coaster ride of bad officiating with one team unfortunately drawing the short straw.

    Last night, it seemed we were constantly drawing the short straw on a lot of these calls, and the ticky-tack stuff completely killed our defensive player rotations. Yes, we should have made our free throws.. I’m not questioning that one bit, but at the same time, when you call games inconsistently it begs the question of asking how many more FT’s SHOULD we have shot.

  • Tyler

    Gotcha. I did think Miami was aggressor in terms of attacking the basket (Lebron esp), and more often than not, the more aggressive team tends to get a good whistle.

    Either way, the officiating has a tendency to even itself out over the course of a series.

  • Pingback: 3-on-3: NBA Finals breakdown following Game 2()

  • Joseph Dooley

    Lebron made jumpers b/c Kawhi was in foul trouble b/c refs called a foul on Kawhi for breathing.

    You can’t touch Lebron or Wade, but Anderson sets screens like an offensive lineman and elbows Manu to the floor, and no call.

  • Tyler

    Lebron made jumpers when Kawhi was on him too. It wouldn’t have mattered who was guarding him.

    Lebron also made a concerted effort to attack the basket early and often. That type of aggressiveness will almost always lead to calls. Also, the fouls for the game were 20 vs 20 so it’s not like SA got screwed. Not only that, but if I remember correctly, SA was in the bonus early in the 4th, but failed to capitalize.

    We can blame the refs all day, but the truth is SA didn’t move the ball well enough and Lebron was simply too good. That was the difference, not the refs.

  • Joseph Dooley

    When Kawhi breathed on Lebron and picked up his 4th foul, Boris switched onto him and Lebron took the opportunity to shoot over Bobo’s shorter arms and smaller hands. Lebron is good, but he doesn’t hit 5 jumpers in a row over Kawhi–at least, not if Kawhi is allowed to play defense.

    20 fouls vs. 20 fouls appears to be equitable, if you assume both teams are fouling at the same rate, and that all fouls are created equal. But Manu’s bogus 3rd foul in the 2nd quarter was a killer, sending him to the bench in the closing minutes of the half. Kawhi’s fouls also hurt very much as they allowed Lebron the sliver of space he needed to shoot.

    The no-calls on Andersen multiple times and, the no-calls on Lebron, the no-calls on Allen throwing that chicken wing constantly to create space as he drives awkwardly to the rim, the no-call on Manu when he got poked in the eye late in the 4th.

    The Spurs are a better team. They played bad and still almost won. The refs screwed them and they lost. No conspiracy to screw the Spurs, just innate bias.

  • Tyler

    Again, SA might not have gotten the best whistle, but that is not what ultimately decided the game. You can argue the calls that went the other way or the no-calls that didn’t go SA’s way (and I’m sure a Miami fan could point to a few call here or there that didn’t go their way), but in doing that, I believe you are missing the much larger point – SA blew multiple chances to win the game – poor execution down the stretch, missed free throws at crucial junctures, and very little contribution from anyone outside the big 3 for SA.

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree.