The Spurs played their motion offense to near perfection in the
first half leading by as many as 25 points despite the best efforts
of Miami's LeBron James and took a massive 71-50 lead into
San Antonio survived a third-quarter comeback that brought Miami
within seven points at 81-74 late in the third quarter, but the
visitors reasserted themselves to win going away for a comfortable
win that ended the Heat's 8-0 perfection at home this postseason.
Kawhi Leonard, who had averaged nine points a game in the first two
contests, led the Spurs with a career high 29 points. Tony Parker
and Danny Green both pitched in with 15 points.
Four-time NBA most valuable player James scored 22 points to share
Miami scoring honors with Dwyane Wade, although James was never able
to take control of the game.
James scored 14 points in the first quarter with the next highest
scoring Heat player Ray Allen getting three as the Spurs charged out
to a 41-25 lead.
James scored only eight points the rest of the way.
"They came out in a different gear than we were playing at," said a
frustrated Erik Spoelstra, coach of the two-time defending NBA
San Antonio put on an offensive clinic in the opening half combined
with remarkable shooting accuracy.
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The Spurs hit 25 of 33 shots for a 75.8 percent shooting percentage
that was an NBA Finals record for a half.
San Antonio also applied their high energy pressure on the defensive
end, taking advantage of some sloppy play by the Heat to create 20
turnovers, including seven committed by James.
Game Four of the National Basketball Association championship series
will be played on Thursday on the Miami Heat's home court.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Gene Cherry)
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