dominate Heat again, move one win from NBA title
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[June 13, 2014]
MIAMI (Reuters) - The visiting San
Antonio Spurs dominated the Miami Heat again, crushing the two-time
defending champions 107-86 in Game Four of the NBA Finals on Thursday to
move within one victory of clinching the championship.
The one-sided win gave the Spurs, who routed the Heat by 19
points in Game Three in Miami, a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals and put
them in position to claim a fifth championship in 15 years when the
series shifts to San Antonio for Game Five on Sunday.
Kawhi Leonard led San Antonio's balanced, ball-sharing attack with
20 points along with 14 rebounds and Tony Parker added 19 points as
all 13 players on the roster joined in the scoring spree for the
Spurs, who led 55-36 at the intermission.
James, a shadow of himself during the first half, came alive in the
third quarter in scoring 19 of Miami's 21 points but it was not
enough to slow the dazzling Spurs.
Four-time NBA most valuable player James led the Heat with 28
points, with Chris Bosh next highest with 12.
San Antonio put on a sensational offensive show in Game Three by
shooting an NBA Finals record of 76 percent in the first half of
that runaway road win.
On Thursday, they put themselves in position to avenge last year's
agonizing, seven-game finals loss to Miami with another sublime
display of ball movement and motion that produced wide open
three-point chances and open layups and dunks.
The Spurs led by nine after the first quarter, by 19 at the half and
by 24 heading into the fourth quarter.
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Two other less heralded Spurs stood out through their contributions.
Australian backup guard Patty Mills scored 14 points, including
4-of-6 from three-point range, and France's Boris Diaw had a great
all-round game with eight points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
It would take a record comeback for Miami to claim a third
successive NBA crown. No team has ever prevailed in the NBA finals
after falling behind 3-1.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Ian Ransom)
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