SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Gary Neal may have dreamed it, though it was nothing Danny Green ever could have imagined.
Not back when he was LeBron James’ teammate in Cleveland, scoring fewer points in the entire 2009-10 season than James scored in some games.
So the idea of outscoring the four-time MVP in an NBA Finals game? “Never thought in a million years that would happen,” Green said. Two more wins and he’ll have as many championships as James, too.
Green made seven of San Antonio’s finals-record 16 three-pointers, Tim Duncan had 12 points and 14 rebounds and the Spurs clobbered the Miami Heat 113-77 on Tuesday night to take 2-1 lead in the series.
Green scored 27 points and Neal made six 3-pointers while scoring 24 as San Antonio went 16 of 32 from behind the arc, rolling to the third-biggest victory in finals history.
“They came out in the third quarter and they kicked our butt pretty good and frustration started to set in,” the Heat’s Dwyane Wade said.
“We got what we deserved,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I didn’t even recognize the team that was out there tonight.”
James started 2 for 13, then made his final four shots of the third as the Heat got within 13 before Manu Ginobili fired a nifty pass to Tiago Splitter under the basket for a score with 0.1 seconds remaining, making it 78-63 and setting the stage for the big fourth-quarter finish.
A brief flurry by James had Miami within 15 after three quarters but Neal, Green and Leonard combined on a 13-0 run to open the fourth, Green’s 3-pointer making it 91-63.
James finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, missing 11 of his first 13 shots against the excellent defense of Kawhi Leonard, who had 14 points and 12 rebounds. James was 7 of 21 from the field.
“Honestly, I just have to play better,” James said. “I can’t have a performance like tonight and expect to win.”
Mike Miller made all five 3-pointers and scored 15 points for the Heat, who had broken open Sunday’s game and seized momentum in the series with a 33-5 run in the second half.
Game 4 is Thursday, also in San Antonio, as well as Game 5. If necessary, Games 6 and 7 will return to Miami.
The Heat are 3-22 in the regular season in San Antonio and so far zero wins and one really bad beating in the postseason.
Tuesday’s victory was a potentially pivotal one for the Spurs in their quest to go 5 for 5 in the finals. Since the NBA Finals went to a 2-3-2 format in 1985, the Game 3 winner when the series was tied 1-1 has gone on to win 12 of the 13 titles – though the Heat were the lone one that didn’t, in 2011.