SAN ANTONIO – From big threes to Big Three, the Spurs had it all in the NBA Finals’ return to San Antonio.
Danny Green made seven of the Spurs’ 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 a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Green scored 27 points and Gary Neal made six three-pointers while scoring 24 as San Antonio went 16 of 32 from behind the arc, rolling to the third-biggest victory in Finals history.
Duncan bounced back from his worst game ever in the Finals, and the Spurs’ combination of fresh faces and old reliables dominated the NBA’s winningest team before an eager crowd that hadn’t seen the Finals here since 2007.
“It shouldn’t be a surprise,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “These are the last two teams standing. I don’t think either one of them is going to get down if they have a bad night.”
The Spurs were as good as fans remembered in the old days, shutting down LeBron James until they had built a huge lead late in the third quarter.
James finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, but missed 11 of his first 13 shots against the excellent defense of Kawhi Leonard, who had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and other Spurs.
“I’m just missing shots,” James said.
“They’re going under my pick-and-rolls. They’re daring me to shoot and anytime I get into the paint, they’re putting two bodies in front of me. When I get in transition, they’re putting two bodies in front of me.
“They’re doing a good job, but also I’ve got to be able to knock down shots.”
Game 4 is Thursday in San Antonio, where the Heat is 3-22 in the regular season and so far has zero wins and one bad beating in the postseason.
“We got what we deserved,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I didn’t even recognize the team that was out there tonight.”
Duncan shot 3 of 13 for nine points, his worst performance ever in his 25 NBA Finals games, in the Heat’s 103-84 victory Sunday. Tony Parker wasn’t much better, shooting 5 of 14 and committing five turnovers, and Manu Ginobili admitted afterward the veteran trio had to play well for the Spurs to win.
They were fine, but the lesser-knowns were better.
Parker and Ginobili combined for 14 assists, but the bigger story was the guys who had never played on this stage before this season.
• Neal, who went undrafted after playing for LaSalle and Towson, then playing overseas for three seasons in Italy, Spain and Turkey.
• Green, who had been cut multiple times — including by James’ Cavaliers — and now has the shot to stick.
• Leonard, the draft-night trade acquisition from San Diego State who played the NBA’s four-time MVP to a stalemate.
Mike Miller made all five three-pointers and scored 15 points for the Heat, which broke open Sunday’s game and seemingly seized momentum in the series with a 33-5 run in the second half.
The Spurs seized it right back, improving to 18-7 in the Finals, the best winning rate of any team with 20 or more games.
Parker is scheduled to have an MRI on a tight hamstring Wednesday, leaving his availability for Game 4 up in the air.