The Miami Heat last played the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals at home in two classic victories. But in Game 3 of the 2014 NBA Finals on June 10, the Spurs had their chance to finally erase the memories of their last playoff visit to Miami. While the Heat won last year's championship at home with big comebacks, there was no coming back from yielding the hottest half in playoff history, which the Spurs used to roll to a 111-92 win.
By the time the carnage in the first quarter was over, the Spurs had 41 points, hit 13-of-15 shots, 4-of-4 three pointers and 11-of-13 free throws. Minutes later, the Spurs had hit 19-of-21 shots overall, including 10 in a row, while Kawhi Leonard had 18 points on 6-of-6 shooting.
Even after the Heat made some defensive stops, they went into halftime with a 71-50 deficit. By then, the Spurs had hit 25-of-33 shots for a 75.8 shooting percentage -- the highest for a half in NBA Finals history. Miami had hit 55.9 percent of its own first half shots, but it made no real difference.
Nevertheless, the Heat still had a run left in them, as they closed the gap to as little as seven points once the Spurs went a little cold. However, Miami only got as close as 10 points in the fourth quarter, as San Antonio used one last mini run to put Game 3 away. There would be no improbable collapse at the end, like in Game 6 at Miami last year.
All told, the Spurs ended Game 3 with a mere 59.4 shooting percentage. But they weren't the only ones to cool off late, as LeBron James had 14 first quarter points and then only eight for the rest of the night, nearly matching his seven turnovers. Yet Mario Chalmers never got going, as he went 0-for-5 for only two points.
Leonard was another story in having the game of his life, scoring 29 points -- a total he never even matched in college, yet alone the pros. Doing it in the NBA Finals is certainly good timing, especially when the Spurs needed to prove they could win in Miami and get their home court advantage back.
Now it's the Heat who must get hot in Miami again, or return to San Antonio on the brink of losing their title.