The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat have been very close in their NBA Finals matchups. The Spurs and Heat traded wins and losses in their first NBA Finals meeting, and seemed destined to do it again in 2014. But on June 12, San Antonio took a big step towards separating itself from Miami for good, in what turned out to be its third blowout victory of the series by 107-86.
On June 10, the Spurs shot 90 percent for the first 15 minutes of Game 3 and had the best shooting half in finals history. Yet as it turned out, Game 4 was even more lopsided and dominant, even though San Antonio missed some early shots. But the Heat still fell behind by 13-4 in the opening minutes and never threatened to lead after that.
Once again, the Spurs shot well over 50 percent for much of the night. Once again, Kawhi Leonard led the way with 20 points, although most every other teammate of his contributed in one way or another. Once again, LeBron James had one hot quarter and was virtually silent for the other three.
James scored 19 of the Heat's 21 third quarter points, and the Spurs still had 25 of their own. After that, James was held scoreless in the fourth quarter, yet his 28 points still equaled the combined output of Miami's other four starters. In particular, Dwayne Wade was exposed as old and gassed, as he went 1-for-10 with four points through three quarters.
The Spurs made NBA Finals history, as the first road team to ever win two straight games by 15+ points. What's more, the Spurs are making the two-time champions look like amateurs, as the Miami faithful booed their team for the lack of trouble they caused.
No two-time defending champion has been humiliated like this since the 1989 Los Angeles Lakers were swept by the Detroit Pistons. Former Lakers coach turned Heat president Pat Riley coined the term "three-peat" beforehand, but never got to achieve one -- and now he's seeing yet another three-peat effort flame out at the NBA Finals.
The Heat now must stop a coronation in Game 5 at San Antonio on June 15, if they want to redeem themselves in Miami.