Living on the West Coast is a pain at times.
I got off of work a little later than usual, and realizing the fact that I have a one hour-plus commute to/from work every day, I knew that I'd miss part of Game 3 of the NBA Finals. There's this feeling you get when the clock strikes and you know you're behind schedule that you feel like you're missing everything. When 6 p.m. hit, I just knew that LeBron had dunked on somebody, Manu had flopped his most egregious flop ever and Bosh was probably photobombing the three-man TV crew.
I thought I had missed everything. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs decided to make (almost) everything. Per SLAMonline, the Spurs are alright at shooting the basketball:
Just how dialed in were the Spurs? They missed one field goal in the first quarter while amassing 41 points. At one point, they were 19-21 from the field, and they finished the opening half with a whopping 71 points. On the game, they shot 59 percent as a team, led by Kawhi Leonard’s 10-13 and Danny Green’s 7-8. Those totals made Miami’s 51.6 percent shooting, including 17-26 between Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, look pedestrian.
The San Antonio Spurs beat the brakes off the Miami Heat 111-92 on Tuesday night, and it's the Heat's first home loss of the 2014 NBA Playoffs as well. Evidently, shooting with this high a level of efficiency causes things to break, as the printed-out shot chart at the American Airlines Arena had Kawhi Leonard even making threes from out of bounds.
According to shot chart handed out at the game, Spurs are shooting so well that Kawhi hit a 3 from out of bounds pic.twitter.com/6VeNvs3Nqt
— Jonathan Abrams (@Jpdabrams) June 11, 2014
So, What Did Ed Learn From Game 3 Of The NBA Finals?
That this iteration of the San Antonio Spurs might be the best shooting team we've seen maybe ever.
Not to mention that this Spurs team is also one of the finer collections of basketball intelligence in a long time as well. Gregg Popovich's ability to leverage his players' IQ by using ball movement, spacing and individual brilliance means that when San Antone's clicking, it really doesn't matter who's playing defense — it's probably going to end poorly for that team.
So far in the 2014 NBA Playoffs, the Spurs have five guys (now I need a burger) shooting above 40% from 3-point range. (Green, Marco Belinelli, Boris Diaw, Tony Parker and Leonard) and Manu Ginobili (38%) and Patty Mills (35%) aren't far behind. Everyone on the team is extremely proficient from the free throw line, and everything that the Spurs offense is built on means that the expectation is to get the highest percentage shot possible. Even out-of-control Ginobili makes everything. (All GIFs courtesy of SB Nation)
However, the star of the night was Kawhi "Jumper Cables Straight Back Braids" Leonard. The man clearly reread our piece from yesterday that paid homage to those still wearing cornrows, and it's the type of thing that makes you wonder if this Spurs dynasty will ever end. When I finally got to the bar, the homie Philip was like, "Yo, cornrows ain't missing tonight. This is all your fault." I guess that's necessary to say when Leonard scores 16 points in the first quarter and makes his first five shots.
Also, he kinda truck-sticked Chris Bosh into oblivion.
Is this series over? Not even close. For all we know, LeBron will come back in Game 4 and score 50 points in the first half and it wouldn't even be a surprise. However, the continual wizardry that Popovich's Spurs keep pulling off feels like a cheat code. Oh yeah, I already said they did that in Game 1. Well fine, maybe this Spurs team is just that damn good.
Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”