The Spurs turned up the heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals and shattered shooting records with an almost unfathomable stretch in which they shot 90.5 (!) percent from the field to begin the game. From the opening tip through the halftime whistle, it was clear they realized how important it was to win a game in Miami and regain the series lead.
And they came out on fire, hitting 19 of their first 21 shots. That’s hard to accomplish even in pregame shootaround with no defenders challenging their shots.
But it didn’t stop there. They would score 71 points in the first half, and some of their players simply could not miss. Danny Green hit every shot he took in the first half and chipped in for 13 points. Kawhi Leonard, too, was perfect, drilling his first six shots and scoring 18 points in the first half.
Were the Heat even playing defense? Or was it just the Spurs’ night? LeBron James did turn the ball over seven times himself, which is more than he ever has in an NBA Finals game. But it didn’t look like the Heat did anything differently. The Spurs just utilized great ball movement (as they usually do) to create open shots. And they knocked almost every single one down.
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) June 11, 2014
And history was on the side of Popovich and the Spurs after going into the half with a 71-50 lead. They’re known for closing out teams when they get ahead early, due to their methodical style of play and deep bench.
In the Gregg Popovich era, the Spurs are 46-0 in the postseason when they are up by more than 20 points at half time.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 11, 2014