June 12, 2013
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NBA - 3rd Finals - San Antonio Spurs thashed the team of Miami with 113-77

NBA - 3rd Finals - San Antonio Spurs thashed the team of Miami with 113-77

The “European” team of San Antonio Spurs is now 2-1 in victories but the psychology is 100% with Duncan and his pals since the nearly 40 points victory is giving them the upper hand for the title.
 

Tim Duncan blocked a shot by Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers, hustled to the baseline to recover the ball and slapped it ahead before diving into the stands. Kawhi Leonard then chased down the loose ball, diving into the front row along the sideline to save it.
The end result was two Danny Green free throws, but the sequence embodied the scrappy and relentless effort the San Antonio Spurs used during a demoralizing run to demolish the Heat, 113-77, at AT&T Center to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
 

The Spurs didn’t necessarily need to have brilliant performances from Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili — the three holdovers from the past three championship teams — because they got more than enough support from the likes of Green, Gary Neal and Leonard, a trio making their NBA Finals debut.
Green led all scorers with 27 points, Neal had 24 and Leonard had 14 points and 12 rebounds while continuing to harass LeBron James into another subpar performance.
The team that has won Game 3 with the series tied 1-1 has gone on to win the championship 11 of the past 12 times. The only team to lose in that scenario was the Heat, which lost the final three games against the Dallas Mavericks two years ago.
 

Miami will have a hard time pulling off that feat since the Spurs haven’t lost consecutive games with Duncan, Parker and Ginobili in the lineup since mid-December. After an embarrassing 19-point loss in Miami two days ago, the Spurs were able to keep that streak together.
Parker was able to leave the game momentarily with an injury and not have to worry about returning for the closing stretch because Miami’s all-star trio of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh never appeared to step off the plane from Miami.
James had four points at halftime for the second game in a row, with the long arms of Leonard and the pesky aggressiveness of Green forcing him to play out of rhythm. Other than an eight-point burst late in the third quarter, James appeared flustered and unable to find his desired spots to score. He settled for long jumpers and was tentative as he attacked the basket, which contributed to him finishing with just 15 points on 7 for 21 shooting.
 

The Spurs have tried to make James’s supporting cast beat them, but James has yet to find his groove through the first three games. James is averaging just 16.7 points in this series and has failed to score at least 20 points in three consecutive games for the first time since Games 3, 4 and 5 of the 2011 NBA Finals against Dallas, which humiliating him to the point that he responded with two more most valuable player awards, an NBA championship and a gold medal.
Wade scored just four of his team-high 16 points second half and Bosh again had 12 points and 10 rebounds, but the Heat wasn’t able to get same contributions from its role players, as in Game 2. Mike Miller was the only reserve to score in double figures, as he made all five of his three-point attempts to finish with 15 points. Chalmers was held scoreless after providing 19 points in Game 2.
Without Miller, the game likely would’ve been over much earlier. He made three three-pointers in the first half, bringing the Heat within 43-42. Wade made a reverse layup to tie the game at 44, but the Spurs responded with back-to-back three-pointers to end the half, with Neal barely beating the shot clock to send his team into the locker room with a 50-44 lead.
 

The Heat bombarded the Spurs in Game 2 with an impressive 33-5 run in the second half, but the Spurs had a rebuttal of their own. They outscored Miami 33-10 over a 12-minute stretch from the second quarter and the third period, taking a 75-54 when reserve Cory Joseph stole a pass from James and made a layup. Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich pulled his starters but his team extended the lead to 37 when reserve DeJuan Blair made a two-handed dunk in the final minute.
Neal, an undrafted journeyman from Baltimore who bounced around from La Salle to Towson, and from Spain to Italy, before he finally arrived in the NBA as a 26-year-old rookie. He has found his nitch as a valued scorer off the bench, but on Tuesday – in a game the Spurs needed to have to hold on to home court advantage – Neal put the Spurs on his back with a dazzling shooting display.
 

Neal buried five three-pointers of the Spurs’ NBA Finals-record 16 three-pointers. At the start of the fourth quarter, Neal hit a long three-pointer with Heat center Chris Andersen defending to put the Spurs ahead by 18, then came around a Matt Bonner screen to bury another three-pointer on the next possession to give the Spurs an 81-63 lead. At the time, Neal had matched Heat all-stars James and Wade in scoring.
 

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Positions - Mens Division A

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1. Petrolina A.E.K. Larnakas 13/2 28
2. Keravnos Strovolou 12/3 27
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