Just as everyone predicted before the series began, San Antonio shooting guard Danny Green is on pace to be the MVP of the NBA Finals. Despite the fact that this series features as many as seven possible future Hall of Famers (Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Ray Allen, Dwyane Wade, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Chris Bosh), it’s Danny Green who has been leading all scorers after three games. His three-point shooting was a huge reason why the Spurs were able to utterly demolish the Heat 113-77 in Game Three and take a 2-1 series lead.
The three-point shooting clinic put on by Danny Green and his teammate Gary Neal in Tuesday night’s game was so unexpected that I didn’t even consider it as a possibility when trying to think of the least plausible things that could happen in game three. Obviously the Spurs can’t rely on the two of them to keep up their current success rate, regression to the means iis a cruel mistress, but it’s helped them survive and take a series lead despite the fact that Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili have not been having their best series.
Tony Parker actually might be the biggest question mark for the Spurs at the moment. The injury he suffered on Tuesday night has turned out to only be a mild right hamstring strain, while he still we be playing tonight the question remains: How effective will Parker be while dealing with this injury?
The Miami Heat certainly are hoping the answer to that question turns out to be “not very”. The Heat looked as if they had the momentum going into San Antonio following their blowout Game 2 win in Miami on Sunday night. Instead, the Spurs responded with a blowout of their own. Once again the blame and pressure is all on LeBron James, who has had back-to-back mediocre games. While there’s a certain fairness in criticizing James’s play so far, it’s disingenuous not to acknowledge how the Spurs defense has been contained him.
The Spurs, most notably Kawhi Leonard, have been swarming in on LeBron in the paint, effectively daring the ineffective Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh try to beat them. In neutralizing James’s scoring close to the basket, the Spurs are giving him wide open looks for jumpers which James has been missing. It’s a bit of a gamble, James has been hitting those shots a good clip throughout the regular season, but so far it’s been working. There may be a psychological element involved with this, Danny Green, a former teammate, believes that’s the case. After game three, Green noted that LeBron “stopped himself out there and we’re getting a little lucky”.
This key game four might just be decided by those two factors: Parker’s health and ineffectiveness and LeBron James’s ability to adjust to what San Antonio is doing to him defensively. It should be fascinating game and, as always, we want to hear your thoughts throughout the night. If you have predictions, comments, questions, trash talk or jokes about “Jason Kidd, Brooklyn Nets Head Coach” sent them to us! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @HunterFelt and we’ll use your running commentary throughout tonight’s liveblog. It’s game four of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs tonight at AT&T Center. Opening tip will be about 9:00pm EST/2:00 BST, but we’ll be back well before that with starting lineups, moderately related YouTube clips and hopefully your emails and tweets in a few minutes.