NBA Finals: Momentum of 3-point shooting swung the Heat's way

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

Ginobili and his team couldn't out shoot the Heat's wings. (USATSI)
Manu Ginobili and his team couldn't out shoot the Heat's wings. (USATSI)

MIAMI -- The San Antonio Spurs were riding the outside shooting from wings like Danny Green and Gary Neal in the first half as they tried to stay within striking distance of the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Green was carrying his teammates with 12 points on 4 of 4 shooting, all of his makes coming from behind the 3-point line. Neal had eight points with six of them coming on his two 3-point attempts during the first half.

The Spurs were shooting 70 percent from downtown and within five points of Miami at the half. The Heat were also shooting well from 3-point range, making 4 of their 8 attempts from downtown in the first 24 minutes, but they were having problems getting free from defenders behind the arc. The shooting ability of the Spurs and the shooting frequency of the Heat completely reversed course in the second half, and that's when the floodgates opened. Four different Heat shooters made 3-pointers as the team went 6 of 11 from downtown to close out the game.

"Yeah, that's Miami Heat basketball," Dwyane Wade said after the 103-84 Game 2 victory. "That's the way we won all year getting everyone involved, and that's what we like to see. Obviously, there are going to be certain games where guys will have to be special, but we like to have games like this where everyone is involved and the ball is moving around and guys are feeling like they're involved and they're comfortable and confident shooting their shots."

The Spurs made just 3 of 10 from 3-point range in the second half and could only get open for six of those attempts before Spurs coach Gregg Popovich put in his garbage time unit and got Tracy McGrady some playing time in the NBA Finals. Danny Green only got free for one attempt from downtown in the second half during his 11:01 on the floor. He finished the game with 17 points on 6 of 6 from the field and 5 of 5 from 3-point range. But it's nothing he can really feel like hanging his hat on right now.

"At this point, it doesn't really matter," Green admitted. "Hopefully next game I can continue to help my team when we move the ball and knock down shots and make the game easier for [Tony Parker] and [Tim Duncan]. At this point, regardless of the numbers, it was a team loss. We lost."

LeBron James found Mike Miller and Ray Allen for wide-open threes in the second half by getting the ball into the middle of the defense and kicking it out to open shooters on the right side of the floor. Two of his three assists during the second half came on lightning quick cross-court passes that seemed to catch the Spurs' defense completely off-guard.

"That's what he does," Green said about LeBron's ability to suck the defense in and find his shooters. "He's been doing it all year. Tonight they were hitting and we weren't rotating to them fast enough. They did a good job of that and he was just being patient with the double teams and finding guys and they were knicking down shots."

These two teams rely on 3-point shooting to really put their opponents on their heels. They've done this all season long. To continue success in the postseason, they'll have to avoid the execution and defensive lapses we saw the Spurs suffer in the second half of Game 2.

 
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