TrueHoop: ESPN Stats & Info
June, 17, 2013
Key to Game 5: Manu Ginobili was hot ...
And LeBron James was not.
It turns out that all Manu Ginobili needed to get his game going was a chance to start.
Ginobili’s 24 points and plenty of 3-pointers from Danny Green were the keys to supporting another big game from Tony Parker on the offensive end, and a different look for LeBron James was huge on the defensive end and pivotal to the Spurs taking a 3-2 advantage in this series.
Let’s break down the statistical highlights.
Difference Maker: Ginobili’s great game
The Elias Sports Bureau noted that Ginobili became the first player to start an NBA Finals game after not starting a game all season since Marcus Camby for the 1999 Knicks.
Ginobili made Gregg Popovich look very smart. His 24 points nearly matched the 30 points he had in the first four games of the series.
Ginobili got 50 touches of the basketball in this game and drove the ball to the basket a dozen times, both numbers far exceeding what he’d done previously in this series.
The Spurs outscored the Heat 45-33 on drives in Game 5, including 14 points when Ginobili kept the ball on his drives, and nine points on drives during the Spurs 19-1 run.
The Heat shot a series-low 39 percent on drives, including 4-of-12 from Dwyane Wade and LeBron James (who were a combined 11-of-15 for 26 points in Game 4).
Green makes it look easy
Danny Green matched Ginobili’s 24 points and made six more 3-pointers.
That gave him 25 3-pointers for the series, breaking Ray Allen’s record for most 3-pointers made in an NBA Finals. He made only 28 3-pointers in the previous three rounds of the playoffs combined.
Green was equally good whether the shot was open (3-for-5) or contested (3-for-5) in this game. He's 18-for-24 on open 3-pointers in the series, 7-for-14 when contested.
Boris Diaw: Defensive Stopper
The other big adjustment the Spurs made was to throw one more look his way-- putting Boris Diaw on him for an extended period of time.
James was 1-for-8 shooting against Diaw in Game 5, and 7-of-14 against all other defenders.
James’ first four shot attempts against Diaw were all at least 19 feet from the basket, and when he changed course and posted up, he was 0-for-3 on those attempts.
The Spurs did a good job at thwarting the Heat both from inside and outside. They contested eight of Miami's 12 shot attempts from beyond 10 feet in the first quarter. The Heat missed all eight of those shots.
Looking ahead …
The winner of Game 5 of the Finals when a series is tied, 2-2, has won seven of 10 possible titles under the 2-3-2 format.
The Heat will try to become the fourth team within that format (which dates to 1985) to win Games 6 and 7 at home in the Finals after trailing, 3-2. The other three are the 1988 Lakers, 1994 Rockets and 2010 Lakers.
The last team to defeat the defending NBA champ in the Finals was the 2005 Spurs who beat the Detroit Pistons.
The Heat have not lost consecutive games since January 8-10. Losing on Tuesday would end their streak and their season.
The Spurs are 14-2 in potential series-clinching games played on the road since the start of the 2002-03 postseason. The rest of the NBA is 61-75 in that span.
June, 14, 2013
By Ryan Feldman
ESPN Stats & Information
ESPN Stats & Information
Getty ImagesLeBron James and Dwyane Wade could be on the verge of their second NBA title together, but that doesn’t compare to the six rings for Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.Fifteen years ago today, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen led the Chicago Bulls to their third straight NBA Championship and sixth title in an eight-year span.
Jordan's game-winning shot over Bryon Russell signaled the end of the Bulls dynasty.
Fifteen years later, another dynamic duo -- LeBron James and Dwyane Wade -- is potentially on the verge of a second straight NBA Championship while competing in its third straight NBA Finals.
Which is the better duo: Jordan/Pippen or James/Wade? Let's compare their three-year playoff runs.
Jordan and Pippen were the better scoring duo but James and Wade have scored more efficiently than the Bulls duo did from 1996-98. During that run, Jordan and Pippen shot just 44 percent overall and 29 percent on 3-pointers, while James and Wade have shot 48 percent overall and 31 percent on 3-pointers over the last three postseasons.
The Heat duo has also trumped the Bulls duo from 1996-98 in rebounds, assists and blocks per game.
However, the 1991-93 Jordan-Pippen combo has outdone James and Wade in virtually every category. They totaled more points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks with a better field goal percentage and 3-point percentage than the Heat duo.
Which duo is more clutch?
The biggest difference between the duos is their performance on the biggest stage -- the NBA Finals -- in clutch time -- the last five minutes with the score within five points.
In the 1998 NBA Finals, the Bulls scored 60 points in clutch time. In the last three NBA Finals, the Heat have scored a combined 63 points in clutch time.
Jordan alone scored 30 points in clutch time in the 1998 NBA Finals, the most by any player in an NBA Finals series since 1997. Jordan didn't commit a single turnover in clutch time in that series.
Jordan and Pippen combined to score 38 points in clutch time in the 1998 NBA Finals, the same amount of points James and Wade have scored in clutch time combined in the last three NBA Finals series.
The Bulls scored 0.98 points per play in clutch time in the 1998 NBA Finals, compared to the 0.78 points per play in clutch time for the Heat over the last three NBA Finals.
James is shooting 4-for-15 from the field (27%), including 1-for-9 on 3-pointers (11%), in clutch time over the last three NBA Finals series.
If James, Wade and the Heat are going to close out the Spurs, there's a good chance it will come down to clutch time. If it does, the Spurs will be prepared. In their five NBA Finals series, the Spurs have outscored their opponents by 40 points (124-84) in clutch time. They've done so by scoring a point per play and shooting 48 percent on 3-point attempts.
June, 14, 2013
Each team has its shooting strengths and weaknesses through two games.
Dwyane Wade came up with a vintage performance, the kind that the San Antonio Spurs had no answer for, and exactly the kind the Miami Heat needed to even the NBA Finals.
Chris Bosh came through too, with a 20-10 game. And all LeBron James did was score a personal-Finals high 33 points.
The Heat improved to 6-0 this postseason following a loss, and have won 12 straight games following a loss dating back to the regular season.
The Spurs' two losses in this series equaled their total from the first three rounds, in which they went 12-2.
Let’s take a look at some of the statistical highlights from today’s game.
Wade at his best
Wade finished with 32 points and six steals, the first player to hit those benchmarks in an NBA Finals game since Isiah Thomas for the Detroit Pistons in an epic Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers (43 points, six steals).
Tweak the numbers a little bit and you net a list of the five players with 30 points, five rebounds and five steals in an NBA Finals game, via the Elias Sports Bureau.
It puts Wade in pretty good company.
Wade was 9-for-11 in the paint and scored on all six of his drives to the basket. He was averaging nine points in the paint on 58 percent shooting through the first three games of the series.
James is king from outside the paint
LeBron James has a history of shooting struggles from outside the paint in NBA Finals games against the Spurs. He had made only 15 of 77 shots prior to Game 4.
But in this game, he was in can’t-miss mode, netting eight baskets on 11 shots from outside the paint.
The Elias Sports Bureau notes that James and Wade are the first teammates to each score 30 points in an NBA Finals road win since Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant did it once in 2001 and once in 2002.
James actually had his fewest touches of the basketball in this series, with 63. Wade (58) and Bosh (38) each had their most in any game in this series.
Bosh brings it
Bosh finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, making him the first Heat player to hit those plateaus in an NBA Finals game.
The only player in the last 25 years to reach those numbers in a road Finals win was Shaquille O'Neal in the 2000 Finals at the Pacers.
Key to the game: Spurs pick-and-roll comes to halt
The Spurs scored a series-high 29 points on Tony Parker drives, but only eight in the second half after running Parker off fewer screens.
Parker ran off nine screens in the second half and those led to 3-for-8 Spurs shooting, and eight points.
The Spurs scored 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting in the first half, running Parker off 31 screens.
When an NBA Finals series is tied 2-2, the Game 5 winner has gone on to win seven of 10 series under the 2-3-2 format that began in 1985.
This is the third time the Spurs have been tied 2-2 in an NBA Finals. They won the previous two against the Nets in 2003 and Pistons in 2005.
The Heat have won three of four series in the James/Wade/Bosh era when the series was tied 2-2, with the loss coming to the Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals.
June, 13, 2013
By ESPN Stats & Info
Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images
LeBron James is averaging 16.7 PPG on 39 percent shooting against the Spurs in the NBA Finals.
LeBron James has scored just 50 points for the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals, his fewest over a three-game span (regular or postseason) since the 2011 Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.
After shooting 62.7 percent against the Milwaukee Bucks, James’ highest shooting percentage in any career playoff series, he’s shooting 38.9 percent in the NBA Finals, his lowest shooting percentage in any postseason series with the Heat.
If it holds, James’ field goal percentage would be the third lowest of all time in the NBA Finals by a player who won the regular-season MVP, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
How is this happening?
Getting farther from the basket
One factor is shot distance, as James has moved farther away from the basket throughout the playoffs.
His average shot distance has increased in each series, beginning with an average distance of 8.5 feet in the first round versus the Bucks to 13.3 feet in the Finals versus the San Antonio Spurs.
James continues to struggle with his midrange jump shooting (outside the paint and inside the 3-point line) in his NBA Finals career. He’s shooting 23 percent from that area, including going just 4-for-17 (23.5 percent) in this season’s Finals.
The Spurs have had success keeping him out of the paint. James has attempted 17 midrange shots through three games after attempting 22 such shots in the 2012 NBA Finals.
In Game 3, James failed to attempt a free throw for the first time in his Heat playoff career. In fact, he has shot just six free throws in three games this series.
To compare, James averaged 7.7 free throw attempts per game in the Eastern Conference finals versus the Pacers. Even that was down from the 8.5 per game he averaged in the first two rounds this postseason and the 10.3 he averaged in his playoff career entering the 2013 postseason.
The significant reduction in looks from the charity stripe could explain why James’ scoring average has dropped to 16.7 PPG in the Finals. That would be the lowest of any individual playoff round in his career if it holds up.
June, 12, 2013
By ESPN Stats & Info
Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports
Danny Green (left) and Gary Neal both broke a franchise record in the Spurs' big win.
Danny Green (7-for-9) and Gary Neal (6-for-10) both broke the Spurs franchise record for 3-pointers in an NBA Finals game (five) and Green was one shy of the NBA record (Ray Allen in 2010). Green has made 16 3-pointers through three games, already the most in an NBA Finals series in team history and easily the most of any player through the first three games of an NBA Finals series.
As a team, the Spurs' 16 3-pointers are a new NBA Finals record.
The New Big Three
The big three came through for San Antonio, but it might not be the names you’re accustomed to.
Green, Neal and Kawhi Leonard combined to score 65 points on 50 percent shooting, including 15-for-22 from 3-point range.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined to score just 43 points on 18-for-46 shooting (39.1 percent).
The Spurs' typical big three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined for just 25 points, but Duncan pulled down 14 rebounds and the latter two combined for 14 assists.
Green has scored 56 points in this series to lead all players, six more than LeBron James and 15 more than any of his teammates.
Key to the Game: Spurs shut down the pick-and-roll
Defensively, the Spurs bottled up the James-Mario Chalmers pick-and-roll. In Game 2, the Heat shot 7-for-9 with no turnovers off that pick-and-roll combo, but in Game 3 it netted them no field-goal attempts and three turnovers.
James has been held under 20 points in all three games in the series, only the second time that’s happened to him in his career (he’s played 134 playoff games). The other time it happened was in Games 3-5 of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, the only postseason series Miami has lost since James joined the team.
He was -32 in this game, the worst plus/minus of his NBA career. He’s played three NBA Finals games in San Antonio (two with Cleveland in 2007), posting a negative plus/minus in all three games and shooting 34.5 percent in the three games combined.
Stat of the Night
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili registered their 100th playoff win together, the second trio in NBA history to reach 100 (Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper won 110).
The Spurs have played 25 NBA Finals games in franchise history and have yet to trail in the series. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the most NBA Finals games played before trailing in NBA history.
The Heat are 4-5 in their past nine games after going 46-3 in their previous 49 games dating to the regular season. Since the 2-3-2 format began in 1985, the Game 3 winner of a tied NBA Finals series has gone on to win the series almost 93 percent of the time (12-1).
June, 11, 2013
Each team has its shooting strengths and weaknesses through two games.The winner of Game 3 figures to have a pretty significant edge in the NBA Finals, given the recent history.
Since the 2-3-2 format began in 1985, the Game 3 winner of a tied NBA Finals series goes on to win the series 12 out of 13 times.
Let's take a look at five of the statistical storylines to watch that could make a difference in which team has that advantage.
How do the Spurs respond to being blown out?
The Spurs are 3-0 this season following a loss by at least 19 points. They are 28-11 following such a loss since the 2002-03 season (when Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan first played together).
If the Spurs lose Game 3, it will be the first time that they have trailed in the NBA Finals in franchise history. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that among teams to appear in at least one NBA Finals, the Spurs and Sacramento Kings franchise are the only teams to have never trailed in a Finals series.
How do the Heat respond to their win?
The Heat put the Spurs right where they wanted them by losing Game 1.
In the LeBron James/Dwyane Wade/Chris Bosh "Big 3" era (since 2011 postseason), the Heat have lost a Game 1 of a series four times.
Following a Game 1 loss, Miami is a perfect 13-0 in games within those series over that span.
The Heat scored 103 points in their Game 2 win. They are 21-1 when scoring 100 or more points in postseason games in the Big 3 Era.
Lebron and the 20-point mark
The Spurs have held LeBron James under 20 points in both games this series.
James has played 133 career games in the postseason and been held under 20 points in three straight games just once.
It happened in the 2011 NBA Finals against the Mavericks in Games 3-5.
That was the last postseason series the Heat have lost.
Heat have the edge from in-close
The Heat shot 15-of-21 from inside five feet in Game 2 and are shooting 30-for-47 (64 percent) on such shots in the series. LeBron James, Chris Andersen and Norris Cole have been the Heat’s Big 3 on those shots, making 16 of 21.
The Spurs were 11-of-24 (46 percent) from inside five feet in Game 2, their second-worst percentage on those shots in a game this postseason.
The Spurs are shooting 24-of-50 (48 percent) inside five feet during the series after shooting 63 percent on such shots in the postseason prior to the NBA Finals. The two players who have had the most trouble -- Ginobili (2-of-7) and Tiago Splitter (1-of-5, including one shot rejected by James).
Spurs matchup of note: Tony Parker in pick-and-roll vs Heat defense
The big men for the Heat did not hedge out to help on Tony Parker in the pick-and-roll in the first half, and the Spurs scored 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting off Parker’s pick and rolls. That followed Game 1, in which the Spurs scored 20 points on Parker pick-and-rolls.
In the second half, the Heat were more aggressive in helping on Parker (such as in the opening minute of the fourth quarter when Chris Andersen and Mario Chalmers fought through two screens to contest Parker’s attempt), and the Spurs went 1-for-6 on the nine instances in which they ran a pick-and-roll through him.
Parker was 0-for-3 in his shots in the second half off the pick-and-roll. He’s averaging 10.4 points-per-game on pick-and-rolls this postseason, second-most to Chris Paul's 12.0.
June, 9, 2013
The Heat were almost perfect from the field for an eight-minute stretch.
It took one quick basketball blitz by the Miami Heat to even up the NBA Finals.
The Heat's run in the closing minutes of the third and fourth quarters was the knockout moment they missed out on in Game 1.
They've now won their last 11 games following a loss, including all five they’ve played this postseason. They are 4-0 in Game 2s following a Game 1 loss in the “Big 3” era.
The loss snapped the Spurs’ six-game NBA Finals winning streak.
Only two teams have had that long of a winning streak in the Finals—the Los Angeles Lakers (8) from 2001 to 2002 and the Houston Rockets (6) from 1994 to 1995.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the series evener.
Keys to the win
It was a 33-5 Heat run over a span of just under eight minutes beginning late in the third quarter that was the difference in the game.
In that spurt, the Heat made 12-of-13 shots, including 5-for-5 from 3-point range.
The Spurs were 2-for-10 with six turnovers over that same time period.
The Heat had two things going for them in this contest: success with drives-and-kicks early, and then pick-and-rolls in the latter part of the game.
The Heat scored 15 first-half points on drives that led to kickouts, more than twice as many points as they had on those plays in Game 1.
The Heat did particularly well when Dwyane Wade drove to the basket, as noted in the chart on the right.
The pick-and-roll worked to perfection during the big run. Over the final 1:50 of the third quarter and the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, Miami made five of six shots off pick and rolls, netting 13 points.
James was 5-for-5 for 11 points during the run, and also had a major impact on the defensive end with the night’s most impressive blocked shot.
The Mario Chalmers-James pick-and-roll combo netted 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting in Game 2 after going scoreless on 0-of-4 shooting in Game 1.
James was held to four first-half points, tying his NBA Finals low for points in a half (done once against the Spurs in 2007 and once against the Mavericks in 2011). James’ career-low for points in the first half of a playoff game is two, done earlier this postseason against the Bulls.
This was more about how he finished though. He had four baskets in the fourth quarter after making only three in the first three.
Bosh brings needed support
Chris Bosh was 6-for-10 from the field, and finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Heat have now won 30 straight games in which Bosh shot 50 percent from the field or better.
Duncan a non-factor
Tim Duncan was held to 3-for-13 shooting from the field, including 0-for-5 from the left side, just outside the lane. This marked his worst shooting game in the NBA Finals in his career.
This was Duncan’s 206th career playoff game. He’s only shot worse from the field than his 23 percent on five other occasions.
As a team, the Spurs struggled with their shooting.
The Spurs were 10-of-23 inside five feet Sunday, their second-worst shooting performance from that distance of the postseason. By comparison, the Heat shot 15-of-21 inside 5 feet in Game 2, and are shooting 64 percent on such shots in the series.
Since the 2-3-2 format began in 1985, the Game 3 winner of a tied NBA Finals series goes on to win the series 92.3 percent of the time (12-1).
June, 8, 2013
Dwyane Wade has not performed at the same level in the postseason as he did in the regular season.
1. During the regular season, Wade and Bosh shot a combined 61 percent from inside the paint.
In the postseason, as their shot charts show, they are a combined 52 percent from the field.
2. LeBron James made three of four shots in the paint in the second half against the Spurs. His teammates were a combined 4-for-13, including 2-for-8 from Bosh and Wade.
3. Bosh is 14-for-50 from the field in his past five games, including 3-for-16 in the paint. He was one for four in the paint in Game 1 against the Spurs.
Of the 85 shots Bosh has taken this postseason, 49 have been from at least 15 feet out, including 12 of the 16 he took in game 1.
Here's a look at his shot chart, comparing his regular season with his postseason.
4. Wade is averaging 2.3 points per game in the fourth quarter this postseason. He was held scoreless in the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Wade is a respectable 12-for-20 when shooting from inside the paint but has one basket outside the paint in the fourth quarter or overtime this entire postseason. He averaged 5.8 points and had 37 hoops from outside the paint in the 63 games in which he played the fourth quarter or overtime in the regular season.
5. Wade has shot 50 percent or better from the field in six games this postseason. The Heat have won all six of them. The Heat are 44-5 this season (regular season and playoffs combined) when Wade makes at least half of his shots.
Likewise, the Heat are 9-0 in games in which Bosh makes at least half of his shots this postseason. They’ve won the past 29 games in which Bosh shoots 50 percent or better.
June, 7, 2013
Tony Parker came up clutch for the Spurs in Game 1 ...
And the Heat were off-the-mark in the fourth quarter.
Their fourth-quarter rally and defensive stand powered them to a victory over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. The veteran play of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan proved to be the biggest factors in this victory. Let's run through the highlights.
Play of the Game: Parker’s big shots
Parker was 2-for-4 on contested jumpers in the final 3:30, including a shot-clock beating jumper with 5.2 seconds remaining to clinch the win.
Prior to that stretch, Parker was 0-for-3 on the contested jumpers, and the Spurs were 4-for-25 as a team. They finished 6-for-30, but Parker’s beat the-shot clock make in the final seconds was the biggest of the game.
Parker made 3-of-5 mid-range jumpers in the game. He’s shooting 46 percent on mid-range 2s this postseason. His career average on those shots is only 39 percent.
Spurs knocked on the door all night, finally broke through
The Heat took a 21-19 lead with 2:47 left in the first quarter and held that advantage for most of the rest of the game.
The Spurs missed 12 straight shots that would have tied or taken the lead, but finally broke through, going ahead briefly on a Parker free throw with 7:47 left in that game, then getting a Kawhi Leonard putback with seven minutes remaining that sparked an 8-1 run.
Historical Perspective: Duncan’s 20-14
The 37-year-old Duncan finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Only one player older than Duncan has had a 20-point 14 rebound game in the NBA Finals—Kareem Abdul-Jabbar- who did so at age 38 twice in three days in 1985.
Historical perspective: LeBron’s Triple-Double
LeBron James had 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists. His 10 playoff triple-doubles are tied for the third-most all-time with Larry Bird and Rajon Rondo. Only Magic Johnson (30) and Jason Kidd (11) have more.
This was James’ third career triple-double in the NBA Finals. That ranks second-most all-time, trailing only Johnson’s eight.
The Elias Sports Bureau notes that James is also the third player to have a triple-double in consecutive NBA Finals Games (he had one in Game 5 of last year’s Finals), joining Wilt Chamberlain (1967) and Johnson (1984).
Elias also notes that he has twice had at least 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists in a playoff loss. In NBA history, teams with a player that went 18-18-10 in a playoff game are 13-5.
The last player prior to James to reach those numbers in a playoff loss was Billy Cunningham for the 1971 76ers.
Lastly: This is the third time in the last 20 seasons that a player had a triple-double in an NBA Finals loss. Two of those were by LeBron James (one in 2011, one this season). The other was by Jason Kidd in 2002.
The one player able to stop James was Kawhi Leonard. James was 2-for-8 shooting against him, 5-for-8 against everyone else.
In NBA Finals history, the winner of Game 1 has gone on to win the series 71.2 percent (47-19) of the time. However, the Game 1 winner has lost each of the last two NBA Finals (Heat in 2011, Thunder in 2012).
The Heat have been down 1-0 in a playoff series four times in the James/Bosh/Wade era. In each of the other three instances, the Heat swept the next four games, including last year’s NBA Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
June, 6, 2013
By Ernest Tolden, ESPN Stats & Info
Game 1 will be the first time the Heat and Spurs have met at full strength in more than two years.
The Miami Heat are in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive season and for the fourth time in franchise history (2-1). The boys from South Beach are seeking to be the first team to win back-to-back NBA titles since the Lakers did it in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
On the other hand, the San Antonio Spurs are in the Finals for the fifth time in franchise history and the first time since the 2006-07 season. The Spurs are 4-0 all-time in the Finals and are one of just two teams with multiple NBA titles without a series loss (Bulls, 6-0).
There have been 66 NBA Finals all-time. The winner of Game 1 has gone on to win the series 71.2 percent (47-19) of the time. However, the Game 1 winner has lost each of the last two NBA Finals (Heat in 2011, Thunder in 2012).
The Spurs have never lost Game 1 in the NBA Finals. They are one of two teams with a perfect record in the opening game of the NBA Finals.
A Battle of Big Threes
The Heat and Spurs met twice during the 2012-13 regular season, with the Heat winning both games. However, the two teams haven’t met at full strength in more than two years.
On March 31 in San Antonio, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Manu Ginobili did not play. On Nov. 9 in Miami, none of the Spurs’ Big Three played. And in the teams’ lone meeting in the 2011-12 season, on Jan. 17, Wade and Ginobili did not play.
The previous time these teams’ Big Threes met was on March 14, 2011, which the Heat won 110-80; it was the first season of Miami's Big Three.
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Ginobili have recorded 98 postseason wins as a trio, which ranks second all-time behind 110 from Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper.
James has carried the weight of the Heat’s Big Three this postseason, averaging 26.2 points per game compared to 25.5 points per game from Wade and Chris Bosh combined.
This marks a matchup of the two best offenses this postseason.
The Heat have had the most efficient offense in the NBA this postseason. Miami averages a league-high 108.4 points per 100 possessions, with the Spurs second at 106.5. The Heat also lead the NBA in half-court efficiency, averaging 0.94 points per play, with the Spurs second at 0.93.
In transition offense, the Spurs average an NBA-high 1.28 points per play, with the Heat second at 1.26.
Duncan averages 22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds in 22 career NBA Finals games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Duncan is one of just four players all-time to average at least 22 points and 14 rebounds in the Finals.
June, 5, 2013
By ESPN Statistics & Information
Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
The Spurs and Heat both ranked in the top five in 3-point shooting and scoring off the pick-and-roll this season. Tony Parker has the most points on pick-and-roll plays this postseason.
The San Antonio Spurs will have their hands full with slowing down the Miami Heat and their quest for a second consecutive championship. Despite the challenge of limiting LeBron James and guarding a bunch of long-range shooters, San Antonio has a few matchup advantages to exploit.
The Heat and Spurs ranked among the top five teams in the NBA in 3-point shooting during the regular season, with Miami coming in second behind the Warriors.
The strong shooting from both teams has continued in the playoffs, with the Spurs and Heat ranking second and third, respectively, in 3-point shooting during the postseason.
The corner 3
The corner 3-point shot has become a staple of the Heat and Spurs. Miami made 309 corner 3-pointers this season, 35 more than the next closest team, while the Spurs ranked third with 261 during the regular season. The Spurs are shooting a slightly better percentage on corner 3-pointers in the playoffs, but Miami has made 13 more field goals from that spot on the floor.
Ray Allen (15), Shane Battier (11) and Norris Cole (7) have 33 of the Heat’s 48 corner 3-point field goals this postseason. Allen’s 15 corner 3-pointers are tied with Quincy Pondexter for the most of any player in the playoffs.
Pick-and-roll plays will be important for both teams in this series as well. The Spurs and Heat are first and second in the postseason in points per game on pick-and-roll plays, averaging 38.4 and 36.6 points per game, respectively. However, the Heat are second in postseason defensive efficiency against the pick-and-roll, allowing 0.80 points per play. The Heat cause turnovers on 16.9 percent of their opponents’ pick-and-roll possessions in the playoffs, leading all teams.
The Heat haven’t faced a guard similar to Tony Parker in the postseason. Parker is responsible for nearly 62 percent of the Spurs’ pick-and-roll offense. This postseason, Parker has the most total points on pick-and-roll plays with 152 and the second most points per game off the pick-and-roll. During the regular season, Parker’s 562 pick-and-roll points were second to Damian Lillard’s 629.
Can the Spurs stop LeBron?
The Spurs have done a great job of taking away their opponents' best options in the playoffs.
Tiago Splitter held Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to 15-of-48 (31.3 percent) shooting in eight games.
Danny Green was asked to guard Stephen Curry and held him to 25 points in six games on 22.9 percent shooting, including 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) from the 3-point line.
But can the Spurs stop LeBron James? Kawhi Leonard has played against James just once in his career, as a rookie Jan. 17, 2012. James was 9-of-14 from the floor with 20 points with Leonard as the primary defender. This postseason, the Spurs have allowed 93.7 points per 100 possessions with Leonard on the court. That’s the second-lowest total, behind Tyson Chandler, for any player averaging at least 25 minutes a game this postseason.
Sunny Saini and Evan Kaplan contributed to this post
June, 4, 2013
By Zach Jones, ESPN Stats & Info
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe Spurs’ success has provided the team lots of rest between series in the past. But is that the best way to go into an NBA Finals series?
This poses the question: Does rest really matter?
This will be the seventh NBA Finals matchup between a team that swept its previous round against a team that had a seven-game series since 1958. (That’s when the round immediately preceding the NBA Finals went best-of-seven). The teams that swept are 4-2 in those NBA Finals.
The seven-day rest difference is tied for the largest for NBA Finalists under the current playoff format (since 1984).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, teams with fewer days off than their opponents have a playoff series record of 69-101 (.406 win percentage).
San Antonio’s nine days off is tied for the second-longest layoff since the NBA went to the current playoff system. Teams are 3-2 in any Game 1 following a layoff of at least nine days. Between a conference final series and the NBA Finals, that mark is 2-2.
Spurs are often rested
In three of the previous four years that the Spurs won the title, they had at least seven days off before the Finals.
• The Spurs won their first NBA title in 1999 after having nine days off. That year, the Spurs reached their first Finals after dispatching the Trail Blazers in four straight games. They showed no rust holding the New York Knicks to just 79.8 points per game and won the series in five games.
• The Spurs entered the 2005 Finals after a seven-day layoff to face a Detroit Pistons team that just played a seven-game series. The Spurs took advantage of their rest by handily winning Games 1 and 2. The Pistons did bounce back, eventually forcing Game 7, which the Spurs won.
• In 2007, the Spurs had another seven days off before facing the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers. After playing a tough, six-game series against Detroit, LeBron and the Cavs were no match for the well-rested veteran Spurs, losing in four straight.
Is there a difference between other sports?
Since the current playoff format began in the 1983-84 season, NBA teams have a 20-10 playoff series record after having at least seven days off between series. According to Elias Sports, NHL teams are 26-26 in such cases since the 1983-84 season. Major League Baseball has never had that much time off between series.
Did you know?
Since the NBA adopted its current playoff format in 1984, there has been just one team to win the NBA title after having just one day of rest after winning the conference title. The 1990 Pistons defeated the Bulls in Game 7 on June 3 and began the NBA Finals against Portland on June 5. They went on to win the series in five games.
June, 4, 2013
By Ryan Grace, ESPN Stats & Info
Harry How/Getty Images
As the Spurs' big three gets older, the development of San Antonio’s young role players has helped the team stay successful.
The San Antonio Spurs' big three has been consistent for the past decade. But as the Spurs’ core gets older, how does the team continue to be successful?
The development and improvement of Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter and Danny Green have provided a youthful punch to elevate the Spurs past their opponents.
In last season’s playoffs, Leonard, Splitter and Green combined to average 21.8 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. This season, those numbers have jumped to 29.4 points, 15.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.
Leonard: Mr. Do-It-All
The Spurs average 0.93 points per play in the half court this postseason, second best in the NBA behind the Miami Heat. Leonard has been the team’s most efficient player in the half court, averaging 1.12 points per play (minimum 55 plays).
Leonard is scoring on 52.3 percent of his half-court plays this postseason, which ranks first among qualified players.
Leonard also has been the most efficient defender for the Spurs this postseason. When Leonard is off the court, Spurs’ opponents average 6.5 more points per 100 possessions than when he is on the court.
Splitter excels on both ends
Of the 87 players with at least 60 plays on defense this postseason, Splitter ranks fourth in the league, limiting opponents to 0.66 points per play.
This postseason, Splitter held Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to a combined 31.3 percent shooting in eight games. Prior to facing Splitter, Randolph averaged a playoff-high 9.9 post-up points per game. In four games against the Spurs, he averaged 4.2 points per game in the post.
Splitter was the fourth-most efficient scorer as a pick-and-roll screener during the regular season, averaging 1.23 points per play (minimum 100 plays). Splitter has elevated his game in the playoffs, averaging 1.50 points per play on 83.3 percent shooting when he rolls to the basket.
Green emerging as two-way player
Green has taken the third-most catch-and-shoot shots (64) this postseason. Of the 39 players with at least 30 such plays, Green ranks seventh in the league in points per play. Green has the second-most catch-and-shoot makes this postseason behind Chris Bosh, and he has been more efficient on catch-and-shoots than Ray Allen, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.
Overall, Green has been especially effective shooting 3-point field goals from the corners, making a team-high 52.9 percent of such shots this postseason (10-of-19).
In the second round of the playoffs, Green was asked to guard Curry and held him to 25 points in six games on 22.9 percent shooting, including 2-of-16 (12.5 pct.) from the 3-point line. Curry entered the series shooting 44.2 percent in the playoffs.
June, 4, 2013
AP Photo/Lynne SladkyDwyane Wade and the Heat have a lot to celebrate after beating the Pacers in Game 7.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Heat are the third team in NBA history to win Game 7 in the Conference Finals in consecutive seasons. The others were the St. Louis Hawks in 1960-61 and the Boston Celtics in 1962-63. The Celtics won the NBA title in all four of those seasons, too.
What the win means for Miami
This is the third straight NBA Finals appearance for the Heat and their fourth in the last eight seasons. Miami is the first Eastern Conference team to make three straight NBA Finals since the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls from 1996-98.
The Heat are the 13th team in NBA history to win at least 66 games in the regular season. Of the previous nine teams with that many wins to reach the NBA Finals, all nine went on to win the title.
The Heat have been very resilient in these playoffs. Not only have they avoided back-to-back losses, but their margin of victory following a loss is 22.3 points per game.
How the Heat won
LeBron finally got some help from his sidekick as Dwyane Wade broke out with 21 points, matching his best scoring effort this postseason (Game 2 against the Milwaukee Bucks). He had scored just 20 points on 6-for-19 shooting in Games 5 and 6 combined.
Wade did much of his work around the basket, scoring 12 of his 21 points in the paint. For the series, Wade averaged 11.5 paint points in wins, compared to 3.3 in losses.
LeBron scored 32 points to lead all scorers, but on just 56 touches, his fewest in a game in the Conference Finals. Wade and Bosh were much more involved in Game 7, combining for 79 touches in this game, after totaling just 44 in the Game 6 loss.
Another key for Miami was its work down low. The Heat had a 15-8 advantage on the offensive boards and outscored the Pacers 22-12 in second-chance points.
It was the first time this series Miami had more offensive rebounds than Indiana.
Looking ahead to the NBA Finals
The NBA Finals begin June 6, giving the Heat just two days rest to prepare for the San Antonio Spurs.
Under the current playoff system (since 1984), 15 teams have entered the NBA Finals with two or fewer off days. Those teams are 6-9 in the Finals, but one of those wins was by the Heat last season.
The Spurs will have nine days rest before the Finals. Teams are just 2-2 with at least nine days off between the Conference Finals and the NBA Finals. However, the Spurs won their first NBA title in 1999 after having nine days off.
June, 3, 2013
Jerome Miron/US PresswireJason Kidd won his only NBA title with the Mavericks in 2011.
Forty-year-old Jason Kidd, who was co-Rookie of the Year in the 1994-95 season with Hill, leaves the NBA after a 19-year career that included 10 All-Star selections, three NBA Finals appearances and one NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks.
He played in the postseason in 17 consecutive seasons from 1997 to 2013. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the third-longest streak in NBA history behind Karl Malone and John Stockton, who both were in the playoffs in 19 straight years.
Kidd’s legacy will be as one of the best passing point guards of all time, leading the NBA in assists per game five times and ranking second in NBA history in assists behind only Hall of Famer Stockton.
He also had significant range, ranking third on the all-time career 3-point field goal list behind Ray Allen and Reggie Miller. His 114 3-pointers made this season with the New York Knicks were the most by any player in his age 39 season or older.
Kidd was also a triple-double machine, recording at least one in 17 straight seasons from his rookie year through the 2010-11 season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the longest such streak in NBA history, four more than Magic Johnson.
One of the more underrated strengths of Kidd’s game was his defense. Kidd was an All-Defensive first team selection four times and his 2,684 steals are second on the all-time list behind Stockton (3,265).
Defensive win shares is an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player due to his defense. According to Basketball-Reference.com, his 75.1 defensive win shares ranks first all-time among guards and 11th best for all players.
Kidd was not a flashy scorer or a lights-out shooter, but leaves the game as not only one of the best point guards of all time, but also a surefire Hall of Fame player.