NBA Finals stat storylines: Game 3
June, 11, 2013
By ESPN Stats & Information
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.