The San Antonio Spurs overpowered the Miami Heat 107-86 in the fourth game of the NBA Finals to take a 3-1 lead at the American Airlines Arena on Thursday night.
It is going to be a colossal task for the Heat to rally back in the series and defend their title, as no team has managed to win the Finals after going down 3-1 in the series.
Earlier, the Heat's Chris Bosh had said that they cannot afford to go back to San Antonio by losing both games at home. But easier said than done, they again failed to match the tempo set by the Spurs' and lost the home-court advantage.
After snatching the home-court advantage from Miami, San Antonio now just requires one win in the remaining three encounters to clinch the NBA title.
LeBron James was the standout performer for Miami, as he racked up 28 points and eight rebounds, but it proved insufficient to stop the Spurs' as he received no support from his teammates. Dwyane Wade added just 10 points and only converted one shot in the first three quarters.
"It's not all on my shoulders," James said. "I understand that I get a lot of the limelight. I do it for my teammates, and I want them to put a lot of pressure on me in that sense. We have another game on Sunday to right this ship and get better at it."
Miami's worries are not over yet, as they are battling with injuries, apart from facing the Spurs' in a must-win encounter on June 15. Four-time MVP James, who is nursing an ankle injury, left the court in the first quarter for a brief period.
Just like the last game, Miami again failed to match the Spurs' precise ball movement and went into the half-time 19 points down. The Heat lacked energy in the contest and San Antonio raced away with the game in the third and fourth quarter.
Kawhi Leonard was again the standout performer for the visitors as he ended with 20 points and 14 rebounds, Tony Parker scored 19 points, while Tim Duncan finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Spurs, who converted about 76 per cent shots in the last game, were not as sharp and only managed to score 57 per cent from the field. However, their coach Gregg Popovich looked pleased with his team's performance.
"I'm pleased that they performed as well as they did while we've been in Miami and that's about as far as it goes," Popovich said. "Now, we've got to go home and play as well or better."
Miami's coach Erik Spoelstra said they never expected San Antonio to play with such intensity in the game.
"They played great and I can honestly say I don't think any of us were expecting this type of performance," Spoelstra said. "They (the Spurs) were great. You have to give them credit for that."