The San Antonio Spurs broke the Miami Heat's 11-game winning streak at home in the postseason, to take a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals at the American Airlines Arena. Kawhi Leonard finished with career-best 29 points and four rebounds helping San Antonio down Miami 111-92 on Tuesday night.
Miami's star LeBron James finished with 22 points and five rebounds, but it proved insufficient to stop San Antonio from snatching the home-court advantage. Dwyane Wade also ended with 22 points, while Chris Bosh only managed nine points from his four attempts.
The Spurs converted 25 of their 33 shots and went into the halftime break with a 21-point advantage. On the other hand, Miami converted 55.9 percent shots in the first two quarters.
"It's not something you can plan for," San Antonio's Manu Ginobili said. "There was no magic play. We just moved the ball and every shot went in."
San Antonio came out flying in the opening quarter and built a massive 41-25 lead over Miami by converting 13 out of 15 shots. Leonard made his first six shots and found his groove after suffering from foul trouble in the second game.
"I just found a rhythm and my teammates found me the ball. I made shots," Leonard said.
Miami's coach Eric Spoelstra admitted his team failed to match the speed and intensity of San Antonio and even the four-time MVP James failed to get in terms with the Spurs in Game 3.
"[The Spurs] came out at a different gear than what we were playing at, and it just seemed we were on our heels the most part of the first half," Spoelstra said.
The Spurs faced brief resistance from the defending champions in the third quarter when they cut the deficit to 11 points. San Antonio got the momentum back in the fourth quarter and closed the game with a 25-17 run.
James said the series is not over yet and Miami will regroup and rectify mistakes to improve their performance in the next game.
"We will get better from tonight," James said. "We hate the performance that we put on. But it's 2-1. It's not 4-1. It's 2-1, and we have to make some adjustments, come in and learn from our mistakes as we always do after a loss."
Miami's Bosh said the players need to improve their performance if they have to retain the championship. "We have to take this one on the chin," Bosh said. "We are kidding ourselves if we're going to win a championship with that kind of effort, home or away."