Nothing from nothing leaves nothing. The Miami Heat received what they put out in Game 3 of the NBA Finals: a blank check they could not cash in after an embarrassing 36-point beatdown at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. .
It was nice to see you. Now it’s time to say good-bye. Thanks for coming.
LeBron James and the Heat looked like a bunch of chumps against the Spurs in the potential swing game of the best-of-seven series. Instead of playing like the NBA’s defending champions that they are, James and the Heat came up small against the Spurs in Game 3.
James did next to nothing. Dwayne Wade took the night off. Chris Bosh kept up his postseason disappearing act. Shane Battier played like he should have joined Grant Hill in retirement.
Wait, there’s more. The Birdman (Chris Anderson) got clipped. Mario Chalmers didn’t have anything to stick his chest out about. Ray Allen probably wishes he had stayed in Boston after the Heat’s 36-point implosion.
Of course, did we mention the effective game strategy that Miami coach Erik Spoelstra came up with against the Spurs?
It is quite easy to look like a genius when you have a player in James dominating games night in and night out.
It’s quite another to execute coaching brilliancy when the four-time league regular season MVP is effectively stopped in his tracks, which James has been the first three games of the series.
Instead of repeatedly saying “We deserved what we got,” nonsense during his postgame rant, Spoelstra would have been better served to take the blame for not having his team prepared to play. This is not on the players. This one is on you coach.
This game didn’t get away from the Heat. It was snatched away from them. Whatever self-absorbed delusion the Heat may have had about themselves and the Spurs was humbly put on a platter.
The Spurs are a team on a mission, a team aiming for its fifth NBA title under coach Gregg Popovich.
The Spurs simply gave the Heat a thrashing of epic proportions. Yes. This one got ugly. And there wasn’t a thing that James or his Heat teammates could do about it.
As we clearly see now, playing small ball in the NBA Finals won’t get it done. The Heat enjoys playing small ball with its heavy arsenal of three-point shooters surveying the perimeter just waiting for their catch-and-shoot opportunities.
The problem with this theory is that you still have to have someone grabbing rebounds and pitching you the ball. Outside of the 6-foot-8, 260 pounds James, Miami do not have another real consistent player willing to bang in the paint.
Joel Anthony? Please. Mike Miller? Give me a break. Udonis Haslem? Stop it. And Bosh is probably somewhere thinking about going over the rainbow.
That leaves a sizable issue for the Heat to deal with in this series as it did against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Pacers beat up and outmuscled the smaller-sized Heat team for much of their seven-game series, coming real close to changing the guard in the Eastern Conference.
If not for a coaching blackout moment by Indiana coach Frank Vogel during the last 2.2 seconds of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pacers could very well be the team matched up against the Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals.
As it is, James and the Heat are here.
This is the third time in as many years that the Heat has made it to the NBA Finals. It is an achievement of note for any team.
But for the second time during these past three years, Miami is faced with a team that has the size advantage.
Coincidently, they are both from Texas. The Spurs play the type of basketball that can bully you from the inside with an effective half-court game, something the Heat lack.
Spoelstra nd the Heat should have learned something from their championship debacle to the Dallas Mavericks. Apparently, they haven’t. They still haven’t received the memo that says size matters.
Quite simply, the Spurs’ size presents a matchup problem for the James and the Heat. As a matter of fact, it is giving them fits as did the length and girth of the Pacers.
The truth of the matter is if the Heat were facing the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers or even the Memphis Grizzlies-teams with real size and height advantages, Miami would be in just as much trouble in trying to lock in their second straight championship.
Their idea of winning a title is unleashing their one-man show.
But you can’t expect to give the ball to James and just let him bull his way to a dominant performance in a championship series.
Not against a team as disciplined as the Spurs. That may work against a weaker Eastern Conference, but not against depth-rich teams from the Western Conference.
Going 1-on-5 will only get you so far. It certainly won’t win you a championship. James may try. But it’s going to take his teammates to step up their game for the rest of the series in order for the Heat to come away victorious.
If they fail to do that this series won’t be going back to South Florida.
One game does not make or break a series. But it’s hard to imagine that Game 3 didn’t knock the stuffing of out the Heat in more ways than one.
From looking at television cameras, Miami had the look of a team in utter disbelief on the sidelines, like somebody had just took away their cookies at lunchtime.
So when James made the prediction that he,Wade and Bosh weren’t joined together for “not just five, not just six, not just seven championships, he truly went out on a limb.
The Heat would be just fortunate to win a couple.