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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Danny Green, Gary Neal shoot Spurs to Game 3 win

Gary Neal Danny GreenIf you were told before Game 3 of the NBA Finals that Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker were going to combine for just 25 points in the contest, you would have thought the San Antonio Spurs lost, right? Well it turns out that good offensive games from those guys were not needed with the way Gary Neal and Danny Green shot the ball.

Green and Neal combined to score 51 points for the Spurs in a 113-77 blowout win over the Miami Heat in Game 3. The two combined to shoot 13-for-19 (68.4 percent) in the game as the Spurs made an NBA Finals record 16 3-pointers. Green in particular was spectacular once again.

Green went 9-for-15 and made 7 of 9 3-pointers in Game 3. He made both his free throws, got two steals, and added two blocks in the victory. Green made all five of his 3-point attempts in a Game 2 loss, and he went 4-for-9 on threes in Game 1. Yes, Green is currently shooting 69.9 percent (16-23) on threes in the NBA Finals. San Antonio is going to be hard to beat if he keeps up that clip.

Neal was nearly as impressive. He shot 9-of-17 from the field and 6-for-10 on threes to give him 24 points in the game. The third-year player from Towson also had this huge buzzer-beating three to end the first half, which came after Green blocked a LeBron James shot:

Neal was so confident that he was just bombing shots from all over the court. Early in the fourth quarter, just when it looked like the Heat might be coming back, Neal nailed back-to-back threes, including a deep one from 30 feet away:

He and Green combined for 20 of the team’s first 24 points of the fourth quarter, which turned a 15-point game into a 29-point lead with under nine minutes to go. The two were unstoppable.

As for Miami, well, yeesh, it was bad. The Heat were outrebounded terribly again, this time 52-36. All of San Antonio’s deep jumpshots led to deep rebounds, which helped them grab 19 offensive boards. Except for Mike Miller who made all five 3-pointers he attempted, the Heat looked lost offensively. LeBron looked afraid to drive to the hoop and even missed open shots when he got them. He did not attempt a free throw. Dwyane Wade missed several open jumpers and constantly got stuck in midair when he drove to the basket and didn’t find a shot. And Mario Chalmers, who had 0 points, 4 fouls, 4 turnovers, and 1 assist, was terrible.

“We got what we deserved. They got into an incredible rhythm. Every shot they wanted to get they got. We did not disrupt them. We never got into our game,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

Despite LeBron’s struggles, Spoelstra is not worried about his star.

“He’ll figure it out. He always figures it out. I’m not concerned about that. We’ll work to make sure he’s getting to places where he can be comfortable and confident. We’re kidding ourselves if we’re going to point at the 77 points. That was a factor, but we got what we deserved.”

Even though the Spurs did an excellent job closing their defense on James whenever he approached the paint, LeBron has to force the action. And the Heat need to make open shots. But if Green and Neal shoot 60 percent on threes, then it really doesn’t matter what Miami does, because nobody can beat that.

Below is a highlight video of Green making all his shots:

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