The San Antonio Spurs avenged their Game 2 loss by giving the Miami Heat a taste of their own medicine in Game 3 — and then some.
The Spurs stomped Miami to the tune of 113-77, one of the biggest routs in NBA Finals history.
LeBron James, who has been passive all series long, took full responsibility for the Heat’s loss (after scoring just 15 points on 7-of-21 shooting), and told the media that he has to play better if the defending champions are going to have any hope of winning.
“I’ve got to just play better,” James said. “I can’t have a performance like that and expect to win. I’ve got to shoot the ball better. I’ve got to make better decisions, and I will get into the film and see ways that I can do that. I’m not putting blame on anybody. I’m owning everything that I did tonight.” [...] He wound up 7-for-21, had one offensive rebound, blocked no shots, logged five assists and is averaging 16.3 points so far in The Finals. Oh, and he didn’t shoot even one free throw. The four-time MVP did something that hadn’t happened to him in the playoffs since 2007 and in a game — period — since 2009. “I went a whole game without shooting a free throw, to show you where my game was tonight,” he said.
“I’ve got to be better. It’s that simple,” he said postgame for the third or fourth time in a span of six minutes. “If I’m better, we’re better. And I’ve got to be better. I’m putting everything on my chest, on my shoulders. I’ve got to be better. It’s that simple. My teammates are doing a good job, and I’m not doing my part.”
Except for a spurt late in the third quarter, when he poured in 9 consecutive points during a brief Heat run, LeBron James was content to feed his teammates who did little else but miss shots. The reigning MVP is averaging just 16.7 points through three games against this Spurs defense, and knows the strategy has to change going forward.
While Gregg Popovich, of course, wouldn’t divulge any secrets about his team’s plan against James, Danny Green said that LeBron at times is just stopping himself:
“LeBron is not just us stopping-him,” the Spurs guard said. “He’s kind of stopped himself out there and we’re getting a little lucky. Obviously we’re making it tough for him. But you guys have seen him all year at his best, and how he can perform. He’s not doing that right now. I don’t know what it is. I’m hoping that it doesn’t come out.”
LeBron James promises to be more aggressive in Game 4 and beyond. He can only hope that his teammates follow suit.