SAN ANTONIO — Who said the San Antonio Spurs couldn’t have a good time? And show a little flash?
They ran up, down and over the Miami Heat, 113-77, in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, discarding their bland, vanilla reputation for something a lot more peppery.
They never trailed, completely squashed LeBron James and kept their fans roaring the entire time while taking a 2-1 series lead Tuesday at AT&T Center.
Here’s all that needed to be known: Danny Green and Gary Neal outscored James, 51-15, as the Spurs took a step closer to their fifth championship since 1999.
BOX SCORE: San Antonio 113, Miami 77
It’s true. James made only seven of 21 shots, continuing his strange string of inaccuracy so far in the Finals, shooting only 38.9% and averaging 16.7 points. Not exactly the stuff of defending champions.
Happy stat for Spurs fans: Game 3 often determines the Finals winner when the series is tied after two games. Since moving to the 2-3-2 format in 1985, a dozen Finals started with a 1-1 split. The winner of Game 3 took 11 of those series.
Game 4 is Thursday, the second chapter of three in a row at AT&T Center.
Miami’s first priority will be to get more scoring out of James, who had four points until the final two minutes of the third quarter, finally finding a little something after the Heat trailed, 75-54.
The Heat never found much of anything in general, unlike Green and Neal.
Green had 27 points and made seven of nine three-point shots three days after setting a Finals record for three-point efficiency (five for five in Game 2).
Neal (24 points) was right next to Green, making six of 10 three-point attempts, just part of the Spurs’ stellar shooting night behind the arc (16 for 32).
Dwyane Wade started off strongly (12 points, five assists by halftime) but had only four points and no assists after that. Mario Chalmers, the Game 2 darling (19 points) was held scoreless Tuesday and missed all five of his shots.
James left for good with 5:43 left and the Spurs ahead, 102-71.
Parker, Duncan and Ginobili were a combined 10 for 33 in the Spurs’ 103-84 Game 2 loss. They weren’t spectacular Tuesday with the ball, making 10 of 23, but they didn’t need to be on a night where Neal and Green hammered the Heat.
There weren’t any iconic plays to remember such as Parker’s late off-balance bank shot in Game 1 or James’ fourth-quarter block of Tiago Splitter’s dunk attempt in Game 2.
There was just a lot of San Antonio defense. And rebounding. And, sure, scoring.
On one third-quarter possession, the Spurs missed a three-pointer, got the rebound, missed another long shot and grabbed another rebound before Green drilled a three-pointer from the left side.
The Spurs pummeled the Heat on the boards, 52-36.
Scratch that: San Antonio pummeled Miami pretty much everywhere Tuesday night.