The Miami Heat stole a game in the AT&T Center on Sunday, evening their NBA Finals series against the San Antonio Spurs at one game apiece. LeBron James predictably had a big Game 2, but San Antonio’s loss was more a function of their own mental collapse than it was physical domination by the Heat. As the 2014 NBA Finals head to Miami for the first time, all eyes will be on how the various teams respond. Tipoff is set for 9:00pm EST / 6:00pm PST on ABC, or you can watch Heat vs Spurs online live NBA Finals game 3 in various ways.
LeBron James was famously hobbled by heat-induced cramping in Game 1 that relegated him to the bench for the final minutes of the game. As everyone expected, King James came back in Game 2 like an animal, though it took him a while to get going. In spite of his slow start, James finished with 35 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes. Had he scored more than two points in the first quarter (he shot 13-for-18 the rest of the way), he’d likely have won the game for the Heat on his own.
As dominant as James was for three quarters, it was really a matter of the Spurs losing the game rather than the Heat winning it. After Dwayne Wade drew a fourth-quarter foul against Manu Ginobli, a flop for which he has since been fined $5,000, the Spurs still held the lead going into the game’s closing minutes. But after Mario Chalmers was whistled for a flagrant foul against Tony Parker, Parker missed both free throws. Shortly thereafter Tim Duncan got two shots and promptly missed them both.
Suddenly the Spurs weren’t commanders of a six-point lead, but rather a slim two-point margin and a slip in momentum. LeBron James drove and kicked to Chris Bosh, who nailed a three-pointer, and the Heat never gave up the lead. The Spurs could’ve overcome the final margin, a mere two points, simply by making those late-game free throws. They didn’t. They lost. And now they face a Game 3 tonight in Miami that’s sure to be a tough environment.
If the Heat win tonight’s Game 3 they’ll have an undefeated 9-0 home record in the playoffs after having already won 10 consecutive home games dating to the end of the 2013 Finals. With that said, the Spurs had the best road record in the NBA during the regular season, so San Antonio holds better than a puncher’s chance of walking out of tonight’s Heat game with a 2-1 series lead, if not at least a 2-2- tie going back to San Antonio for Game 5.
Will LeBron light it up again in tonight’s Heat game, or will Chris Bosh and Wade do more heavy lifting on their home court? Will the Spurs go small by starting Kawhi Leonard at the 4, or will they double-down on their size and focus on rebounding and defense? Tonight’s Heat vs Spurs Game 3 will tipoff at 9pm EST / 6pm PST on ABC, so we’ll learn how to answer these questions in a few hours. You can watch Heat vs Spurs online live NBA Finals Game 3 on WatchESPN and the ESPN mobile app, both of which require a subscription to ESPN via your local cable TV or satellite provider. If you don’t have ESPN as part of your cable package, you can also watch tonight’s Heat vs Spurs game on VIP Box, though that website doesn’t have the HD quality or reliability of ESPN’s live streaming tools.