Heat's James and Spurs' Parker follow the play during Game 2 of their NBA Finals basketball playoff in Miami

NBA Finals Heat vs. Spurs Game 2: Spurs rain threes, blow out Heat 113-77


It was San Antonio’s turn for a blowout.

After an ugly Game 2 loss the Spurs came out and rained down an NBA Finals record 16 threes — led by Danny Green with 7 and Gary Neal with 6, those two combined for 51 points and this was a complete domination by the Spurs, 113-77. San Antonio dominated the second half,  turning a six-point halftime lead into a 36 point thrashing of Miami. The Spurs take a 2-1 series lead.

Miami were not nearly as aggressive defensively as Game 2 and the Spurs exploited the openings with precision. But a sign of the effort was the Spurs grabbing 19 offensive rebounds — they got the offensive board on 42.2 percent of their missed shots. That’s just hustle and desire, which the Spurs had in truckloads and the Heat apparently left in Miami.

San Antonio had a good defensive game plan as well, they gave the Heat midrange jumpers and Miami clanked them. But this was a night the Spurs offense could do no wrong.

Game 4 is Thursday night.

END OF FOURTH QUARTER: It ends 113-77 Spurs, they have 16 threes.

1:35 Fourth Quarter: It’s a 33 point Spurs lead as the stats get skewed in garbage time.

3:39 Fourth Quarter: Gary Neal and Danny Green a combined 13-of-19 from three.

4:21 Fourth Quarter: Spurs 16-30 from three.

5:43 Fourth Quarter: Gregg Popovich and Eric Spoelstra have emptied the benches. Just like last game the final five minutes of this one are garbage time.

6:39 Fourth Quarter: Tracy McGrady enters the game to a standing ovation. 28 point Spurs lead now.

7:47 Fourth Quarter: Lead was up to 29, down to 23… it’s a blowout but a frustrated Popovich called a timeout. Spoelstra leaving his stars out there, let them soak up this experience, maybe motivate them for the next game. Heat defense isn’t good tonight, let the Spurs shooters get going and then it was over.

9:38 Fourth Quarter: 13-0 run by Spurs to start fourth. The Spurs are up by 26 now and this place is deafening. The Spurs fans are eating this up.

10:33 Fourth Quarter: Gary Neal with two long bomb threes to start the fourth, and we are back to blowout mode, 21 point lead.

11:41 Fourth Quarter: Tony Parker back in the game. Whatever was bothering him (seemed to be working on hamstring) he’s playing through it.

END OF THIRD QUARTER: Heat with 13 turnovers in three quarters. They had 14 in the first two games combined.

END OF THIRD QUARTER: 78-63 Spurs. This quarter was all Spurs as they led by more than 20 at one point, but a nine point run by LeBron makes it 15 at the half (there was a Ginobili bucket at the end of the quarter). That was enough of a Heat run to force Popovich to take the start of this quarter seriously. We may see Duncan soon.

:22 Third Quarter: LeBron with nine straight points, knocking down jumpers and it is down to 13 point Spurs lead.

2:54 Third Quarter: It is 73-52 Spurs. Miami is just missing everything, good look or not, and the Spurs are moving the ball and getting the looks they like.

3:36 Third Quarter: LeBron 2-of-12 to start, just like last game. Spurs now up 17 and in total control.

4:09 Third Quarter: Tony Parker has gone back to the locker room. It’s not mattering, Spurs up 17.

5:07 Third Quarter: Leonard makes steal and Ginobili finishes in transition. Spurs by 14 now.

6:00 Third Quarter: Mike Miller hits another, now 8-8 from three in this series. He’s the only guy knocking down outside shot for the Heat.

7:29 Third Quarter: Mike Miller comes in and knocks down a three, but two Kawhi Leonard offensive boards lead to a Danny Green three. 62-49 Spurs.

9:44 Third Quarter: Wade is struggling to start the second half. Meanwhile Danny Green three and real hustle from the Spurs — Duncan blocks and saves, then Leonard saves the saves to transition foul. 59-46 Spurs, 13 points is largest of the game.

10:28 Third Quarter: Duncan and Haslem push all the way up the court, then suddenly Duncan gets called 54-46 Spurs.

11:44 Third Quarter: Heat try to post LeBron, and Leonard jumps around him for steal, creates transition opportunity where Splitter was fouled. 52-44 Spurs.

HALFTIME: Halftime in the arena is one of the best — Quick Change. You get David Stern on TV? Sucks for you.

HALFTIME: Slow pace in the first half, 41 possessions. That certainly favors the Spurs.

HALFTIME: Heat led by 12 points by Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh by 10. LeBron 4 points on 2-of-8 shooting.

HALFTIME: Spurs hit 7-15 from three. Gary Neal leads them with 14 points off the bench, Tim Duncan has 10. Spurs also with 11 offensive rebounds, which is crazy high.

HALFTIME: 50-44 Spurs. Tony Parker tough leaning three, then Gary Neal defends LeBron James well then hits a three at the buzzer. Great close to quarter for Spurs.

:52 Second Quarter: Mike Miller with trail three ball in transition. 44-42 Spurs.

1:33 Second Quarter: Two straight Spurs turnovers lead to Heat points, Now 43-39 Spurs. 7-0 Heat run.

2:24 Second Quarter: Heat now 5-18 from outside the edge of the restricted area to the three point line. (Heat 6-10 in restricted area, also not great.)

3:00 Second Quarter: Gary Neal hits three, which is answered by Mike Miller at the other end. 43-35 Spurs.

4:35 Second Quarter: The Spurs are packing the paint again, LeBron tries to shoot over it from three and misses, Kawhi Leonard leaked out on the challenge, Tim Duncan rebounds and outlets to Leonard for the dunk. 40-30 Spurs.

5:47 Second Quarter: Mario Chalmers gets his third foul on an offensive drive. Heat go with no PG lineup. 36-28 Spurs.

6:45 Second Quarter: Dwyane Wade helps off Danny Green… Wade chose, poorly. Heat had stuck with Green all night but he made them pay here. 32-26 Spurs.

7:09 Second Quarter: Spurs went through a 1-11 shooting stretch. 29-26 Spurs.

7:47 Second Quarter: And as I type that, Bosh hits an elbow jumper. Combine that with a Norris Cole three and it is 27-26 Spurs, a 1 point game.

8:37 Second Quarter: Heat start game 1-9 from the midrange. Got to hit some of those.

9:07 Second Quarter: The Spurs are doing a great job of having bodies in the paint every time LeBron drives. The result is sometimes he settles. 27-20 Spurs.

9:47 Second Quarter: Referees letting them play tonight inside, teams need to adjust, not just look for calls.

10:21 Second Quarter: Gary Neal three stretches out Spurs lead 27-20.

11:03 Second Quarter: Lots of great hustle plays from the Spurs.

START OF SECOND QUARTER: Spurs shot 11-18, 61.1 percent in the first quarter. They are attacking and getting into the paint.

END OF FIRST QUARTER: 24-20 San Antonio. Spurs led by as many as eight, but Dwyane Wade hits 4-of-5 shots to keep Miami in mix.

:30 First Quarter: LeBron has 2 points but 3 assists as he draws the defense and moves the ball in this game. It’s a question of if he gets help.

1:00 First Quarter: Norris Cole and Gary Neal trade buckets. Then the Birdman cuts, gets the ball and dunks. 22-20 Spurs.

2:20 First Quarter: Early minutes for Matt Bonner and Curtis Joseph of the Spurs, with Gary Neal and Boris Diaw back in the rotation.

3:43 First Quarter: Manu Ginobili can still dunk! Pump fake at the arc, drove and there was no help. 17-14 Spurs.

4:08 First Quarter: Wade has scored or assisted on 10 of the Heat’s 12 points.

4:08 First Quarter: Wade steals the ball from Parker, runs the floor and gets the pass from LeBron to score in transition. 15-12 Spurs.

6:29 First Quarter: Heat came out of a timeout with an open Wade jumper then getting points in the paint and offensive boards. 13-7 Spurs.

6:29 First Quarter: Spurs are getting into the lane for attempts and kick-outs. Heat are working the ball around the perimeter then missing.

6:35 First Quarter: Heat start 2-9 shooting, with Bosh 1-of-5 and getting good looks he is just missing. 11-4 Spurs.

7:47 First Quarter: Duncan starts 1-4 shooting, but Kawhi Leonard has five yearly points. 9-4 Spurs.

9:15 First Quarter: Tony Parker with a jumper that falls, Bosh misses his baseline midrange that the Spurs gave him. 7-4 Spurs.

10:21 First Quarter: Very aggressive Tim Duncan to start, but he missed a shot inside and a couple free throws. 2-2 still.

11:10: First Quarter: Good pick-and-roll with Parker and Duncan and he got to that running hook he loves for a first shot. Wade answers. 2-2.

12:00: First Quarter: Interesting, The Spurs’ 2013 Western Conference championship banner already hanging in the rafters.

12:00: First Quarter: That is one big flag the Spurs waive around on the court.

12:00: First Quarter: Miami, San Antonio will see your child singing the national anthem and up you one cool outfit. (I’ll take him over Hootie any day.)

12:00: First Quarter: Hootie — Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish — was to sing the national anthem but couldn’t get there because of the traffic.

12:00: First Quarter: Traffic heading out to and the arena SUCKS. I say that and I live in Los Angeles. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and other Spurs players got to the arena later than they prefer because of it.

SAN ANTONIO — Greetings, welcome to PBT’s live blog for Game 3 of the NBA Finals, with the series tied 1-1 as we move on to Texas for the next three. Pull up a seat and make yourself comfortable

I’m Kurt, and I’ll be your host, snide comment maker and bartender for the night. Throughout the contest I’ll be updating the game and score, providing some thoughts and mocking a few people. So sit back, enjoy the game and follow along.

Celtics president Danny Ainge on Brad Stevens: ‘He’s a keeper’

Brad Stevens

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has never finished a season with a winning record. He’s over .500 this year only because Boston came back to beat the lowly 76ers. He has never won a playoff game.

But Stevens – who signed a six-year, $22 million contract in 2013 – has plenty of job security.

Celtics president Danny Ainge, in a Q&A with Chris Forsberg of ESPN:

You’ve joked about it before, but are you ready to give him another six-year contract yet?

Ainge: [Laughs] Yeah.

You have to start thinking about that. Sure, we’re only in Year 3, but you can’t risk letting a good coach get away.

Ainge: No, listen, he’s a keeper. He’s great. He’s great to work with. Like I said, I think he’s going to be — if he stays in this game long enough — he’s going to be one of the great coaches.

I tend to agree with Ainge’s assessment. Stevens has looked like an excellent coach so far – implementing a sound defense, creating space on offense and communicating clearly with his players.

But Stevens has benefited tremendously from low expectations, arriving in Boston after Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen retired. Expectations sunk even lower when the Celtics traded Rajon Rondo last season.

That’s when Stevens appeared to do his best work, guiding a starless team to a 24-12 finish.

Expectations will keep rising, though. Some expected the Celtics to break out this year, but they’re just 8-7. Stevens faces the difficult task of managing a rotation full of pretty good – but no great – players. This might be his hardest NBA assignment yet.

Stevens has done plenty to earn praise from his boss. But to actually get a contract extension, he’ll have to keep meeting higher and higher expectations.

I believe Stevens is up to the challenge, but I’m not completely certain of it. He wouldn’t be the first coach to impress early in his tenure and then fizzle. Just look at how many Coach of the Year winners lost their jobs a short time later.

Again, I think Stevens will meet any reasonable expectations he faces. He just must actually do it to get a longer deal.

League executives, players wince watching this Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
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Over the last few days, we’ve written in more detail about Kobe Bryant‘s shooting troubles. He’s jacking up threes his fastest pace ever, he can’t create space to get off clean shots, he’s hitting 31.1 percent overall and 19.5 percent from three. There are flashes of vintage Kobe, but they are fleeting (and mostly because poor shot choices are falling). Byron Scott is still in Kobe’s corner, saying they just need to get the veteran better looks.

However, talk to people around the league about Kobe and you hear some variation of the phrase “hard to watch.” After 20 seasons, more than 55,000 minutes on the court, and coming off two major injuries, Kobe clearly is not the same player everyone admired for so long.

Over at the Los Angeles Times Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner got a number of sources to wince about Kobe for a story — except nobody wanted their name attached to attacking a legend of the game.

“Man, I don’t want to see Kobe go out like this, looking this bad and not able to do what he once could do,” said a retired guard who faced Bryant. “He doesn’t have anything else to prove to anybody. He was one of the greatest. I know he’s owed that $25 million, but he should just walk away now. He ain’t got it anymore.”

“He’s one of the few players in NBA history to have gotten everything possible out of his body. Now his body has nothing left to give,” (an Eastern Conference executive) said. “But that’s life in the NBA, in professional sports. At some point, the body just can’t do it anymore and Kobe’s body can’t do it anymore.”

One West scout said Bryant looked “disinterested” at times. A current player in the West went a step further.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him play and it’s disgusting,” he said. “He’s one of the best of all time. But he really hasn’t played that much in the last two or three years. He’s got nothing left. It’s sad to watch because he used to be so great, and I mean great.”

Kobe is not going to walk away mid-season, and nobody wants an injury to force him out of the game.

But it’s hard to see how anything is going to dramatically change. Kobe may shoot a little better than his current but it’s not likely going to change in a meaningful way. Which will just make things hard to watch for a full season.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.