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#NBAFinals2014: Kawhi Strikes Back, And The Mighty Heat Fall 2-1
In the latest clash between these NBA giants, we witness the awakening of a true series-shifter in Kawhi Leonard. Your move, Miami!
by Gelo Gonzales | Jun 11, 2014
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Like last year, the San Antonio Spurs now find themselves up 2-1 through three games, after a devastating 41-point first quarter left the Heat playing catch-up the entire game. The defending champs would come close and cut the lead to seven points in the third quarter, but this humming Spurs machine simply had more in the tank as they finish the game, 111-92.

Unlike the back-and-forth affair that was Game 2, the Spurs were in control pretty much from start to finish--although the 19-point blowout belie the fact that this was probably the most exciting blowout we've seen ever.

So who were the stars, studs and sorry faces of Game 3? Head below for our sorta sporty, almost-serious recap!


Record-setting First Half

The Spurs last won a Finals game in Miami back in Game 1 of the 2013 Finals. The Heat have won eight straight in their building in this postseason. Clearly, the odds were stacked against the Spurs, so what do they do? They come out of the gates like a greyhound that's just seen the juiciest rabbit in the world.

The Spurs set a Finals record 75.8% field goal hit rate in a half that topped the 75% one Orlando set in 2009. They hit a staggering 25 of 33 shots in the first half, leading to a 71-50 lead after the end of two quarters.

 

The 71-point first half also had historical implications as it was the first time a team cracked the 70-point mark since the Lakers poured 75 points on the Celtics in Game 2 of the 1987 Finals.

The 41-point quarter was also the first time a team hit for 40 points in a quarter since the Celtics buried the Lakers with 42 points in Game 7 of the 2008 Finals.

We don't know about you, but anytime a team is mentioned alongside the Lakers-Celtics rivalry, it's definitely one for the books. Check out all the buckets they made in that period:

 


Remember The Name: Kawhi Leonard

You know someone's starting to become recognized as a superstar when the hate-birds start to rain hate-poop on a player.  

Through Games 1 and 2, "Big Hands" Kawhi was virtually non-existent. His statline: 18 points, six field goals, a 43-percent FG clip, two steals, four turnovers, and nine personal fouls. Some say he was expending so much energy to defend LeBron but LeBron's majestic 35-point, 10-rebound line said otherwise. The critics were starting to gather 'round.

And then Game 3 came. Like Hulk landing on the ground, Kawhi dispersed the naysayers with a statline that says so much about just how good he can become: a career-high 29 points on 10-of-13 shooting, four boards, two dimes, two steals and two blocks. In the first quarter alone, he put up a personal best 18 points in one quarter, and throughout the game, made LeBron James a little less scary with solid D.

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