Miami: San Antonio Spurs inched closer to clinching the 2014 NBA Finals title after coming up with yet another clinical performance to outplay two-time defending champions Miami Heat 107-86 in Game 4 and take a 3-1 lead in seven-game series here today.
The Spurs now have a great chance of winning their fifth NBA championship if they manage to bag the next game at home on Sunday, and avenge their seven-game loss to Miami last year.
Like in the last game, the Spurs stamped their authority once again with a superb show, making a mockery of the Heat`s home court advantage here at the American Airlines Arena.
They were far superior in every aspect of the game. Their ball movement, short passes and agility left the Heat struggling to defend open shooters. Their defence was so strong that the Heat simply failed to breach it.
On their part, the Heat lacked energy and were extremely slow in their movement. They seemed like an ageing unit with players like 32-year-old Dwyane Wade struggling to keep up with the pace. He was getting in close but was 1-of-6 shooting inside 8 feet.
Both Wade and Mario Chalmers` shooting woes continued as Wade missed 10 of 13 shots from the field while Chalmers had just four points.
For Spurs, in-form Kawhi Leonard was the best player for the second game in a row, scoring 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Tony Parker accounted for 19 points. Tim Duncan had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Patty Mills scored 14 points off the bench in the best
playoffs performance of his career.
For the hosts, LeBron James scored 28 points to go along with eight rebounds, but could not get desired support from his teammates. Wade scored 10, while Chris Bosh chipped in with 12 for a combined 22 points.
The Spurs set the rhythm early on today, knocking down their shots to take a 19-point lead at half-time with a score of 55-36.
"I`m pleased that they performed as well as they did while we`ve been in Miami, and that`s about as far it goes," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
By the end of the third quarter, the gap has increased to 24 points with Spurs leading 81-57.
Finally, it was a comfortable victory for the Spurs, which was witnessed by the likes of sporting greats like Mike Tyson, Usain Bolt, Serena Williams and Shaquille O`Neal.
"They just played great and I can honestly say I don`t think any of us were expecting this kind of performance. You have to give them credit for that. We just couldn`t get into a rhythm on either side of the ball, and it went from there," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Unless the Spurs do something drastically wrong, they in all probability will win the title. They now have three chances. No team has come back from a 3-1 deficit and won the Finals, and the Spurs have at least two more games scheduled at home.