SAN ANTONIO (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat entered Game 4 of the 2013 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs knowing they couldn’t lose and go down 3-1 in the series and have a chance of winning the Larry O’Brien trophy.
The pressure the Heat were under, from a historical perspective, came from the fact that 31 teams in NBA history had gone down 3-1 and none had ever won a series.
But the Heat’s Big Three responded like the three All-Stars that they are, combining for 82 points and lead Miami to a 109-93.
From the opening tip, the Spurs were in complete attack mode in the half-court game. San Antonio was in an offensive rhythm the Heat couldn’t match at the beginning of the game.
The Spurs came out shooting 75 percent on their first eight shots and opened up a 15-5 lead over Miami after just five minutes of play.
The Heat’s LeBron James started out getting to the free throw line and promptly missed his first free throw. James didn’t take a shot for six minutes in the first quarter.
LeBron would come back on the fast break and narrow the lead to just six after point guard Norris Cole was inserted into the lineup.
As has been typical in the NBA Finals, Dwyane Wade came out firing and scored eight of the Heat’s first 11 points.
Wade’s leaning layup with roughly five minutes to go in the first quarter caused San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich to use his first timeout to try to rally his team.
Miam’s biggest problem early in the first quarter was once again poor shooting from the field. Chris Bosh had good looks at the basket, but started 0-3 and looked out of rhythm to start the game.
Miami continued to chip away at the Spurs’ lead and LeBron pushed the game into a tie at 19 with a powerful layup on a fast break.
The Heat tied the game thanks to an 8-0 run that was finally stopped by a pair of Spurs’ free throws that gave San Antonio a lead of just two points that was quickly erased by a Ray Allen jumper.
LeBron started to hit mid-range jumpers and was continuing to attack the basket as the minutes ticked away in the first quarter and finished with 11 points on 5-6 shooting.
Wade joined James in double-figures by hitting a teardrop floater in the lane to close out the first quarter scoring for both teams.
At the end of the first quarter, Miami was shooting better than 60 percent from the field, but hadn’t made a 3-pointer in the game, and still lead 29-26.
The game got rolling in the second quarter with Wade continuing his great play on both ends and helped the Heat flip the script by 17 points after the Spurs went up by 10 points early in the first quarter.
After the Heat’s defense locked down the Spurs’ offense, Miami continued running and Wade continued shooting as the Spurs continued to back off of him on defense.
Miami opened up a nine point lead after a little more than 3 minutes of the second quarter when James hit a layup after an assist from Wade.
The Heat’s big two of James & Wade scored 25 of the Heat’s first 37 points after 15 minutes of the game.
As the game progressed, both teams began to flop on fouls, with Bosh committing what appeared to be an egregious flop with a little more than six minutes to go in the quarter.
The flopping by both teams will come with fines from the NBA, which has made a point of trying to get rid of flopping in the game.
The Spurs responded to Miami’s lead with a quick run to narrow the lead to 41-36 after 19 minutes of the first half.
Chris Bosh of the Heat was continuing to struggle from the outside with his jump shot and was shooting just 33 percent on his first six shots.
Overal, despite Miami going with a smaller lineup in the first half of Game 4, the Heat missed their first three three-point shots and didn’t hit a three-pointer after 19 minutes of the half.
Miami started to slow down as the second quarter wound down and the ball quit moving around the floor with quick passes, which stopped the offensive flow for the the Heat.
The Spurs quickly went on an 11-2 run at the end of the second quarter, which erased the Heat’s lead and the game was tied at 49 as the clock neared zero.
The Heat’s Chris Bosh tried to throw down a dunk at the end of the first half, but didn’t get the shot off in time.
At halftime, the game was tied up at 49 as both teams shot 50 percent from the field, although the Heat had hit zero three-point shots in the first half.
Miami was led by the combination of James and Wade which had 29 points between them,while Ray Allen had 8 big points off the bench.
The Spurs were led by Tony Parker who had 15 points in the first half with Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw had seven points apiece.
The second half began with both teams exchanging baskets as LeBron got the Heat’s scoring started and Kawhi Leonard reciprocated for the Spurs.
But, when the clock went below nine minutes to go in the game, Wade picked up his fourth foul and the Spurs quickly capitalized to take the lead.
Bosh then took over with a block party on two straight Spurs possessions and both teams continued to go at each other like a pair of heavyweight boxers.
Miami responded with a 7-0 run to build the lead back to 67-61 and Mario Chalmers hit the team’s first three point shot after 31 minutes of gametime.
As the two teams traded baskets for the rest of the third quarter, Gary Neal of the Spurs hit a big three-pointer with under two minutes in the quarter to draw the Spurs within three with the score 76-73.
But LeBron and Wade came right back and attacked the Spurs defense with a pick and roll and Wade hit a running shot, got fouled, and hit a free throw.
Danny Green of the Spurs responded right back with another crucial three-pointer for San Antonio to bring the Spurs back within three points.
The third quarter scoring ended with LeBron putting back a missed shot by the Heat to extend the Heat’s lead to 81-76 heading into the fourth quarter.
After some quick passes by the Heat at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Ray Allen hit a three-pointer to give the heat an 84-76 lead and just as quickly, Gary Neal hit another three-pointer to bring the Spurs back to within five points.
One of the moves that got the most attention during the game was Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra’s decision to not play center Chris Andersen, who has been a catalyst for the team through much of the year.
Andersen was seen running back to the locker room just before game time and didn’t get any playing time through the first three quarters of Game 4.
Wade scored a quick four points, accentuated by a fast-break dunk to give the Heat a 90-81 lead with just more than eight minutes to go in the game.
Wade had 30 points in the game with just more than 7 minutes to go in the contest and a Bosh jump shot extended Mimai’s lead to 96-85 as the Heat entered the home stretch.
As the clock continued to wind down in the fourth quarter, the Spurs’ Parker went to the bench after shooting 0-4 in the second half and the Spurs began to throw up the white flag.
The Heat had the lead 102-88 with three minutes to go in the game and Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich began to empty his bench.
Miami finished off the Spurs and with the series tied at 2-2, the Finals are guaranteed to return to South Beach for at least one more game.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each had over 30 points and combined, the Big Three’s numbers were 85 points, 30 rebounds, nine assists, and five blocks.