Heat-Spurs Game 3 preview: Role players rescue

Heat-Spurs Game 3 preview: Role players rescue
June 11, 2013, 12:45 pm
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SAN ANTONIO — Two games into the NBA Finals, and there's one thing we have learned about the stars for both teams. 

As good as they are, not one -- not even LeBron James -- can win this thing by himself. 

In fact, role players have been the difference-makers in both Games 1 and 2. 

San Antonio's 92-88 Game 1 win was fueled in large part by the defensive efforts of Kawhi Leonard on James, as well as the hot hand of Danny Green. 

Miami's 103-84 blowout victory over San Antonio in Game 2 featured Mario Chalmers scoring a game-high 19 points while the Heat bench continued to dominate the series with former Celtic Ray Allen chipping in with 13 points and fellow reserve Mike Miller tallying nine points while shooting 3-for-3 on threes. 

"All of us are here in the NBA for a reason," Miller said. "With a lot of us, it's just about opportunity and when you get it, make the most of it."

And while role players have certainly caught the eye of many in this series, all agree their individual success means nothing if it doesn't produce a victory. 

Green has played well in both games, but was especially effective shooting the ball in San Antonio's Game 2 loss. He made all six of shots from the field, which included 5 three-pointers. He finished with a team-high 17 points.

"At this point, it doesn't really matter," Green said when asked about his strong performance in Game 2. "Hopefully next game I can continue to help my team when we move the ball and knock down shots and make the game easier for Tony (Parker) and Timmy (Duncan). Regardless of the numbers, it was a team loss. We lost."

For either team to roll on in this series, role players will continue to play an integral part. Here are some other aspects of the game to consider heading into tonight's pivotal Game 3 matchup. 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: The Spurs have connected on just 42 and 41 percent of their shots from the field in Games 1 and 2, respectively. Game 3 is at home and should produce a better result as the Spurs aim to shoot closer to their season average of 48.1 percent which was the second-best mark in the NBA this past season, or their playoff average of 46.2 percent. 

MATCHUP TO WATCH:  Danny Green and Dwyane Wade. This has been one of the more surprising matchups since it's been so close. One could argue that Green has outperformed the more accomplished Wade thus far in this series. For Miami to regain control, the Heat have to find a way to contain Green who has hit nine of his 14 threes in this series. In addition, they need more from Wade who has been playing through some knee-related issues throughout the playoffs.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Former Celtics guard Ray Allen has been at the top of his game so far in the Finals, averaging 13 points off the bench for Miami while shooting 57 percent from the field and a blistering 67 percent (6-for-9) on threes.

STAT TO TRACK: While coaches talk all the time about how important rebounding is to success, winning the battle on the boards hasn't exactly been a barometer of success in this series. In fact, the winning team has been out-rebounded in Games 1 and 2 by at least eight rebounds. Considering these two teams were among the worst rebounding squads in the NBA this past season, losing on the boards and still coming away with a victory is indeed par for the course.