We know what James will do, so his 33-point and 11-rebound performance came as no surprise. We are only left with questions, which is why when D-Wade got going early and often, Spurs head coach Greg Popovich had to be caught off guard.
Wade stole the show and King James watched from the bench as Miami beat down the Spurs when the 4th quarter got underway. Wade’s 32 points and six steals, including 10 points in the 4th alone, were clearly the difference on Thursday night.
If vintage Wade has this much left in the tank for the remainder of the series, that move to cut Stephen Jackson in April may end up biting the Spurs where it hurts.
After three games of San Antonio daring Wade, James, and Chris Bosh to shoot the ball, the plan finally backfired. The Heat’s Big 3 came to play and could not miss as they combined for 85 points in total.
Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra made crucial adjustments and played former starter Udonis Haslem only 10 minutes tonight, while Chris “Birdman” Anderson didn’t even get up off the bench. Mike Miller logged 20 minutes and Ray Allen put up 14 points, in his postseason high of 33 minutes, to give Miami the edge. LeBron got to the basket with ease and at times and was un-guardable.
How can San Antonio counter? A few things are going to have to happen. One, either Manu is going to have to step it up or sit it down. Manu Ginobili looked TERRIBLE tonight. It was an utter disgrace that he put on a uniform. Going 1-for-5 shooting and scoring only five points is not going to cut it. Look for him to either figure it out or find a nice slab of wood to sit on for Game 5.
Secondly, the absolutely abysmal play of Tiago Splitter. He is outmatched and the moment is obviously too big for him. The 7-foot Spaniard looked out of place from the moment Game 4 began. He started the ball game with a back court violation and a foul before Pop replaced him 48 seconds into the contest. He has to get it together, or else Boris Diaw or maybe even DeJuan Blair will be forced into the rotation to carry some big minutes for the Spurs.
Lastly, Tony Parker is going to have to get his strained hamstring ready to play at 100%. I don’t care how hurt he is, this is the NBA Finals and Tony has to suck it up and ball out.
The best Point Guard in the game is going to have to be able to play more than 31 minutes, if San Antonio expects to have any shot at winning Game 5.
The Heat win tonight creates a must win Game 5 for San Antonio on Sunday night. We can worry about Game 5 when it comes, but for now let’s just soak it in. We caught a glimpse of “The Flash” tonight and it was marvelous.