NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

June 13, 2013

Drubbings, not drama: NBA Finals stuck in blowouts

(Continued)

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HEAT’S DEFENSIVE ISSUES: Before the blowout loss in Game 3, the Heat had only given up more than 100 points once in their previous 18 playoff games.

So while many yesterday pointed the finger at LeBron James for his lack of scoring, Bosh bemoaned the Heat defense that surrendered a Finals-record 16 3-pointers and let the Spurs shoot 49 percent from the floor.

“It’s not offense end that’s really hurting us,” Bosh said. “It’s everything that’s happening on defense right now.”

Spurs guard Danny Green has hurt the Heat, hitting 16 3-pointers this series. Miami’s Dwyane Wade, who has been chiefly matched up with Green, said the Heat must do a better job of defending pick-and-rolls.

The Heat arrived in San Antonio holding offenses to an average of 87.7 points, second in the playoffs behind New York.

“We’ve always really prided ourselves on being a defensive-first team,” Bosh said. “We have to get stops. All of those things go together. In order for everyone to play well — not only LeBron — we have to play better defense, team-wise.”

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SCORING A NEW DEAL?: Aside from propelling the Spurs to a Game 3 win, Gary Neal could get a new contract after this season.

Neal made about $850,000 this season in the final leg of a three-year contract.

He said he was “comfortable with the financial situation” in Italy, where he played before the Spurs invited him to a summer league tryout in 2010. The long-awaited opportunity for the undrafted Towson guard interrupted Neal’s honeymoon.

“I think I wanted to get back to the States to start my family,” Neal said.

Spurs owner Peter Holt said bargain role players such as Neal help his small-market franchise steer clear of paying the NBA’s luxury tax, which Holt said “we really can’t afford.”

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