After a loss as big as the one Miami suffered in San Antonio in the last game, you had to figure we'd see a different performance out of them Thursday night. It didn't quite show up in full until the fourth quarter, but it arrived with plenty of time.
In the first few minutes, it seemed like the Spurs were picking up where they left off. Danny Green hit a three and San Antonio quickly grabbed a 10-point lead. Tony Parker had a questionable hamstring before the game, but it looked fine in the first half.
Despite being down by double-digits early, Miami gained its own double-digit lead in the second quarter. However, basketball is a game of runs, as we are told every game by the television set. San Antonio countered on the shoulders of Tony Parker.
At the half, the game was tied. The Spurs tweaked their lineup, bringing an energized Boris Diaw in to start the second half and Miami again started Mike Miller. The third quarter was truly a fantastic back-and-forth defensive battle with solid offense execution facing better defenses.
Among some of the best plays of that quarter, we saw Kawhi Leonard hit a wild and-one layup...
...and LeBron block Tim Duncan.
It seemed like the game was headed for a heated close duel for the fourth quarter. But then the wheels fell off for the Spurs. Their offense sputtered and was stunted by Miami's terrific defense, led by James, Wade and Bosh, of course.
Wade reminded us of the dynamic superstar player we didn't see much in the Indiana series and at times in this series, too. He was all over the place, picking up steals, leading fast breaks, drawing fouls and throwing down some slam dunkaroos.
With the Spurs struggling, the Heat pulled away for the 109-93 win to even the series at 2-2 and ensure at least one more home game for them.