San Antonio's first half was a history-making affair. The Spurs scored 71 points on their way to shooting 75.8 percent, setting a Finals record for shooting in a half. Kawhi Leonard was everywhere, scoring a career-high 16 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the first quarter alone.
The Spurs had all the ball movement.
But the Heat came roaring back, playing tough defense throughout the third period to bring the game as close as 81-74. Miami made a big push even as LeBron James sat on the bench, allowing the Spurs to score just 15 points as coach Erik Spoelstra sat struggling guard Mario Chalmers.
James and the Heat battled throughout the fourth quarter, but continued strong play from Leonard, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker kept Miami at bay. San Antonio never let their guard down long enough for an extended Heat run, with Leonard scoring a career-high 29 points as the Spurs closed out the defending champions.
For San Antonio, Leonard was the team leader. In addition to his 29 points, he grabbed four rebounds with two assists, two steals and two blocks. Danny Green scored 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting, with five steals, three assists and one rebound. Duncan scored 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting with six rebounds and two assists. Parker had 15 and Manu Ginobili scored 11 off the bench.
James scored 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting for Miami, dishing out seven assists with five rebounds and five steals, adding seven turnovers. Dwyane Wade dropped 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting, with four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Chris Bosh was held to just nine points and three rebounds. Chalmers struggled mightily, scoring just two points without a single made field goal.
Game 4 is set for 9 p.m. Thursday in Miami and can be seen on ABC.