The Norman Transcript

National Sports

June 12, 2014

The tale of the tape

MIAMI — LeBron James has learned an important lesson during his journey from 19-year-old rookie to two-time NBA champion: Never talk back to the coach during a film session.

“Let him make his point, whether he’s right or wrong, and you live with it and move on,” James said.

Especially when the coach has as much to show his players as Erik Spoelstra did to James and the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

Miami’s defense didn’t offer much resistance early in Game 3 of the NBA Finals; the San Antonio Spurs played like they were on the court by themselves. San Antonio made 19 of its first 21 shots and shot a finals-record 75.8 percent in the first half of a 111-92 victory.

Just like last year, Game 3 was a blowout that left the Heat facing a 2-1 deficit. Miami came back to win the series, so nobody was overreacting to what happened Tuesday, especially since the Spurs themselves don’t expect to shoot that way again. But the Heat have things to clean up before Game 4 today, or they risk going back to San Antonio facing the end of their title reign.

“You’re always on edge in the postseason, but I don’t want to be concerned at this point,” James said. “For us, we have to make the adjustments.”

The Spurs had the same lead last year after a 113-77 victory in Game 3, a start-to-finish beating that was even more thorough than Tuesday’s win. So they were taking no satisfaction in their position, and certainly not comparing it.

“I don’t think about last year at all at this point,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I don’t think about last year Game 3, Game 4, at all. This is a different animal and I’m just concerned about the game tomorrow night.”

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