San Antonio, TX – Gary Neal has the San Antonio Spurs in front at halftime in Game 3 of an even NBA Finals.
Neal's 14 points off the bench, punctuated by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, paced the Spurs to a 50-44 lead at the break just two days after the Miami Heat tied the series at one game apiece.
Of course, the Heat showed Sunday the halftime score means little after erupting for a 33-5 run in the second half en route to a 19-point blowout win.
Tim Duncan has already eclipsed his point total in that one with 10 points for San Antonio, which led by as many as 11 before the Heat closed the gap with a late 12-1 flurry.
Miami is playing close despite another slow start by league MVP LeBron James, who has just four points on 2-of-8 shooting.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have showed up with 12 and 10 points, respectively, while Mike Miller has proven to be a spark with nine points off the bench.
This is the first action at AT&T Center since Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on May 21, and the Spurs felt right at home in the early going, shooting 61 percent from the field while never trailing in the first quarter.
Still, they were only ahead by a 24-20 margin after 12 minutes and connected on just one field goal in the second quarter before Danny Green drilled a corner three for a 32-26 San Antonio lead with 6:47 remaining in the half.
The difference reached its apex at 43-32 a little over two minutes later following Neal's third 3-pointer of the half, but the Heat scored 12 of the next 13 points -- highlighted by two Miller triples -- to even things at 44-44 in the final minute.
Three-pointers by Tony Parker and Neal, with the former letting his fly just before the horn, gave the Spurs the slight advantage.
Since the NBA Finals went to a 2-3-2 format in 1985, the team that won Game 3 of a tied series has won the title 12 times in 13 instances. The only outlier came in 2011 when the Heat lost the Dallas Mavericks in six games.