San Antonio, TX – The stars for the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat were again on the bench in the final minutes of Game 3.
Only this time, it was because the Spurs ran away with a humbling 113-77 rout for a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals.
The third-largest margin of victory in Finals history was anchored by two unlikely heroes.
Danny Green and Gary Neal were unconscious from behind the arc, combining to shoot 13-of-19 from 3-point range as the Spurs set a Finals record with 16 makes from behind the arc.
Green poured in 27 points after connecting on 7-of-9 from the perimeter, upping his Finals total to 16 3-pointers after just three games.
"Luckily I've been open and the shots have dropped for me," Green said modestly. "Hopefully we can shoot the ball like we've been shooting and win a couple more games."
Neal, after averaging less than six points in the postseason coming in, chipped in 24 off the bench for San Antonio, which never trailed and led by as many as 37.
Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard each posted double-doubles in the resounding win, while Tony Parker added six points and eight assists and was able to rest his ailing hamstring down the stretch with the outcome decided.
Parker, though, will have an MRI Wednesday to assess the extent of the injury.
"Hopefully it's nothing big and it's just a cramping or got tight on me," Parker said. "I don't know, it was just a weird feeling."
The combination of Green and Leonard shut down LeBron James to the tune of 15 points on a poor 7-of-21 shooting effort.
"We've got to regroup, figure out what we did wrong, which was a lot of things," said James. "I have to play better. I can't have a performance like that."
James also had 11 rebounds and five assists, and Mike Miller checked in with 15 points on a perfect 5-of-5 showing from behind the arc.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had 16 and 12 points, respectively, but combined for just six after halftime. Mario Chalmers went 0-for-5 from the floor and was held scoreless following his game-high 19-point effort on Sunday.
Miami committed 16 turnovers after totaling 15 over the first two games of the series.
"We got what we deserved tonight," began Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra in his postgame press conference. "They got into an incredible rhythm. Every shot they wanted to get, they got. We did not disrupt them.
"They played with more force and more focus."
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 to the Dallas Mavericks in six games.
The Spurs will host Game 4 on Thursday.
The Heat showed a glimpse of what they are capable of when they erased a 43-32 deficit in under three minutes late in the first half with a 12-1 flurry that featured two Miller 3-pointers.
It resembled the 33-5 run Miami used in the second half to pull away in Game 2, but unlike Sunday's game, the Spurs had time to respond with a game- defining spurt of their own.
With the score even, Parker and Neal both hit 3-pointers in the final minute of the opening half, the latter letting his fly just before the buzzer to give the Spurs a 50-44 cushion at the break.
The third quarter was all Spurs before James closed the gap with a personal 9-1 run, but by that point the hosts had built a 21-point lead.
Seven straight Spurs points pushed the difference to 59-46, and an 11-0 spurt a littler later, highlighted by Manu Ginobili's tomahawk slam, had San Antonio in front by a healthy 73-52 margin with under three minutes to go.
James' late wake-up call helped cut Miami's deficit to 78-63, but any momentum was quickly dispelled by Neal draining two 3-pointers to spark a 13-0 run to open the fourth quarter.
Parker returned briefly after getting his hamstring checked out in the locker room, but he was quickly back on the bench as the Spurs' role players finished off the pummeling.
This was 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 in the first quarter.
They were only ahead by a 24-20 margin after 12 minutes and connected on just one field goal in the second quarter before Green drilled a corner three for a 32-26 San Antonio lead with 6:47 remaining in the half.
The difference reached 11 a little later courtesy of a Neal triple, before the Heat pulled even for one of their few bright spots in the lopsided loss.
Green and Neal both topped their postseason career-high point totals ... The Heat had allowed just one opponent (Indiana) to score 100-plus points in 18 previous games this postseason ... San Antonio improved to 7-1 at home this postseason ... Miami fell to 3-23 in its last 26 games in San Antonio ... Duncan totaled 12 points and 14 boards, while Leonard had 14 and 12 in the win ... The Spurs won the battle on the glass, 52-36 ... The Spurs committed 13 turnovers.