While Dwyane Wade was having one of his worst performances ever, and LeBron James was having just an ordinary day, it was Ray Allen who stole the spotlight with more than just setting the NBA career playoff record for 3-pointers, but actually player better than anyone on the Miami Heat as the favorites to retain the NBA title took a 3-0 lead in their first round series.
Playing in his 131st career playoff game, Allen went 5-8 from beyond the arc, hitting five three-pointers in a playoff game for the 21st time in his career and the first since the 2011 NBA playoffs, against the same Miami Heat. He finished with 23 points, reaching 322 postseason 3-pointers, leaving Reggie Miller at second place with 320, now owning both the regular season and postseason records.
As for the Heat? They won 104-91, making a push in the third quarter (30-18) that made for a comfortable fourth, as LeBron James, playing “only” 33 minutes, finished with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists while having another impressive shooting day on 9-14 from the field. Dwyane Wade, on the other hand, was having one of his worse, finishing with 4 points, shooting 1-12 from the field. This was only the third time in his NBA career with a single-digit postseason game, 11 months after his 2-13, 5 points game against the Indiana Pacers.
But once again, going into the paint paid off for the Heat, who don’t have too much perimeter defense to worry about, and in the middle the Bucks are left with Larry Sanders on his own to deal with them. As efficient as he has been this season in blocking and rebounding, it’s just too much for him to handle at this point. The Heat went 26 of 35 (74.3%) inside of five feet in Game 3 and have shot 76.1 percent on those field goals for the series.
Another offensive set they used which the Bucks had no answer for was through the simplest of them all – the pick n roll, shooting 71.4% (10 of 14) and scoring 26 points during the second half, when they created the final separation for the game, a lot better than they did (42.1%) during the first two quarters of the game.
I shot the ball terrible. But we played a good game. Game 3 is a tough game. I thought, as a team, we showed a lot of guts, a lot of grit. When those guys came out hot, we stayed with it, we stayed with our game plan and were able to get a great win. There’s nothing as satisfying as winning a Game 3 on the road. But it’s over now. Now we have to focus on closing the series out.
Despite his awful shooting game, Wade did have 9 rebounds, 11 assists and 5 steals, the first player to pull off such a stat line since Rajon Rondo on March 23, 2011. As always, Chris Andersen’s minutes on the floor (14) were during some of the best moments for the Miami Heat, scoring 11 points and adding 6 rebounds during his short time on the court, finishing with the biggest plus-minutes on the team with +15.
Of all the advantages the Heat have over the Bucks, it seems their depth and ability to find someone each night to plug certain holes has been their biggest, giving LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade the chance to be far less than amazing without worrying too much.