One Win From Championship Spurs Hold Off Cavs

Written by Randy Watson

It might not have been pretty - in fact, it was pretty ugly - but the Spurs managed to grind out a tough victory on Cleveland's home court, and now remain just one victory away from their fourth NBA championship, and that is a beautiful thing.  San Antonio overcame bad shooting nights from their stars, but reserves and role players managed to make a few crucial baskets, and all but sealed San Antonio's place in history and this year's championship.

The Cavs came out determined and focused after getting run off the court in the first two games, and the hometown crowd cheered them on loudly the entire night.  It was still no match for San Antonio's brutal defense and veteran leadership.  In Game 3, that leadership and toughness was demonstrated best by Bruce Bowen.  Not usually known for his scoring ability, Bowen was as tough on the offensive end as he normally is on defense.  All night long, Bowen found himself open and dropped in big baskets when his team needed them.  He finished with 13 points on 4-5 shooting from behind the arc and grabbed 9 rebounds, all the while playing stellar defense on LeBron James.

The Big 3 of the Spurs all had off nights.  Duncan only managed 14 points on 6-17 from the field, but did grab 9 rebounds and had 2 blocks.  Tony Parker, likely the Finals MVP, was defended well by Cavs rookie, Daniel Gibson, but still was able to score 17 points, although on 7-17 shooting.  Manu Ginobili had one of his worst shooting nights in recent memory, going 0-7 from the field.  Although he only scored 3 points on free throws, they were important points. The Argentine star went to the line twice in the final seconds with the game on the line and made 3-4 to help give San Antonio the victory.

The game was ugly the whole way, and turned out to be the second-lowest point total in Finals' history.  San Antonio shot 41percent from the field, while Cleveland shot 36percent.  Cleveland was a miserable 15percent from behind the 3-point line.  The first half found James and Duncan both in foul trouble, each picking up three fouls, and watching large stretches of the half from the bench.  The ugliest play of the night came late when Cleveland\'s James, down by two with less than a minute left, passed to Brazilian big man, Anderson Varejao, who spun wildly and flung up an awful-looking shot that barely scraped the iron.  Ginobili was subsequently fouled and made a free throw to extend San Antonio's lead to 3.  After that, San Antonio was free to celebrate their latest win.

At the end of the night, all the ugliness resulted in a San Antonio victory, and with one more they will have their fourth NBA title in 8 years . . . and the talk of a legitimate dynasty will start.  San Antonio will join the Celtics, Lakers, and Bulls, as the only teams to have won four or more titles.  If history is any indication, the title is all but San Antonio's.  No team has ever come from an 0-3 deficit to win a series.

Go, Spurs, Go!