Danny Green has been the biggest and the most surprising story of the 2013 NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat. Through the first five games of the series with the Spurs holding a 3-2 lead, Green has already set the record for most three-pointers made in a Finals series, breaking Ray Allen’s mark of 22 that he set in a seven-game series.
Green has already knocked down 25 jumpers from beyond-the-arc in the Finals and is averaging 18 points, four rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. The most impressive part, though, is the fact that he’s shooting 65.8 percent from long range in the series.
Though Green deserves a large amount of credit for his tremendous performance in these Finals for simply knocking down shots, the defense of the Heat undoubtedly deserves a hefty share of the blame as well.
Going back and watching all of Green’s three-point attempts over the series, it’s astounding how open he is on the majority of his shots. Though part of that is due to the Spurs’ offense and Green positioning himself wisely, it also largely attests to the fact that guys like Dwyane Wade, Mike Miller and Ray Allen have done a horrendous job of closing out on Green and the rest of the Spurs’ shooters for that matter.
Part of the issue with the Heat’s defense when it comes to closing out is just a shear lack of effort. There was one three in particular where the Heat turned the ball over and Wade and Green fell on the ground. Green hustled back and knocked down a three while Wade lackadaisically ran back up the floor and failed to get a hand in his face.
There are other instances of Heat players failing to hustle out to get a hand in the face of San Antonio’s shooters, but that’s not the only thing that has caused them trouble. Their positioning on defense has been problematic as well.
With the Heat wanting to play small-ball, that forces their defense to have to collapse and help more in the lane than they would if they were playing with legitimate centers. The Spurs have obviously noticed this and taken advantage of it with cross-court passes and kick-outs which Miami has had issues closing out on.
Miami has to do a better job of spacing their defense and not falling victim to what San Antonio wants them to do. If they don’t collapse less severely and show more effort on closeouts, the defending champions will continue to fall victim to the Danny Green three-parade and will likely fall short of a repeat.