Heat vs. Spurs: Players Neither Team Can Overlook in Game 3

Nate Levinson@@NateLevinsonCorrespondent IJune 11, 2013

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 06:  (L-R) Tony Parker #9 and Danny Green #4 of the San Antonio Spurs react in the first quarter while taking on the Miami Heat during Game One of the 2013 NBA Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena on June 6, 2013 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

With the NBA Finals shifting to San Antonio and a key Game 3 matchup on tap for tonight, the Heat will look to take a 2-1 series lead by slowing down dynamic point guard Tony Parker and hot-shooting Danny Green, while the Spurs will look to do the same by keeping Heat point guard Mario Chalmers and forward Chris Bosh in check.

The biggest surprise in this Finals matchup thus far has been Spurs forward Danny Green.  After hitting four big threes in Game 1, Green hit all six of his shots in Game 2, making five three-pointers and almost single-handedly keeping the Spurs in the game until late in the third quarter. 

With so much attention on stars Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan, Green has been getting wide-open looks all series long, but the Heat know they'll have to make an adjustment to slow down his red hot perimeter game to have a better shot of taking Game 3.

ESPN analyst J.A. Adande says Green's run is a "quiet" one, but after his lights out shooting in Games 1 and 2, the Heat have certainly taken notice.

Speaking of Parker, the Heat know slowing him down likely gives them their best shot of winning tonight.  In a Game 1 victory, Parker was the most valuable player on either side, scoring 21 points without turning the ball over.  Game 2 was a different story however, as Parker turned the ball over five times and shot only 5-of-14 from the field for 13 points. To win tonight, the Heat will have to keep Parker in check like they did in Game 2.

On the other side of the equation, the Spurs will also focus on the other team's starting point guard, and will look to slow down the Heat's Mario Chalmers tonight. After a quiet Game 1 where he scored only eight points, Chalmers was the Heat's leading scorer in Game 2 with 19 points, helping them even the series at one game apiece.

People commonly talk about the Big Three in Miami, but in Game 2 it was Chalmers, not Wade or Bosh, who took the reins with LeBron.

One further key for the Spurs will be forcing Chris Bosh into long jumpers as they did in Game 1, when he shot 6-of-16 from the field while missing all four of his three-point attempts and garnering just five rebounds.  His improved play in Game 2 (12 points and 10 rebounds on 6-of-10 shooting) was a big reason the Heat were able to tie the series, and the Spurs have to do a better job of clogging up the paint and forcing Bosh to make jump shots.

When Bosh shoots the ball well, the Heat win. It's that simple.

In Finals history, in series tied at one, the winner of Game 3 is 30-5 heading into tonight's matchup, meaning if history is to be believed, whoever wins tonight has a great shot of taking the series.  My money is on the Spurs.

Bosh and Chalmers are too inconsistent to count on in a big game like this one, and I fully expect Tony Parker to return to his Game 1 form and once again run circles around the Heat.