The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

June 12, 2014

5 things to watch in Game 4 of the NBA Finals

MIAMI (AP) — The Spurs are old.

Tim Duncan is 38, Manu Ginobili is 36, Tony Parker is the youngster in San Antonio's star trio at 32.

Though it's still their team, soon it will belong to Kawhi Leonard, who was 6 when Duncan played his first game with San Antonio and won't turn 23 until later this month.

Leonard already has the quintessential San Antonio qualities down pat: Show up, work hard, play hard, win often, don't say much, call it a day.

His star shone brightest in Game 3 of the finals against the Miami Heat on Tuesday with a 29-point breakout. And after that win, the Spurs will try to take a 3-1 series lead when the matchup resumes Thursday in Miami.

"I don't think you're ever going to get him to sit down and expound on a whole lot of things," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He just wants to do his job. He wants to be a great player and go home. That's basically who he is."

It's still hard to believe Leonard wasn't exactly burdened by huge expectations when joining the Spurs.

"I just knew I wasn't going to get the ball right away or just be a focal point with these great players on the team," Leonard said. "But now I just try to play my game and go out there and be aggressive."

He'll be a focal point of the Miami defensive plan on Thursday. And here's five other things to know going into Game 4 of the NBA Finals:

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MUST WIN FOR MIAMI: Miami's season cannot end Thursday. But if the Heat lose Game 4, the Spurs can safely go ahead and order that fifth championship banner. Only eight teams in NBA history have successfully rallied from 3-1 deficits, and none of those eight did it during the finals.

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