Rust was not a factor for the San Antonio Spurs who closed the deal late to win Game one of the NBA Finals 92-88. In the fourth quarter, the Spurs outscored the Heat 23-16 after Miami led by 3 to start the final period. The Spurs didn’t turn the ball over once in the 4th and San Antonio’s 4 turnovers for the game tied an NBA Finals record.
The Spurs have now won 7 straight playoff games, and are 13-2 overall in the post-season losing just 1 road game. The Spurs improved to 5-0 all-time in NBA Finals Game one’s.
The key play of the game happened with 5 seconds to go and the Spurs up 90-88. Tony Parker had the ball, fell to the ground, got up, and miraculously put up a shot over LeBron James just barely beating the shot clock. Parker’s shot went down following a lengthy review capping his brilliant 21-point performance which included 10 in the fourth quarter. The Spurs were up 88-81 with 2:12 remaining and the Heat were on the verge of a comeback. Parker’s shot was the knockout punch.
Tim Duncan was a little rusty to start the game missing his first 5 shots, but came on strong to score 20 points and haul in 14 rebounds. Manu Ginobilli had 13 points, Kawhi Leonard scored 10 points, and Danny Green hit four three’s in the win.
While the Spurs played great in the 4th quarter, the Heat weren’t as impressive. Miami shot 5/18 and turned the ball over 5 times. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 6 points on 2/5 shooting. In a close game like this, it’s unacceptable for LeBron and Wade to combine for 5 shots in a crucial 4th quarter. They are supposed to be the focal point of Miami’s offense. The Heat wanted to have more variety in its offense following the Indiana series, and LeBron may have taken it that too far in Game one by being very passive.
For the game though, LeBron James was very good recording his 2nd straight NBA Finals triple double (He had one in game 5 of last year’s Finals against the Thunder). James scored 18 points, had a game high 18 rebounds, and 10 assists. The one knock on LeBron in this one was his inability to shut the door late. After doing whatever he wanted in the Indiana series, LeBron looks like he’s going to have a much tougher task being guarded by Kawhi Leonard. If Leonard can contain LeBron going forward, the Spurs will be in business.
Dwyane Wade’s momentum continued from Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Wade scored 17 points and was as aggressive as he’s been all post-season. Chris Bosh may be the happiest player since he doesn’t have to deal with Roy Hibbert anymore. Bosh wasn’t spectacular, but was much better than he’s been scoring 13 points on 6/16 shooting. Ray Allen was the only other Heat player in double figures with 13 points including three 3-pointers. No one else stepped up for Miami. Udonis Haslem took just one shot, Mario Chalmers was 3/10 for 8 points, and Shane Battier was 0/3 for 0 points in his return to the rotation.
Mike Miller and Chris Anderson each contributed seldomly off the bench. Miller scored 5 points, and Anderson scored 7 points on 3/5 shooting.
A loss for the Heat in game 1 isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In Miami’s “Big 3” era, the Heat have lost game one 3 previous times. Each time, Miami has responded by winning the next 4 games. If that trend continues, the Heat will repeat as champions, but that still has a long way to go.
Game 2 is scheduled for Sunday night at 8pm from Miami. The Heat still have not lost back to back games in about 5 months.