The air conditioning worked at AT&T Center, LeBron James was on the floor in crunch time, and the Miami Heat were able to defeat the San Antonio Spurs 98-96 in game 2 of the NBA Finals to tie the series at one game apiece.
James was phenomenal for Miami scoring a game high 35 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Unlike game 1 where he was forced to leave with leg cramps, James was very much out there out there in the 4th.
Just like last year’s Finals, the Spurs won game 1, and the Heat responded by winning the next game.
With the loss, the Spurs streak of winning 8 straight home playoff games by at least 15 points comes to an end. The series now shifts to Miami for game 3 on Tuesday night.
After a Tony Parker 3 put the Spurs up 93-92 with 2:26 left, San Antonio proceeded to go scoreless over the next 2:25.
A little over a minute after Parker’s shot, Chris Bosh was left alone in the corner and James found him for a wide-open go-ahead 3, his only such shot of the game, and the Heat took the lead for good.
Miami increased its lead to 5 before Manu Ginobili hit a buzzer beating 3. It was too little too late for the Spurs.
The game turned at the 6:43 mark of the 4th when Mario Chalmers elbowed Tony Parker in the ribs and a flagrant foul was assessed. San Antonio had an 87-85 lead at the time, and Parker could have put the game away at the line. Parker however, missed both free throws and Tim Duncan missed a pair of free-throws 10 seconds later.
On the ensuing Heat possession after Duncan failed to convert his free throws, LeBron put Miami back out in front with a 3. The Spurs shot just 12/20 (60%) from the line. That’s not going to get it done.
Although LeBron finished strong, he got off to a slow start. James scored just 2 first quarter points as the Spurs led 26-19 after one. James came alive in the 2nd scoring 10 points and the Heat and Spurs were tied at 43 entering halftime.
San Antonio played well to start the 3rd, and took a 62-56 lead. That was when LeBron put his mark on the game going on a personal 8-0 run to put Miami ahead once again.
The Spurs though, still led 78-77 after 3. It was a back and forth 4th quarter until the end when San Antonio’s poor free throw shooting and offensive execution did them in.
Aside from James, Chris Bosh contributed 18 points, Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis each had 14, and Ray Allen had 9 off the bench.
For the Spurs, Tony Parker led the way with 21 points, Manu Ginobili added 19 off the bench, and Tim Duncan scored 18 points and hauled in 15 rebounds. This was Duncan’s 157th playoff double double, tying him with Magic Johnson for the most in playoff history.
Danny Green did not have the same impact as he had in the first game for the Spurs scoring 9 points, and Tiago Splitter was nowhere to be found scoring just 2 points in 19 minutes.
One player that came up small for the Spurs was Kawhi Leonard who was consistently in foul trouble while facing the difficult task of guarding LeBron.
If the Spurs are going to win this series, the trio of Leonard, Green, and Splitter have to play significantly better than they did in this one.
This game was shaking out just like game 1 for the most part. The only difference was LeBron was on the court at the end and instead of the Spurs pulling away, it was the Heat.