Thursday, January 18, 2018
Sports

Heat beats Spurs to even NBA Finals

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — There were no cramps for LeBron James.

And with the superstar making it to the finish this time, the Heat won Game 2 of the NBA Finals, just as it always does after it loses a playoff game.

James had 35 points and 10 rebounds to bounce back from the cramps that knocked him out of Game 1 as the Heat tied the series with a 98-96 victory over the Spurs on Sunday.

Chris Bosh made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:18 left on a pass from James for Miami, which has won 13 straight after a loss in the postseason. That includes last season's Finals, when it lost Game 1 but won Game 2, then the series in seven.

"You have to play through doubt, which is a powerful thing," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team lost Game 1 110-95. "You have to play through when it's going your way, and you have to keep an even keel while somehow keeping a ferocity to your play. But the mental toughness starts two days ago of having to go through the film and trying to own what we could do better."

James played 36 minutes, making 14 of 22 shots. He was 1-for-4 with three turnovers during the first quarter but made 11 of his next 13 shots.

After two days of enduring criticism for not finishing Game 1 and getting suggestions on how to avoid cramps, James changed the subject.

"Got to play hard," said James, who also had a strip of Tony Parker late. "I believe the man above will protect me. I just try to put myself and my teammates in position to succeed."

San Antonio had won nine straight at home, the past eight by 15 or more. Up by two in the fourth, it missed a chance to seize control.

Miami guard Mario Chalmers was driving with 6:43 left when he elbowed Parker in the midsection. He got called for a flagrant foul, which meant two free throws and the ball for San Antonio. But Parker missed both free throws. And after Tim Duncan was fouled nine seconds later, he missed a pair from the line.

"It definitely affected me," Parker said of the pain from the elbow, which left him writhing on the court for a few moments. "But I'm a little bit frustrated; should have made them."

James then made a 3-pointer and two free throws, setting Miami up to pull out the game.

For the game, San Antonio made 12 of 20 free throws. "It was a tough one," guard Manu Ginobili. "The opportunity to score four points when we get to the line and we missed all four. Yeah, that hurts."

Heat 98, Spurs 96

MIAMI (98): L.James 14-22 4-5 35, Lewis 5-9 1-2 14, Bosh 6-11 5-6 18, Chalmers 2-4 1-2 5, Wade 5-9 4-4 14, Andersen 1-4 1-2 3, Allen 4-7 0-0 9, Cole 0-2 0-0 0, Jones 0-2 0-0 0, Haslem 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 37-70 16-21 98.

SAN ANTONIO (96): Leonard 3-9 1-2 9, Duncan 7-14 4-8 18, Splitter 1-3 0-0 2, Parker 8-15 3-6 21, Green 3-5 1-1 9, Belinelli 1-5 0-0 3, Diaw 3-9 0-0 7, Ginobili 7-15 3-3 19, Mills 3-7 0-0 8, Bonner 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 36-82 12-20 96.

Miami 19 24 34 21— 98

San Antonio 26 17 35 18— 96

3-Point GoalsMiami 8-19 (L.James 3-3, Lewis 3-7, Bosh 1-2, Allen 1-3, Cole 0-1, Chalmers 0-1, Jones 0-2), San Antonio 12-26 (Green 2-3, Mills 2-3, Leonard 2-3, Parker 2-4, Ginobili 2-7, Diaw 1-2, Belinelli 1-4). Fouled OutLeonard. ReboundsMiami 49 (L.James 10), San Antonio 43 (Duncan 15). AssistsMiami 16 (Chalmers, Wade 4), San Antonio 26 (Parker 7). Total FoulsMiami 20, San Antonio 20. TechnicalsL.James, Miami defensive three second, Duncan. Flagrant Fouls—Chalmers. A18,581 (18,797).

Sterling situation: Commissioner Adam Silver said Donald Sterling hasn't signed off on the sale of the Clippers, nor agreed to drop his lawsuit against Silver and the NBA. But, Silver said, "While I understand his frustration, I think it's over." Sterling was banned for life and fined $2.5 million for racist comments. His wife, Shelly, agreed to sell the team. "I think it's just a matter of time now," Silver said. "Then we will move on to better topics and back to the Finals."

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