Monday, June 18, 2018

Heat routs Spurs, evens NBA Finals

MIAMI — LeBron James needed almost 12 minutes to score his first points. He missed 10 of his first 12 shots.

But what he did Sunday in Game 2 of the NBA Finals was unforgettable. At least, what he did in a 38-second span: a block on a dunk try, an assist on a 3-pointer and a deflection and slam — twisting on the rim and waving his arms.

That sealed Miami's 103-84 win over San Antonio that tied the series at a game apiece.

James finished with only 17 points, adding eight rebounds and seven assists.

"I know my shooters only need a little bit of room to get the shot off," he said. "I struggled offensively, but the shooters made some good shots."

Those shooters included Mario Chalmers, the point who led Miami with 19 points, including two three-point plays late in the third after the Spurs took a 62-61 lead.

Up 75-65, Miami opened the fourth with nine straight points and capped the run when James' 3-pointer made it 94-67.

Then James sealed it.

The game's signature sequence started with about 8½ minutes left. Tiago Splitter, at 6 feet 11, tried to dunk. James, 6-8, blocked it at the rim.

James said he had one thought: "Just make a play."

He did far more than that.

"A lot of players wouldn't go for that," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The risk-reward, they weigh that right away and the possibility of getting dunked on and being on highlight films. He's been on that highlight film both ways. It takes great courage to go up and make one of those plays."

Splitter said he didn't realize it was James standing at the rim.

"It was a great play from him," he said. "I tried to do a good play to dunk the ball, and he did even better."

When James rejoined the play, he found Ray Allen for a 3-pointer. On the ensuing possession, James' deflection led to a turnover. Mike Miller rewarded him with an over-the-head pass down the floor. James, all alone, went up for a slam as he faced the Heat bench and spun before landing in the other direction.

"LeBron couldn't get into a rhythm early on, and other guys stepped up," Spoelstra said. "He showed great poise and trust in not getting caught up in feeling like he had to make 'the play' or score. But rather, he would facilitate or let other guys make plays."

The Spurs committed only four turnovers in Game 1, tying a Finals record. But they committed five in the first quarter and 16 overall.

"In the second half, they just run us over," the Spurs' Manu Ginobili said. "We didn't move the ball at all. Their pressure really got us on our heels."

Tony Parker, who made the off-balance shot in the final seconds of a Game 1 win, scored 13 on 5-of-14 shooting. Tim Duncan scored nine of 3-of-13 shooting.

"Obviously, they are contested shots, but they're the shots I feel I can make, Duncan said. "I'm going to get back in the gym and hopefully come out with a better stroke."

Kidd as coach? Jason Kidd, who recently retired, is interested in coaching the Nets and plans to talk to them this week, Yahoo Sports and the Associated Press reported. Neither reported if the interest is mutual. Kidd, 40, led the Nets to the Finals in 2002 and 2003.

SAN ANTONIO (84): Leonard 4-12 0-1 9, Duncan 3-13 3-4 9, Splitter 2-5 0-0 4, Parker 5-14 3-4 13, Green 6-6 0-0 17, Ginobili 2-6 0-0 5, Diaw 0-0 0-0 0, Neal 3-7 2-2 10, Joseph 3-3 2-3 8, McGrady 0-1 0-0 0, Mills 1-3 0-0 2, Bonner 2-4 0-0 5, Blair 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 32-78 10-14 84.

MIAMI (103): James 7-17 2-2 17, Haslem 2-4 1-1 5, Bosh 6-10 0-0 12, Chalmers 6-12 5-5 19, Wade 5-13 0-2 10, Miller 3-3 0-0 9, Allen 5-8 0-0 13, Andersen 3-3 3-4 9, Cole 1-5 0-0 2, Lewis 2-3 0-0 4, Anthony 0-0 0-0 0, Battier 1-3 0-0 3, Jones 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 41-83 11-14 103.

San Antonio 22 23 20 19— 84

Miami 22 28 25 28— 103

3-Point GoalsSan Antonio 10-20 (Green 5-5, Neal 2-3, Bonner 1-2, Leonard 1-3, Ginobili 1-4, Parker 0-1, Mills 0-2), Miami 10-19 (Miller 3-3, Allen 3-5, Chalmers 2-4, James 1-3, Battier 1-3, Cole 0-1). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsSan Antonio 51 (Leonard 14), Miami 44 (Bosh 10). AssistsSan Antonio 16 (Parker 5), Miami 22 (James 7). Total FoulsSan Antonio 14, Miami 17. TechnicalsSan Antonio defensive three second.


Spurs 1, Heat 1

TV: Ch. 28

Game 1: Spurs 92, Heat 88

Sunday: Heat 103, Spurs 84

Tuesday: at San Antonio, 9

Thursday: at San Antonio, 9

June 16: at San Antonio, 8

June 18: at Miami, 9*

June 20: at Miami, 9*

* If necessary

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