James, Heat steal home court as series shifts to Miami 1-1

AT&T CENTER – With 2:26 remaining in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Tony Parker knocked down a three-pointer after drawing a mismatch, and regaining the lead 93-92.

While the momentum seemed to be swinging in the San Antonio Spurs’ favor, they would not score again until there was less than a second left on the clock.

Manu Ginobili hit a three-pointer at the buzzer, but it was too little, too late as the Miami Heat took the 98-96 Game 2 victory. The Heat’s win evens the series at one game apiece as the series shifts to Miami for the next two games.

“We stopped the ball. Against a team like that, we aren’t going to score a lot of points if we do stop the ball,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said after the game.

The Spurs missed four straight free throws in the fourth quarter after officials charged Mario Chalmers with a flagrant one on Tony Parker. San Antonio also shot only 60 percent from the charity stripe, something that came back to haunt them as they struggled to put up points late in the game.

“I don’t think we lose the game on that. We were up one with one minute and a half to go or two minutes and we make the stops that we need,” Spurs guard Tony Parker said. “We just couldn’t make the shot to come up on top. We had a great opportunity.”

While LeBron James got off to a slow start, scoring only two points in the first quarter, he came alive and scored 22 of his 35 in the second half. At one point in the third quarter, the Heat went on a 13-2 run, with James providing all but one of the points.

“For me, once I get into a good groove, I feel like everything is going to go in,” James said. “I just try to make plays out there, and like I continue to say, put myself and my teammates in a position to succeed.”

The Spurs got into foul trouble early, forcing Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to adjust his rotations as Danny Green picked up two fouls early in the first 1:28 of the game. Manu Ginobili then picked up three of his own in the second quarter. Kawhi Leonard picked up three in the third quarter and fouled out of the game.

Spurs forward Tim Duncan scored 18 points total, but scored in the first and third quarters only. While the Spurs will look to their tried-and-true four down play when struggling on offense, Duncan missed his only attempt as he saw stifling defensive efforts from Chris Anderson and Rashard Lewis.

“They’re great pros. Those guys are critical to our success at playing our depth,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Tony Parker led San Antonio in the losing effort. Parker finished with 21 points and seven assists. Ginobili added 19 points off the bench.

James finished with 35 points and 10 rebounds. Bosh chipped in 18 points and Lewis had 14.

If the Spurs hope to regain the series lead, they’ll have to do so in Miami. Game 3 is scheduled for Tuesday at America Airlines Arena. The game tips at 8 p.m. CST.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.