Tony Parker’s twisting, prayer of a floater with 5.2 seconds remaining provided a straight jab to the eye of the defending champion Miami Heat in Game One, and now the San Antonio Spurs can take a 2-0 series lead heading back home.
But the Heat and small forward LeBron James can still tie the series at 1-1 and silence any critics with a win Sunday night in Game Two at American Airlines Arena.
The Heat have been here before. Earlier this postseason Miami did drop the opening game to Chicago in the conference semifinals, only to win the next four by an average margin of 18.3 points. In last year’s Finals run, the Heat also lost the first game against Oklahoma City and went on to win the next four, but never dropped a home game.
Not even James’s triple double of 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists could help Miami in the fourth quarter of Game One. The Heat were outscored by seven points in the fourth, and San Antonio committed just four turnovers for the entire game.
Looking like the same player that won Finals MVP honors in 2007, Parker notched 21 points and six assists, while forward Tim Duncan had 20 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. Kawhi Leonard totaled 10 points and 10 rebounds, but the second year forward’s defense on James was his best contribution in his Finals debut.
Overall James shot 7-for-16 from the field, while Dwyane Wade went 7-for-15 for 17 points, and Chris Bosh continued his woes on offense with a 6-for-16 shooting display for 13 points.
Bosh was also 0-for-4 from three-point range, but Spur guard Danny Green knocked down four of his nine attempts beyond the arc.
Heat reserve guard Ray Allen provided a spark of the bench with 13 points, but that was equaled by San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili. Both will be keys in Game Two, especially from outside with each team shooting well below their top averages in the playoffs.
Game One was also one of the rare occasions this season when the Heat outrebounded an opponent. Miami held the edge on the boards 46-30.
The game tips-off at 8 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast ABC, or watch a live online stream on ESPN 3 here.
Point Spread: Miami is favored by 6 points
Over/Under: 189 points
Predicted Score: Miami 98, San Antonio 88