I’m a fan of Tiago Splitter, but after game two, he’ll be having nightmares of LeBron at the rim.
The game was effectively over at this point at 86-67 but James gave the Heat fans something to remember game two by.
That block came during a 30-5 second half run that ended the game as a contest as Miami evened the series against the Spurs and gained confidence heading into game three in San Antonio. This for me will be a pivotal game as I feel whoever wins this game will win the finals itself.
The Heat eventually got going in the third quarter as they blew away the Spurs with crisp shooting, aggressive drives and intense defence, forcing the Spurs to commit 17 turnovers while tuning Tony Parker and Tim Duncan completely out of the game. Parker ended with 13 points with Duncan finishing with 9.
SUPER MARIO AND MILLER TIME
When the King struggled to score, the Heat turned to Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller to provide a scoring lift and those two left their mark all over the 30-5 burst that ended the game. James struggled to get any kind of rhythm going, scoring-wise, so he utilized other facets of his game to awesome effect. His lack of aggressiveness in the first half was evident and he changed that around in the third. But instead of scoring, he found the open player (usually Miller) open for the jumper.
Chalmers though was outstanding, and the catalyst behind the scoring run. He was smart and picked his spots throughout the game. It was a game that no doubt favoured the role players, as Wade and James didn’t provide their usual scoring efficiency and Super Mario stepped up for Miami to win game two.
SPURS’ BIG 3
As said, this was all about the role players as they stole the spotlight from the two teams’ respective big three. The Spurs’ trio of Parker, Duncan and Ginobili were left in the dark all night. Unable to get into a scoring pattern and with Miami’s trademark postseason defence on full display, it was up to the others to step up.
Unfortunately for the Texas side, it was only Danny Green who answered the call. He went 6/6 from the field, five of those field goals were three-pointers as he went for 17 points and showed veteran-like confidence in his ability at both ends.
Another positive was a great defence played by Kawhi Leonard on LeBron, especially in the first half. He was patient, stayed in front of James and made him take jumpers. A tactic used by the Spurs back in 2007, when James was an inconsistent shooter, but despite the risk today as LeBron is a much-improved jump shooter, the plan worked. James seemed settled to attempt 16-footers and turnarounds and wasn’t his usual aggressive self. Due to Leonard’s line of defence.
So as the series goes to San Antonio, coach Gregg Popovich will try to get his team back to the side that outplayed the Heat in game one. The Spurs will learn from this, they’re too experienced and should find a way back.
Game three for me will be the pivotal one in my view.