Miami Heat has tied the 2014 NBA Finals at 1-1 by edging the San Antonio Spurs 98-96 on Sunday.
Led by an inspired LeBron James, who led all scorers with 35 points, while adding 10 rebounds, Miami improved to 5-0 in the James-Wade-Bosh era when down 1-0 in the post-season.
James scored 14 third quarter points, and connected on his first six attempts as the Heat erased a 62-56 deficit early on but still trailed San Antonio 78-77 going into the fourth quarter as a Spurs side led by Tony Parker and Tim Duncan were leading the charge.
A three from Parker gave the Spurs a 93-92 lead with 2:25 left but the last word went to Miami. Chris Bosh hit a clutch three in the corner and with 13 seconds left and San Antonio choosing not to foul, Bosh found an open Dwayne Wade, who connected inside to seal the deal for the Heat.
Parker had 21 points and 7 assists for the Spurs.
WHAT DECIDED THE GAME?
LEBRON JAMES was in beast mode. His 35 points though wasn’t a statement that he wanted this “crampgate” thing to end. No. James was concern only about the scoreline and was determined to make sure the scores were level, heading over to Miami for Game 3 on Tuesday.
James scored on his first six attempts in the third quarter and was in the groove all night, offensively. His main play was a key steal late in the fourth on Parker that led to a score at the other end as momentum looked to be shifting the way of the Spurs.
Yes, James was the subject of a lot of stick from the Spurs fans. One of the signs targeting LeBron said: “I was gonna make a cool Spurs sign but my hand cramped up”. But James didn’t let it faze him despite a slow start where he was 1/4 from the field with 3 turnovers.
“What happened on Thursday was Thursday,” James said. “My whole focus was how I was going to try to help this team even this up and just try to make some plays.”
WHY DIDN’T THE SPURS FOUL in the last 16 seconds when they were down 96-93? A strange decision that ultimately cost them the game when Wade scored when found by Bosh.
It’s a safe bet that this series will go to seven games again (for the fans), but could this be a talking point as the Finals goes on?
WADE WATCHES TOO MUCH WWE?
France’s Tony Parker led the Spurs and a big three with just over two minutes to go looked to shift the momentum until the Heat stormed back with a response of their own. Parker ended with 21 points and 7 assists.
Brazil’s Tiago Splitter played 19 minutes for 2 points. Defensively strong [6 rebounds] and at the same time unselfish with 5 assists with a single turnover, but at times, looked isolated and unable to help out when Miami ran corner plays.
France’s Boris Diaw was more effective than he was in Game 1. Hit a three to tie the game at 90-90 with 4:42 to play and was a presence at both ends, but he was the unfortunate player that was assigned to a sizzling LeBron James in the third. Diaw ended with 7 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Good numbers even if James torched him.
Argentina’s Manu Ginobili scored 19 points despite early foul trouble, when he should not have been. Shot below 50 percent from the field and probably feels he could have done more.
Italy’s Marco Belinelli was given extended minutes and for 22 minutes, only managed 3 points and was well contained, given the threat that he possesses from the three-point line.
Australia’s Patty Mills was his usual explosive self. Played with great intensity but other than 8 points, including two three-pointers, didn’t do much else.