Heat beat Spurs in Game 2 to level NBA Finals
The Miami Heat got a blowout victory over the San Antonio Spurs to level the NBA Finals at a game apiece and they didn't have to rely on LeBron James to do more.
The Miami Heat got a blowout victory over the San Antonio Spurs to level the NBA Finals at a game apiece - and they didn't have to rely on LeBron James to do more.
Not when Mario Chalmers and everyone else did everything right.
Chalmers led the charge and James broke out of a shooting slump and finished the game with a flurry as the Heat used a 33-5 run to beat the San Antonio Spurs 103-84 in Game 2 of the finals on Sunday night.
"I know my shooters only need a little bit of room to get the shot off," James said. "For me, I struggled offensively, but the shooters made some good shots."
James missed 10 of his first 13 shots and the Heat trailed by a point late in the third quarter before starting to play the kind of flawless basketball that led them to a team-record 66 wins this season.
Chalmers finished with 19 points and James had 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while shooting only 7 of 17 from the field.
The Heat made 10 of 19 3-pointers and got 13 points from Ray Allen, and 12 points and 10 rebounds from Chris Bosh.
San Antonio was incredibly precise in its 92-88 victory in Game 1, but committed 17 turnovers on Sunday, leading to 19 Miami points.
Danny Green made all six of his shots, including five 3-pointers, to score 17 points to lead the Spurs. Tony Parker had 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting, and Tim Duncan shot 3 of 13 and finished with nine points and 11 rebounds.
"They were really aggressive, obviously," Parker said about a Heat team determined not to go down 0-2 in this best-of-seven series. "You have to give a lot of credit to their defense. They played great defense tonight. They were very aggressive on the pick-and-rolls and all our drives."
The Spurs host Game 3 on Tuesday night.
James insisted he wouldn't force himself to do more to lead the team after getting a triple-double in Game 1, and he never seized the opportunity in Game 2 to take control of the scoring.
He didn't need to. Not with Chalmers making big shots and the Heat's defense making the Spurs look shaky all night.
The often-maligned Chalmers is often seen in Heat highlights being yelled at by James or another Miami veteran. But he's as cocky as any of the superstars in Miami, and he has the big-moment plays to back up his bravado, such as his 25 points in Game 4 of last year's NBA Finals.
The point guard sparked the Heat late in the third after San Antonio had taken a 62-61 lead. He converted two three-point plays, Allen and Mike Miller nailed 3-pointers, and James made only his third field goal of the game during a 14-3 run that sent Miami to the fourth with a 75-65 advantage.
They opened the fourth with nine straight points to make it 84-65, erasing any chance of their first two-game losing streak in five months.
"LeBron couldn't get into a rhythm early on and other guys stepped up," Heat coach Erik 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. And that's what they did."
The Spurs had only four turnovers in Game 1, matching an NBA Finals record low. But they surpassed that total in the first quarter, with Parker committing two of their five turnovers after not coughing it up once in the opener.
The Spurs' unrecognizable sloppy play continued, with Parker firing passes on the pick-and-roll right into a Heat player's leg on multiple occasions and even getting benched barely three minutes into the third quarter.
The Spurs responded with seven straight points without him to get back within one. But by the end of the period, it was Chalmers who was the best point guard on the floor.
"My main focus is to stop Tony Parker," Chalmers said. "That's my job, to not let him get going."
San Antonio had its seven-game postseason winning streak broken, as well as a six-game NBA Finals win streak that dated to the 2005 finals.