Miami bounces back to take Game 2, 96-98
LeBron James was well hydrated and thusly was a force to be reckoned with as the Miami Heat evened their championship series with the San Antonio Spurs with a 96-98 Game-2 victory. Beyond his impressive 35-point, 10-rebound explosion, James made a couple of key decisions down the stretch that were instrumental in lifting his team. James led his team’s scoring effort more most of the game, but showed trust in other teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to knock down crucial shots.
James found an open Chris Bosh who knocked down a three-pointer with 1:18 left in regulation. “The King” also dished the ball to Dwyane Wade who finished under the basket in the dying seconds. Boris Diaw tried to put a hand in front of James’ face as LeBron elevated for his jumpers, but he was not distracted.
“Down the end there they executed really well,” Duncan said. “LeBron made some great passes and guys made open shots. We had the same result in the first game. They kind of flipped it in this one.”
Despite Miami’s small-ball attacking style, James and Wade combined for 17 rebounds and made their presence felt in the paint all game long. San Antonio beat out Miami in three-point shots made and in total assists, but Coach Gregg Popovich felt his players weren’t able to move the ball well enough for them to capitalize. The Spurs also missed four straight free-throws during a key stretch in the game. In a game as close as this was, San Antonio’s going 12-of-20 (60%) from the charity stripe surely came back to haunt them in the end.
San Antonio’s Big Three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili had good performances. Duncan led the way for his team 18 points and 15 rebounds. His double-double puts him in a tie with Magic Johnson for the most double-doubles (157) in NBA post-season history. It is not far fetched to think that Duncan will claim the solo lead in that category before this series is over. Tony Parker had 21 points and seven assists. However, Duncan and Parker both combined for just 7-of-14 from the line. Manu Ginobili finished with 19 points and four assists.
The Miami Heat have been shooting the ball well in the series. They knocked down 37-of-70 shots from the field (52.9%) in Game 2. Chris Bosh ended up scoring 18 points in this game and has shown improvement in his evolution into a true stretch four. Rashard Lewis and Dwyane Wade each finished with 14 points apiece.
The short-term goal for the Spurs is clear. Execute well and steal one game in Miami. Games 3 and 4 will be played in South Beach. The league has returned to the old 2-2-1-1-1 format this season and it will be interesting if it will have an impact. Previous seasons in recent history used a 2-3-2 format.
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