Nothing like a 33-5 run in a finals game, eh? On Sunday night the Heat reminded all of us exactly why they are the defending champions in a 103-84 rout of the Spurs.
Lebron James wasn’t great, but he didn’t need to be. The supporting cast, led by Mario Chalmers, really stepped up their game and a barrage of second half three-pointers made this game a laugher minutes into the fourth quarter. Spurs’ Tony Parker never even came close to playing at the level they played at in Game 1.
If it wasn’t for Danny Green’s 17 points and 100% field goal percentage, this game probably would have been a blowout before halftime. Simply put, the Spurs could not hold onto the ball; a recipe for disaster when you’re playing the Heat.
After committing only four turnovers in the first game, the Spurs committed five turnovers in the first quarter and 17 for the entire game. Tony Parker passed the ball to so many white jersey’s you thought he could be colorblind, and he was even benched in the third quarter which sparked a 7-0 run by the Spurs.
However, by the end of the third, there was no doubt determining who was in control of the game. Add on an emphatic stuff by James on Tiago Splitter at the start of the fourth quarter, and you have a nicely gift wrapped Heat victory.
Tim Duncan got off to a slow start in Game 1 but recovered to score 20 points and 14 rebounds. But after another slow start in this game, Duncan ended shooting 3-13 from the field with nine points and 11 rebounds. The Heat only got 10 points from Wade but Bosh had a nice comeback game with 12 points and 10 rebounds on 6-10 shooting.
Key role players Ray Allen, Chris Andersen and Mike Miller combined for 30 points on 11-14 shooting including 6-8 from a three-point range. This contribution proved to be the difference between the Spurs and the Heat on Sunday.
Ginobili was a small factor in this game, scoring 5 points on 2-6 shooting in only 18 minutes of play. Gary Neal and Cory Joseph picked up some of the slack for Parker by scoring 18 points coming off the bench, but it was clear that the best point guard on the court last night was Mario Chalmers.
Behind Lebron James, Chalmers has been the most consistent contributor for the Heat throughout their entire playoff run. He sparked the Heat’s 33-5 run in the third and fourth quarters by scoring back-to-back three-point plays. Statistically speaking, he was the most efficient player on the floor Sunday night, with a +/- at +30.
Game 3 will be at San Antonio on Tuesday night. As much as any game in the NBA Finals is a “must-win”, I think everybody needs to see a close game on behalf of the Spurs to be convinced that the Heat aren’t about to run away with this series. It’s easy to think that after the Heat have a vintage “we completely destroyed you” type of game, the opponent has no hope of winning.
However, several of the Heat’s wins in the Pacers series were of this variety and the Pacers were still resilient enough to come back and win a few games. And the Spurs are every bit as capable as the Pacers.
The Heat haven’t lost consecutive games in five months, but because of the Spurs Game 1 victory they can now win these finals by trading victories with the Heat the rest of the series. They should keep that in mind as we head into Game 3.