Published June 11, 2013
| Sports Network
The NBA Finals shift to the Alamo City starting with Game 3 Tuesday night as the defending champion Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are tied 1-1.
The Heat knotted things up on Sunday night in South Beach thanks to a 33-5 run in the second half. The final score was 103-84 and one of Game's 1 big storylines flipped in Game 2.
The Spurs matched a Finals record with just four turnovers en route to their 92-88 win. In Game 2, San Antonio committed 17 miscues, which led to 19 Heat points.
Another problem for the Spurs in Game 2 was the play of the Big Three. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined for 27 points on 10-for-33 shooting from the floor.
"No matter how you slice it, it's 10-for-33," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "Missing shots and not shooting well and turning it over is a bad combination."
Miami's version of the Big Three didn't play too much better. LeBron James (17), Chris Bosh (12) and Dwyane Wade (10) weren't great scoring, but the role players were sensational.
Mario Chalmers chipped in 19 points, followed by 13 from Ray Allen and nine apiece from Mike Miller and Chris Andersen.
"LeBron couldn't get into a rhythm early on, and other guys stepped up," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "He showed great poise and trust in not getting caught up in feeling like he had to make the play or score, but rather either facilitate or let other guys make plays. And that's what they did."
James may not have scored, but he did register a game-high seven assists. He also made the play of the game with a Herculean block of a Tiago Splitter dunk attempt.
"I was, I guess, the last line of defense. I just pride myself on that side of the floor, honestly," said James. "It didn't matter to me. I was going to try to protect the rim the best way I could. Like I said, I was fortunate enough that I was able to make a big play for us. We were able to go down the other end and I think Ray hit a 3 after that, I believe."
Now the series shifts to San Antonio, where the Spurs went 35-6 during the regular season. They are 6-1 in the playoffs with the lone blemish a setback in the quarterfinals to the Golden State Warriors.
One of those six regular-season losses came at the hands of the Heat, but that's a tough game to gauge anything from. James, Wade and Chalmers all sat that game out, but Miami still bested the Spurs, 88-86.
That game was a little over two months ago and things have certainly changed, especially for the Heat. Wade and Bosh have struggled mightily in the postseason and in order to turn things around, have to get easy buckets. James is doing everything possible, averaging 8.5 apg in the two Finals games.
But, remember this about the Heat and their resiliency. They lost Game 1 of the NBA Finals last season to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but won the next four to cruise to a title.
Miami, which is 3-22 in its last 25 in San Antonio, lost Game 1 to the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals, then won the next four.
And the Spurs have given up leads in series prior. They beat the Thunder in the first two of last year's Western Conference Finals, then fell in four straight.
And Game 3 is huge. Since the Finals have been played in a 2-3-2 format, when tied, the team that wins Game 3 has an overwhelming statistical advantage in winning the series.
"We have three at home, so we're excited about that," Duncan said Sunday after the loss. "But if we play like we did tonight, that's not going to matter. It's about getting refocused here, playing a much better game, ending quarters better, and hopefully shooting better."
Game 4 will be Thursday night in San Antonio.