SAN ANTONIO (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat came into Sunday night having never lost the first two games of a playoff series during the ‘Big 3’ era. That streak remains alive as the Heat took down the San Antonio Spurs 98-96 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
LeBron James led the way for Miami with 35 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Bosh added 18 points and Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis each scored 14 as the Heat evened the series that now shifts back to Miami for Game’s 3 and 4.
Just like last year, the Heat lost Game 1 of the Finals only to come back with a win in Game 2. The only difference is that last season Miami had to hit the road following their win but now they are heading back to the American Airlines Arena, where the Heat are 8-0 during the playoffs.
“We have a very competitive group and you have two days to commiserate how that game went down,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra following the game. “There was frustration, it was painful going through that for two days and now we have to manage the other emotion. That can be just as challenging.”
This was a game that was extremely tight for most of the second half. Neither team held a lead larger than three over the last 14:02 of the game though there were 10 lead changes during that span, five of which came in the final 57.5 of the third quarter.
The Spurs held a one-point lead heading into the final two minutes of the game off of a Tony Parker 3-pointer, his second of the night. That’s when the Heat came up with the play that would give them their final lead of the game.
LeBron drove the paint, sucking in the Spurs defense only to dish the ball to a wide-open Chris Bosh in the corner. Bosh drilled the three and put Miami up for good with 1:18 left in the game.
“It’s rewarding in the fact it was a huge play to help us win,” said James of the big shot by Bosh. “I was able to find [Bosh] in the corner in one of his favorite spots on the floor and he knocked it down.”
San Antonio got off to a good start on the shoulders of Tim Duncan, who had nine points in the first five minutes of the game. The Spurs led by as many as nine during the first quarter and took a 26-19 lead into the second.
The Heat came to life in the early stages of the second quarter after the Spurs stretched their lead to eleven. Miami scored nine straight points capped off by a pair of aggressive drives by LeBron, the plays that seemed to get him going.
James started the game by making just one of his first five shots but finished the first half with 13 points on six of eleven shooting, though it wasn’t until after halftime that he would really find his groove.
LeBron caught fire during the third quarter, at one point hitting five straight shots. He’d go six of seven in the quarter, scoring 14 points.
The defensive effort from Miami was much more Heat-like during Game 2. They clamped down on the Spurs during the fourth quarter, not allowing San Antonio any access into the painted area. The Spurs hit just four field goals over the last 7:44 of the game, all three-pointers.