In a game where the San Antonio Spurs showed a remarkably small amount of rust, yet trailed the Miami Heat for most of the game, it was huge plays down the stretch from Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker that allowed the Spurs to regain the lead in the fourth quarter and hold on to win the first game of the NBA Finals.
In the first quarter, the Spurs jumped out to an early seven point lead by doing little more than just what they've done all season long. Move the ball on offense, and play stout if unremarkable defense. But after an early timeout, the Heat applied themselves and went on a run, extending it up to 9 points as Tim Duncan went to the bench with 2 early fouls.
The middle quarters consisted of mini-runs by both teams, as the Spurs would cut the lead to a single possession, only to have the Heat push their advantage back out to 5-8 points. Time and again the Spurs that the ball with a chance to take the lead, and had one shot after another rattle, rim, bounce or swirl out. The last twenty minutes of the game were contested as the two teams stayed within 5 points of each other.
The final quarter began with the Heat up by 3, and then San Antonio's defense started flexing its muscles. After holding Miami to 20 points in the 3rd, the Spurs only allowed 16 in the fourth, while scoring 23 themselves. It was a twelve to three run by the Spurs from 7:47 to 3:30 that put the Spurs ahead to stay. Big plays at the end of the period from Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter and even a steal and assist from Manu Ginobili had the Spurs up by two points with the ball and thirty-one seconds left on the clock when Tony Parker happened.
In an epic sequence that will instantly enter into NBA Finals lore, Parker dribbled through the lane, found it closed, turned right and faced up with LeBron James guarding him, slipped and fell to one knee, picked up his dribble and regained his feet, turned to the basket, faked James into the air, and let go a 16 footer with literally no time left on the shot clock. The shot kissed ever so gently off the glass and bounced twice on the rim before falling through the hoop for the final 4 point margin the Spurs won by.
All that was left was a final ugly possession by Miami and it was over.
Spurs win; lead series 1-0.