Well, my heart hasn't slowed down yet. It was thumping in my chest the entire game, as the Spurs spent most of the contest down a few points, making a run every now and then, but never taking the lead outright from late in the 1st quarter to midway in the 4th. The Spurs have come back from larger leads a few times in the postseason, most notably against Golden State and Memphis. Miami played a great game, didn't commit too many turnovers until the 4th quarter and were aggressive in transition and even on the glass, besting the Spurs by 9 in that department. They had 9 fast break points and held the Spurs to only 4. The Heat were better in nearly every statistic, from field goal percentage, assists, to three point percentage and bench points. The Spurs were able to take control of the game in the 4th quarter, amping up their defense and forcing the Heat into their lowest scoring quarter of the game in the final period, only allowing 16, while scoring 23 themselves.
The Spurs went into halftime only down a couple of points thanks to a buzzer beater by Tim Duncan, who received the ball on an inbound play on the right wing, rose up and sunk the long jumper as time expired. No celebration from Duncan, just acknowledgment that he had helped his team cut the deficit even closer.
The finishing touch was put on by Tony Parker who hit a tricky floater with less than 0.1 seconds left on the shot clock that made it a two possession game with about 5 seconds remaining. The Heat missed their next shot and the game was over. It was a surprising finish to the game, as Miami seemed to control most of it, but was not able to put it away. Could it have been fatigue from their previous seven game series against the Indiana Pacers? Or was it that the Spurs became more aggressive defensively in the fourth quarter, allowing only seven points for more than half of the quarter, allowing them to take the lead and never relinquish it. Tony Parker continued to attack the basket and pass the ball, while Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard provided great defense and rebounding that ended Heat possessions early, or snuffed them out completely. What decided the game was ultimately how well the Spurs took care of the ball, turning it over only four times.
Pop's Quote of the Game
"We don't do no-turnover drills."
Responding to how they didn't commit that many turnovers
Tim Duncan's Mantra
"We're here to win...old, veterans, whatever you wanna call us, we're in the mix right now."
The Frenchman led the way for the Spurs. He closed the game with 10 fourth quarter points and provided clutch plays right when the Spurs needed it.
Bosh missed a crucial three point attempt late in the 4th quarter. He watched his shot instead of following it and simply stood there as Danny Green corralled the rebound with about half a minute left. He also shot poorly from everywhere that wasn't midrange and, again, didn't grab that many rebounds. That's what happens when you post a power forward on the perimeter.
Check out J. Gomez's recap if you haven't already.
The Spurs entered the fourth quarter down only three, a surprisingly small amount since the Heat shot the ball pretty well during the first half. Every Spur except for Danny Green was missing their open threes, with Manu as the only Spur (other than IcyHot) to hit more than one three point attempt. Kawhi missed all four of his, two of which came on back to back possessions. Gary Neal hit one three (he missed four) late in the third quarter off a Kawhi Leonard offensive rebound and Ginobili assist. Leonard would miss two three point attempts after that shot, Ray Allen would answer with a three, extending the lead to 5, but Manu Ginobili shortened it back to three with a pair of free throws.
For the first three minutes in the final period, the Spurs and Chris Andersen traded shots before the Spurs called timeout. For the next six minutes, the Spurs played amazing defense, allowing only five points, on two field goals and a free throw split by Ray Allen. On their own end, the Spurs made five shots and flipped the script of the game around, taking a seven point lead on a Danny Green triple with just over two minutes to go. The best player in the world would get a quick layup after driving into the paint, and after a Ginobili miss, Danny Green would undo all of the goodwill he had gained from that three pointer by fouling Ray Allen on a three point attempt. Allen would hit all of his free throws, cutting the lead to two. On the next Spurs possession, Tim Duncan drew the foul, and drained both free throws. LeBron attacked the basket and passed to a wide open Chris Bosh on the perimeter, at a similar spot to where he shot that game winning three in the two teams' second regular season matchup. With 30 seconds to go and a two point lead, the Spurs gave the ball to Tony Parker, who was matched up with LeBron. After a crazy possession and a literally last second shot, the Spurs would hold on to win the game in an amazing fashion. Tony Parker has a flair for the dramatic, starting this series similarly to the Spurs' opening home regular season game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, in which he hit the game winning shot.
Check out the highlights from Game 1:
Numbers of Note
- -9 - Rebounding differential for the Spurs, who only grabbed 37, compared to 46 by Miami.
- 1 - Triple-Double by LeBron James, who scored 18 points, had 18 boards and 10 assists. Once again, he led the Heat in each of these categories. The Spurs contained James well, as he hit only 7-16 field goals, a bad shooting night per the MVP's usual numbers.
- 30 - Points from the Miami bench, 8 more than the Spurs' own.
- 20 - Assists by Miami, 4 more than the Spurs. The Spurs don't have the best record of winning when they don't out-assist the other team, but they managed to pull out the win tonight.
- 41.7% - Field Goal percentage for the Spurs, about 2 percentage points lower than Miami. They only hit 30.4% of their three point attempts, again about 2 percentage points worse than the Heat.
- 40 - Points in the paint by the Spurs. The shots weren't falling from the perimeter, so San Antonio had to get closer to the rim in order to get much needed points against a stingy Miami defense.
- 48 - Points by the Miami Big Three; 54 by the Spurs'. Each respective team's role players played pretty much equally, but the Spurs' stars outshined the Heat's own.
- 4-0 - The Spurs' record in the Finals when winning the first game. On the other hand, the last four times that the Heat have dropped their first game in a postseason series, they've responded with a backdoor sweep.
Bird is the Word
Almost like it's magic! RT @jollyrogerwilco: Ginobili enters the game. Easy buckets ensue.— Pounding the Rock (@poundingtherock) June 7, 2013
Best part of the finals? Pop's in game interviews— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) June 7, 2013
gary neal has already played more minutes than i expected him to play this entire series. and it has not gone well.— Aaron McGuire (@docrostov) June 7, 2013
This is fun. That's my take on this game.— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) June 7, 2013
I'm intrigued by Bill Simmons' comments on Spurs going with Heat's pace. Heat had 23rd highest pace, Spurs had the 6th highest in reg season— SBNation NBA (@SBNationNBA) June 7, 2013
TONYMUPHYQQYNPARKER!!!!!! Suck On Dat!!!— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) June 7, 2013
okay, so yep. they had six player orebs and five team orebs. they scored on 9/11 of them, with three 3s. amazing.— Aaron McGuire (@docrostov) June 7, 2013
- It's pretty late, so this section will be a little shorter than usual.
- I watched the game with a few friends and acquaintances, most of whom are not NBA fans and were rooting for the Heat to win because of their exciting play. One of my buddies is from San Antonio and was alone with me as the only San Antonio fans in the room. The casual fans loved the game because it was so close for nearly the entire game. They even appreciated the ball movement by the Spurs, which made me happy. LeBron was the main attraction, of course, and played well, notching a triple double by the third quarter. He also had 18 rebounds. 18!
- Tim Duncan started off terribly in the first quarter, missing all five of his shots, four of which he later claimed were good shots that he would feel comfortable taking again. He also had two quick fouls, which forced Diaw into the lineup earlier than anticipated. From the second quarter on, he scored 20 points.
- LeBron and Wade played well, but the Spurs were able to contain them enough to slow down their entire offense at certain points. While the Heat bench outplayed the Spurs' own, San Antonio's starters played amazingly, especially Kawhi Leonard, who played outstanding defense on the best player in the game. Holding him to under 50% will probably be necessary if the Spurs want to win while shooting close to 40% from the field.
- Transition defense was lacking in the first half, but tightened up as the game went on. Tim Duncan's influence down in the paint was a great deterrent to the smaller Miami Heat, as Duncan ended with 3 blocks.
- Those quick fouls on Duncan and Leonard made me extremely nervous, as the Spurs could not afford to lose their two best defenders so early in the game. The Spurs withstood the Heat's run in the first quarter and stayed close the entire game, finally attacking at the end of the 4th.
- For a closer look at stats and specific Finals records, check out this article over at stats.nba.com.
Going into Game 2 of the Finals, the Spurs need to...
...keep up the outstanding defense. By forcing everyone aside from the Heat's Big Three to shoot the ball, the Spurs are making role players step up and win the game. Both teams have deep benches, and the Heat have been at this point before. They also haven't lost back to back games in ages and will be looking to come out aggressively. Regroup over the next two days and rest those legs for Sunday.