A week-and-a-half off didn't hurt Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs. On the wings of Parker's clutch play, San Antonio toppled the Miami Heat, 92-88, in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The Spurs' star point guard tallied 10 points in the decisive fourth quarter, totalling 21 points and six assists in total. Parker turned the ball over just once, leading his team to just four giveaways. Parker netted the bucket that put Miami away for good, just beating the shot clock with five seconds left.
Tim Duncan broke through in the second quarter and was huge all game, finishing with 20 points and 14 rebounds. He took care of the inside, while Chris Bosh (13 points, five rebounds) floated around the perimeter.
Manu Ginobili added 13 points off the bench and played tight defense on the perimeter. Danny Green found his way to four threes and 12 points.
LeBron James, meanwhile, seemed to play a tad passively in the fourth quarter. He picked up a triple-double with 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists, but he went to the line only four times and was unable to pull Miami ahead late.
Dwyane Wade looked more like the version of himself from Game 7 of the conference finals, but his 17 points were largely negated by a game-high minus-11 mark.
Duncan got off to a poor start, going scoreless in the first quarter. However, when the second quarter rolled around, he went off and kept San Antonio in the game. Duncan's 12 points and nine rebounds, including a buzzer-beating jumper, had the Spurs down just 52-49 at the half.
With James keying the offense, Bosh netted a couple buckets. At the other end, San Antonio was spreading the ball around expertly, and Ginobili pulled them within one, 58-57, with 7:09 to go in the quarter.
Ray Allen sank a corner three—his third trey in four attempts off the bench—with 38 seconds left in the third, pushing the Heat ahead by five. Two Ginobili free throws made it 72-69 entering the final quarter.
The little talked-about centers went at it to start the fourth. Chris Andersen and Tiago Splitter traded baskets, with Andersen putting Miami up 76-73 with 9:00 to play. Every time the Spurs got the deficit to one, however, the Heat would put some distance between.
A pair of freebies for Parker gave San Antonio their first lead since the first quarter. Parker's penetration was working nicely, finding seams and open passing lanes to his bigs. With 5:59 to go, he spun clean around Norris Cole, leaving the youngster in the dust for a layup and putting San Antonio ahead 81-78.
Miami looked lost on certain offensive possessions. James registered a triple-double, but continued looking for lesser teammates on key plays inside five minutes. Another smothering defensive possession from San Antonio led to a Parker jumper at the other end and the Spurs went up 85-79 with 3:30 on the clock.
James finally started looking for his own shot, grabbing back-to-back baskets on his own. He then found Allen on the wing, who was fouled shooting a three by Green. Allen hit all three, bringing his team within two, 88-86, with 1:28 left.
After a questionable three by Bosh, James decided he wasn't letting anyone but himself win or lose the game. He bullied his way into the paint and to the free-throw line with 31 seconds to go, getting the score to 90-88.
Unfortunately, James couldn't control the shooter's touch that belonged to Parker throughout the night. With the shot-clock buzzer expiring, the Spurs point guard lofted a shot off the glass and through. After an extensive review, the Heat were down 92-88 with just five seconds left.
Wade missed a layup at the buzzer, with the Spurs playing typically tight defense. Winning the series opener on the road is huge, and the Spurs will undoubtedly look to continue their stifling play in Game 2 on Sunday night.
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