San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat: Game 1 Postgame Grades and Analysis
If Game 1 is any predictor of how exciting, competitive and compelling this NBA Finals is going to be, we're all in for one wild ride.
The San Antonio Spurs, led by a remarkable shot by Tony Parker with under 10 seconds left in the game, knocked off the Miami Heat in Miami, 92-88.
With the Spurs up just two points, Parker dribbled around the perimeter, fell to one knee—Harlem Globetrotter style—then put up a bank shot prayer just one millisecond before the shot clock expired. It bounced in.
Parker ended the night with 21 points and six assists, while Tim Duncan added 20 points and 14 rebounds to power the Spurs past the Heat.
LeBron James had a solid night, with a triple-double consisting of 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists.
The Heat led for a majority of the game, but they got outscored 23-16 in the fourth quarter thanks to an efficient team effort by the Spurs, which shouldn't be shocking.
Game 2 is set for Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, and it's all of a sudden turned into a must-win for Miami.
Tony Parker, Spurs
The man, the myth and the legend Tony Parker added another magical moment to his illustrious career.
With under 10 seconds left in the game and the Spurs up just two points, Parker dribbled around the floor like a Harlem Globetrotter, falling to the ground before sinking an unbelievable bank shot that gave the Spurs the lead for good.
It was a truly remarkable moment that sucked all the air out of AmericanAirlines Arena and stole the momentum from the Heat.
Parker ended Game 1 with 21 points, six assists, two steals and zero turnovers. Yep, zero turnovers against one of the most defensively sound and aggressive teams in the NBA.
It was a performance for the ages from Parker, even with under four minutes in the fourth when LeBron trying to lock him down. If the Spurs go on to win this series, Parker's Game 1 performance will be a major reason why.
Overall Grade: A+
Mario Chalmers, Heat
With the Heat down seven and under four minutes left in the game, Mario Chalmers' night came to an end.
I'm sure he didn't appreciate that, but Tony Parker used and abused him all night long—even though Chalmers' defense wasn't that awful.
What was awful about Chalmers' performance was his 3-of-10 shooting from the field. He also only dished out two assists. In reality he was more of a shooting guard than a point guard in Game 1.
The Heat don't need more production out of Chalmers moving forward; they just need him to be more efficient offensively. We all know he can't stop Parker, but he has to make up for it with efficient production.
Overall Grade: C-
Danny Green, Spurs
Robert Horry has some competition in San Antonio for the "Big Shot" nickname, and that competition is named Danny Green.
Green shot an impressive 4-of-9 from beyond the arc, with a majority of those shots coming at pivotal times for the Spurs.
Whether it was stopping a Heat run or helping the Spurs inch back within striking distance of the Heat, Green's sharpshooting from deep helped the Spurs immensely in Game 1.
Defensively speaking, Green did a relatively good job on Dwyane Wade throughout the night, holding him to just under 50 percent shooting. You can't beat the Spurs by simply shutting one player down, and Green reminded the Heat of that in Game 1.
Overall Grade: B
Dwyane Wade, Heat
It looks like Dwyane Wade's put his Eastern Conference Finals struggles behind him, and he's only been able to do that by getting back to what makes him so special—aggressively attacking the basket.
With 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting, Wade seemed to have found his shooting stroke. But finding his shot led to a lack of production from anywhere else on the floor.
Wade accounted for just two rebounds and two assists throughout 36 minutes, and that's not going to cut it.
The Spurs are an extremely deep team, and the Heat need Wade to be a more balanced player instead of being focused solely on scoring.
Defensively, Wade doubled-down in the paint and lost sight of Green a number of times, which seemed to lead to big-time shots for Green throughout the night.
Overall Grade: B
Kawhi Leonard, Spurs
During the third quarter there was a stretch when Kawhi Leonard missed back-to-back-to-back three pointers, and for some reason he decided to keep shooting.
Kawhi Leonard ended the night with 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field and 0-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
It certainly wasn't his best offensive outing, but he made up for it by hanging with LeBron throughout the night. Holding LeBron to just 18 points is a major accomplishment, and it's one that Leonard will try to achieve over the next few games of this series.
Leonard did grab 10 rebounds, which gave him a double-double, and he didn't turn the ball over a single time. Now the Spurs just need that efficiency protecting the ball to transfer into his offensive touch.
Overall Grade: B-
LeBron James, Heat
I'm sure LeBron's triple-double means nothing to him now that the Heat are down 0-1 in the series.
That doesn't mean that his 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists weren't impressive, though. The fact that he grabbed more rebounds than anyone on his team—and even Tim Duncan of the Spurs—is rather remarkable.
With that being said, LeBron wasn't nearly aggressive enough with his mid-range game throughout the night.
The Spurs double-teamed him when he got into the paint, which is why he was able to dish out 10 assists, but he settled for contested shots around the rim rather than unleashing his mid-range game.
LeBron also shot 1-of-5 from beyond the arc, which isn't ideal.
Defensively speaking, LeBron switched on Tony Parker in the fourth quarter, and while he slowed him down, even LeBron's blanketing defense couldn't stop him from hitting that remarkable shot that kept the Spurs in the lead.
The Heat need LeBron to be more aggressive with his offense in Game 2, because 18 points won't cut it moving forward.
Overall Grade: B+
Tim Duncan, Spurs
I think it's time for Tim Duncan's nickname to be "The ageless wonder."
With 20 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and three blocks, Duncan had an extremely solid game. Not only did he dominate offensively, he also filled up the paint quite nicely on the defensive side of the ball.
Duncan's not the largest 7-footer in the world, but the difference is that he knows how to use his size to pester his opponents. Just ask LeBron how he felt about Duncan's interior presence and double-teams.
The Heat didn't have an answer for Duncan, and that included Chris Bosh's defensive efforts, which failed to impress like they did in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Solid stuff from the Big Fundamental, as he once again showed us all just how important it is to learn the game inside and out.
Overall Grade: A
Udonis Haslem, Heat
Two points and four rebounds in 17 minutes of action sounds about right for the kind of player Udonis Haslem's been for the majority of the season.
Aside from hitting one baseline jumper, Haslem didn't bring much to the floor for the Heat, which includes not being a factor defensively against Duncan early on.
I'm not sure the Heat need Haslem to be more aggressive on offense, but they certainly need him to step it up defensively when he's in the game.
If Haslem's not shooting near 100 percent and dropping more than 14 points—like he did in two games during the ECF—he's not a useful player for the Heat. Miami either needs to figure out how to include him more in its offense or just bring someone else in for him earlier, like Chris Andersen.
Overall Grade: C-
Tiago Splitter, Spurs
Tiago Splitter was the only Spurs starter not to score in double digits, as he ended Game 1 with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting.
While he wasn't a force offensively, he was an efficient member of the Spurs' rotation, and that's exactly who they needed him to be.
Defensively speaking, Splitter did a solid job of staying close enough to the paint that he could bring help defense and help out on anyone entering the interior.
Efficient offense and stingy defense led Splitter to a rather solid Game 1 performance—when you grade it against what the Spurs expect to get out of him.
Overall Grade: B
Chris Bosh, Heat
With under five minutes in the third quarter, Chris Bosh drained a mid-range jumper to give him double-digit production (11 points) for the first time in the past four games.
He would only go on to score two more points, ending the night with 13 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the field and 0-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
Bosh jacked up a few too many three-pointers, especially the one at the end of the game when it appeared that he had a wide-open lane to the basket. With just five rebounds, 13 fewer than LeBron, Bosh wasn't a major factor on the glass and didn't help the Heat get many second-chance opportunities.
It's not safe to say that Bosh is back, because he's not. While he finally hit double digits, he's still shooting horribly. That has to change if Miami wants that second title.
Without efficiency from Bosh, the Heat don't stand a chance of winning this series. Bosh either needs to stop shooting so much or find his stroke. If he doesn't, it's time to decrease his minutes.
Overall Grade: C
Manu Ginobili, SG Spurs
Manu Ginobili was certainly productive with 13 points, but he wasn't efficient, shooting just 4-of-11 from the floor. He didn't let his poor shooting hold him back, though. Ginobili kept attacking the rim like the game depended on it—which it kind of did.
Defensively, Ginobili was as annoying as usual for Wade and Ray Allen.
Shooting at such a low clip isn't going to help the Spurs win this series, though, and while it didn't matter in Game 1, it certainly will as this series rages on.
Overall Grade: B-
Ray Allen, SG Heat
It took awhile, but Ray Allen has finally found the Jesus Shuttlesworth version of himself. The one who shoots like a robot from beyond the arc and from the charity stripe.
Allen had a very strong game—13 points and three rebounds on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc and 4-of-5 shooting from the free-throw line.
The Heat needed Allen to remember how to shoot, and he did. But it wasn't enough because players like Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers didn't step up their games.
If Allen can continue to play at this high level, the Heat are going to have significant bench production, which will help them stay competitive with a relatively deep Spurs team.
Overall Grade: B
San Antonio Spurs Bench
The Spurs bench wasn't that impressive in Game 1, shooting 8-of-23 from the floor and accounting for 22 of the Spurs' 92 points.
Gary Neal hit timely shots, but he shot just 3-of-9 from the field and 1-of-5 from beyond the arc.
The good thing about the bench production, though, was the bench's ability to protect the ball, committing just one turnover in 69 minutes of combined bench action.
With that being said, shooting 34.7 percent from the floor isn't going to cut it throughout the rest of this series.
Overall Grade: C+
Miami Heat Bench
The Heat's bench actually had one of its better outings of the 2013 playoffs.
Everyone not named Shane Battier or Joel Anthony shot at or above 50 percent from the floor, with Norris Cole, Chris Andersen, Ray Allen and Mike Miller combining for 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field.
Andersen brought intensity in the interior, which the Heat lacked when Chris Bosh was out on the floor, and he also was a force on the offensive glass even though he grabbed just one offensive rebound.
The Heat need to figure out how to work more bench production into the rotation, because guys like Miller and Andersen are stepping their games up at the right time.
Unfortunately Miami's second unit came up a bit short in Game 1, but it wasn't their fault—it was a lack of efficiency from the starting five.
Overall Grade: B+