Nobody said that the Miami Heat's road to a second consecutive title would be easy, so it shouldn't come as too great of a shock that LeBron James and company fell to the veteran-laden San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the 2013 NBA finals.
That being said, with the amount of talent on Miami's roster, it's difficult to bet against the Heat, even with the vast amount of championship-caliber experience that the Spurs boast.
Game 1 could have gone either way, as the Heat held a three-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but in the end, Tony Parker's field goal with five seconds left on the clock gave Gregg Popovich's Spurs the early series lead.
Now, with Sunday's Game 2 in Miami as the next item of business for James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the defending champions, here's a look at what the Heat need to do in order to even the series at one game apiece.
Generate More Offensive Chances
Anytime the Spurs are in the finals, the series is almost always going to be a relatively low-scoring affair, which doesn't necessarily work in Miami's favor, given how many explosive offensive weapons Erik Spoelstra has at his disposal.
In Game 1, James led the Heat in scoring with 18 points, Wade put up 17 and Bosh and Ray Allen each chipped in 13, but the Spurs took six more shots than the home team, which was ultimately one of the deciding factors in the game.
The Spurs also scored 40 points to the Heat's 34 in the paint, which is indicative of the advantage San Antonio has in Tim Duncan near the basket.
In order to combat this, Miami simply has to find ways to create more opportunities from the field, because if this series turns into a slug-fest in the paint, Miami won't win.
Furthermore, if Miami isn't going to get more offensive opportunities than the Spurs, the Heat have to convert from the charity stripe. The five misses on 17 chances were ultimately fatal for the reigning champs.
Limit the Turnovers
Simply put, Miami committed far too many turnovers against a smart, experienced San Antonio team. The Spurs, as they've done so many times in the past, took advantage of those mistakes.
Overall, the Heat turned the ball over eight times to the Spurs' four. They gave up 15 points in the process, which was another reason why Miami's lead evaporated in the fourth quarter.
Yes, the Spurs did a good job of putting pressure on the Heat when they had possession, and grabbed six steals, but with the amount of talent on Miami, this should not happen.
It's somewhat understandable that the Spurs more than doubled the Heat in terms of blocks, but Miami has to do a better job of taking care of the basketball in order to knot the series up on Sunday.
Get Better Games Out of Wade and Bosh
Yes, Wade and Bosh were better than they were for much of the Heat's Eastern Conference Finals showdown against the Pacers, but the Spurs are a bigger challenge than Indiana.
In Game 1, the Spurs didn't shoot particularly well, nor did they out-rebound the Heat, they but still managed to get the win.
LeBron managed a triple-double, but wasn't scoring as easily as usual, largely because Kawhi Leonard was hounding him up and down the floor all night long.
If that continues, Wade and Bosh need to play like the All-Stars they are. That's why the three stars united in Miami: If one has a bad game, there are two other elite-level talents to pick up the slack.
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