Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs: Game 1 Grades and Analysis

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Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs: Game 1 Grades and Analysis
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With the air conditioning broken and temperatures inside the AT&T Center rising to over 90 degrees, the San Antonio Spurs overcame the heat in the building and the Miami Heat on the way to a 110-95 victory in Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals.

The Spurs finished the game shooting a blistering 58.8 percent from the field and 52 percent from three-point range.

Their hot shooting helped them overcome 23 turnovers caused by the aggressive defense of the Heat.

For Miami, the problems started on the interior, where they were dominated in the paint and on the boards.

San Antonio out-rebounded Miami 39-29 and pounded the ball inside enough to collapse the defense.

 

Key Player Grades: San Antonio Spurs

Tony Parker, Point Guard

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Even though he was clearly bothered by the sprained ankle he suffered against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Parker managed to have a huge impact.

His attacks were more measured because he was a step slower, and he often looked to pass more than score, which is why he finished with eight assists.

That doesn't mean he didn't influence the game as a scorer as well. He wound up padding his stats a bit at the end and finishing with 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting, putting in a few of his trademark dazzling finishes around the rim.

Grade: A

 

Tim Duncan, Center/Power Forward

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It may be terribly cliche to say this, but Duncan has truly overcome the effects of aging. 

At the age of 38, playing in an arena in which the temperature topped 90 degrees, Duncan put together a classic performance.

He scored 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting, grabbed 10 rebounds and was a big part of a late-game momentum shift when he checked in with 11 minutes to play.

With Bosh essentially a 6'10" shooting guard, Miami has no answer for Duncan's steady scoring and rebounding. 

Grade: A+

 

Kawhi Leonard, Small Forward

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Leonard is perhaps the one Spur you can point to as a guy who can combat the athleticism of the Heat, but he had little impact.

He spent the majority of his time on the floor defending LeBron. While he wasn't terrible, he didn't do a whole lot to slow him down.

Offensively, he didn't do much either. After the game was already decided, he hit a couple of threes down the stretch and finished with nine points on 3-of-6 shooting.

Grade: C

 

Danny Green, Shooting Guard

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For more than three quarters, Green was a complete non-factor. He might've even been a detriment.

Then, in the blink of an eye, he caught his rhythm and completely shifted the momentum of the game. He drilled three three-pointers in the final frame, including two that took San Antonio from down four to up two.

He also had the incredibly difficult assignment of defending Dwyane Wade and, at times, LeBron James. 

To have the energy to break loose in the fourth after that, with the heat literally rising, is extremely impressive.

He finished with 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting.

Grade: B+

 

Tiago Splitter, Center

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As usual, Splitter just quietly did his thing. He was aggressive defensively, didn't try to do too much on the other end and sneakily wound up with 14 points.

Like everyone else on the Spurs, he's just steady. He won't blow away the Heat in any game, but you can almost always count on something.

Grade: B

 

Manu Ginobili, Shooting Guard

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Ginobili's stellar postseason run continued with an electrifying double-double of 16 points and 11 assists.

He influenced the game from the opening tip through the fourth quarter. In the first, he hit three three-pointers. Then, his playmaking helped carry the Spurs the rest of the way.

He's so good at creating for others that San Antonio essentially has an extra point guard when he's on the floor.

Grade: A+

 

Bench

San Antonio's advantage here should be a story throughout the series. The backup Spurs outscored Miami's reserves 34-20.

Perhaps just as telling is the 18-9 edge San Antonio's second unit had in assists. It wasn't just Ginobili creating, as point forward Boris Diaw finished with six dimes of his own.

Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli contributed as well, scoring a combined 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

Grade: A

 

Key Player Grades: Miami Heat

LeBron James, Small Forward/Power Forward

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I hate to contribute to a narrative you'll all certainly be sick of within the next few hours, but James leaving the game with cramps in the fourth quarter was undeniably huge.

Miami was up two the first time he called for a sub and wound up losing the game by double digits. You can argue that San Antonio would've caught fire regardless of whether James was on the court, but there appeared to be a clear emotional blow to the team when he went out for good.

Prior to being carried off the floor by James Jones, James was in the midst a characteristically great playoff performance. He wound up with six rebounds and 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting.

Grade: B+

 

Dwyane Wade, Shooting Guard

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Wade did his best to shoulder his responsibility in what ultimately wound up being a difficult night for LeBron, but he trailed off down the stretch.

He finished with 19 points, but it took him 18 shots to get there. And he wasn't able to do too much besides score, finishing with just three rebounds and two assists.

Grade: B

 

Chris Bosh, Power Forward

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Bosh quietly had a very strong offensive outing, finishing with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-of-4 from downtown.

He was also solid on the glass, as he collected a team-high nine rebounds. 

His struggles came in the same form they did in last year's Finals: defensively. He couldn't slow down the 38-year-old Duncan to save his life or Miami's chances in Game 1.

Grade: B

 

Mario Chalmers, Point Guard

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Chalmers had a rough go, scoring just three points on 1-of-3 shooting.

He couldn't get anything going on either end, thanks to some silly fouls he committed that limited him to just 17 minutes.

The Heat will need at least a small counter to Parker if they are going to compete in the series. Thursday, they didn't get it.

Grade: F

 

Rashard Lewis, Power Forward/Small Forward

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Lewis had another surprising effort that had many thinking he was channeling a younger version of himself.

He hit a couple of timely threes and finished with 10 points.

Other than that, he really didn't do anything, though. Zero assists may not be a big deal given his role, but zero rebounds is a problem. 

Grade: C+

 

Ray Allen, Shooting Guard

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Allen was teammates with Lewis back in Seattle when they were both putting up huge numbers. Apparently, he saw his old teammate on his "Throwback Thursday" grind and decided to follow suit.

He was scoring in all kinds of ways, not just by hitting threes, as he finished with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting.

He even reminded us that he once participated in a dunk contest with this tremendous flush in transition.

Grade: A

 

Bench

The rest of Miami's bench was pretty much nonexistent.

Chris Andersen, Norris Cole and Shane Battier got minutes. They combined for four points on 2-of-7 shooting.

Cole deserves some credit for five assists, but there's not much else to speak for with this second unit.

Grade: D

 

What's Next?

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Miami will obviously be hoping the training staff can quickly figure out what's wrong with LeBron and get the cramping under control.

Other than that, there isn't a ton the team can change besides maybe trying to pack the paint a bit more in an effort to slow down Duncan. Of course, that would leave the shooters open, so it's a pick-your-poison situation.

For the Spurs, they need to get the turnovers under control. They finished the game with 23 and still won by 15. Imagine what they could do if they took care of the ball.

Game 2 is set for Sunday, June 8, at 8 p.m. ET.

 

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewDBailey.

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