The Miami Heat pulled away for a 103-84 victory against the San Antonio Spurs that tied the National Basketball Association Finals at one game apiece even though LeBron James was held to 17 points, his fewest this postseason.
The defending-champion Heat used a 33-5 scoring run spanning the third and fourth quarters last night at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami to pull away from the Spurs. Mario Chalmers scored a team-high 19 points for Miami, while Ray Allen and Mike Miller combined for 22 points off the bench by hitting 6-of-8 3-pointers.
“I struggled offensively, but I knew those guys would come through for me and they made some big shots,” James said in a televised interview.
The NBA’s four-time Most Valuable Player added eight rebounds, seven assists and three blocks, one of which was a highlight-reel smothering of an attempted dunk by 6-foot-11 (2.10-meter) Tiago Splitter during the Heat’s decisive run.
Game 3 in the best-of-seven championship series is scheduled for tomorrow in San Antonio.
The Heat, after losing Game 1 of the NBA Finals 92-88 at home, trailed 62-61 with about three minutes remaining in the third quarter last night. Chalmers then sparked Miami’s surge, driving to the basket for a three-point play, finding Allen for a 3-pointer and handing out another assist to James.
“I’m mindful of the opportunity,” Chalmers said. “They always tell me to be more aggressive and more of a leader.”
While James had his lowest point total in 17 games this postseason, he collected 11 points and three assists during the run that opened Miami’s lead to 94-67 with 7:13 remaining. He also blocked an attempted dunk at the rim by Splitter with just over eight minutes left.
Danny Green led the Spurs with 17 points, hitting all five of his 3-point attempts. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined to miss 23 of their 33 shot attempts for San Antonio, which also had 17 turnovers to Miami’s six.
“No matter how you slice it, 10-for-33 isn’t good,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said at a news conference after his team’s seven-game winning streak was snapped. “If you don’t shoot the ball well and you turn it over, it’s a very bad combination. And it makes it very hard to win.”
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