(Corrects statistic of Tim Duncan in 12th paragraph.)
Chris Bosh added 18 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with one minute, 17 seconds left in Miami’s 98-96 victory last night at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, where the Spurs had won their past eight playoff games by at least 15 points. The Heat have now won their last 13 postseason games following a loss, a National Basketball Association record.
Three days after leg cramps forced James to miss the final four minutes of Miami’s 110-95 loss in Game 1, the NBA’s four-time Most Valuable Player hit 14-of-22 shots, including all three of his 3-point attempts, to lead all scorers.
“Big time road win for us,” said James, who scored eight of Miami’s final 15 points.
The best-of-seven NBA Finals shifts to Miami for the next two games, with Game 3 scheduled for June 10. Miami has an 8-0 record at home this postseason.
“We were in a good spot and we let one slip away,” the Spurs’ Manu Ginobili said after scoring 19 points last night. “Now we’re in a tough spot because we have to go to Miami and win one. We don’t want to come back here down 3-1.”
This is the first time in 29 years that the NBA has changed the format to its championship series to have one team host two games, the other team host the next two and then have them alternate host cities for the remaining three games, if necessary. Since 1985, the NBA Finals had used a 2-3-2 format instead of the current 2-2-1-1-1 schedule, yet made the change in October, citing improvements in air travel and technology.
Unlike Game 1, there were no air conditioning malfunction last night at the AT&T Center.
The temperature in the opening game climbed above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) near the court after an electrical failure knocked out the air conditioning. With James sidelined by cramps, the Spurs closed the game with a 16-3 scoring run to pull out the victory.
Last night, the Spurs held an 87-85 lead with just under seven minutes left when Tony Parker and Tim Duncan each missed two free throws. James then hit a 3-pointer for Miami and the Spurs only led once more the rest of the way.
“We just couldn’t make the shots to come out on top,” said Parker, who scored 21 points and added seven assists to lead San Antonio. “We had a great opportunity.”
Tim Duncan had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Spurs, tying Magic Johnson for the most career playoff games with a double-double, at 157.
Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis each scored 14 points for the Heat, who have won a league-best 21 playoff games on the road since the start of the 2011 postseason. The Spurs rank second among active teams with 14 road playoff wins.
“We figured out a way to win the game at the end,” Wade said. “We didn’t make as many mistakes and having No. 6 (James’s number) on the court at the end was a big deal as well.”
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at firstname.lastname@example.org Jay Beberman