The NBA Finals are well underway after the weekend. The first two games saw Tony Parker make a tremendous shot clock buzzer beater and a Heat 35-3 run. The series is tied at one game a piece and will now head to the Lone Star State for three games. If you’re Greg Popovich you’ve got to love what your team accomplished in Miami. The Spurs had a lengthy layoff and capitalized on a Heat-Pacers series that went the distance. The Spurs showed no rust in Game 1 and in the fourth quarter really clamped down defensively on the surrounding cast of LeBron James. James, as expected, did go off for a tremendous all-around performance. The usual formula still rang true – if you hold down LeBron’s supporting cast you can beat the Heat. James’ Game 1 had a line of 18 pts, 18 rebounds and 10 assists. However, all anyone will remember is Parker’s 20th and 21st points.
After nearly falling and losing possession Parker made a dramatic leaning jump shot over LeBron to beat the shot clock and give the Spurs a four-point lead that was the eventual dagger to Erik Spoelstra’s team. In Game 2 the scene was quite different as the Spurs couldn’t help but shoot themselves in the foot in the first half when the game was still very much up in the air. The Spurs continuously turned the ball over and in the end it proved to be too much as the Heat pulled away late in the third quarter with a run of 35-3 that lasted for a good portion of both the third and fourth quarters. The Spurs Danny Green continued his hot shooting from beyond the three point arc, but like most home games in the NBA the role players stepped up in a big way to help Miami cruise to a 19-point victory that evened the series.
Now the series will shift across the Gulf Of Mexico where the Spurs will be looking to take two out of three at home and perhaps even close out the series. The two-three-two format in the NBA Finals – like that in the World Series – makes home-court advantage all the more important. Now that the Spurs have stolen it from Miami, the Heat must now figure out a way to push the series back to American Airlines Arena. If you were to ask any coach who’s been in the finals, the Spurs did exactly what they needed to do to keep themselves in it for the long haul. Most teams that drop the first two games on the road have not faired well historically. It’s imperative to maintain home-court in these series. With the veteran presence in the Spurs locker room and the amount of playoff experience shared by Parker, Duncan and Ginobili, the Heat know it’s going to take a monumental effort to send the series back to Miami next week.
Look for the Spurs to really press in games three and four with Game 5 potentially being the biggest in Lebron James’ career thus far. There will be two days in between games four and five.