Game 2 was everything a basketball fan could possibly want in an NBA Finals game. Neither team held more than a 5 point lead in the second half while exchanging runs and lead changes. There were no air conditioning issues like there were in game 1. Through three quarters it was very similar to game one, except this time Lebron James did not have cramping issues in the fourth and he was able to help lead his team to a 98-96 victory and even the series at 1-1. The series will now shift venues to Miami for games 4 and 5
James rebounded from the cramping problems he had in game one with 35 points and 10 rebounds. He dominated after a rough first quarter in which he was 1-4 from the floor with 3 turnovers. He then went 11 for his next 13 while going 14-22 overall. He hit on a variety of outside shots from all over the court in the third quarter. Down the stretch the Heat found themselves down by 2 and James drove down the lane with about 1:20 left and passed to an open Chris Bosh who drained the three to put Miami up by 1 and they never looked back. It was a similar play to the pass he made in game 5 against Indiana in which Bosh missed a similar shot off a similar pass. James was criticized for not taking the shot against Indiana yet was praised for his unselfishness against San Antonio. Until he decides otherwise, James will always be a playmaker first and a scorer second. Bosh had been steady but relatively quiet while providing his usual combination of inside out ability, saved his best for the closing minute where he knocked down the go ahead basket. When Miami found itself in possession and up by 3 with 10 seconds left and the shot clock winding down he found Dwayne Wade for a basket and the game clinching assist. Bosh finished with 18 points and continued to prove that he is a huge factor in everything Miami does. Dwayne Wade had 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists while becoming more assertive in the minutes James wasn’t on the floor. Rashard Lewis continued his excellent play with 14 points. This coming from a guy who did not play a minute in 22 games this season. Chris Anderson played big minutes down the stretch including a big basket off a James pass and 9 rebounds overall.
Tim Duncan was dominant for the Spurs early and often finishing with 18 points and 15 rebounds. The Spurs did a poor job of getting him the ball more often down the stretch as he did most of his scoring in the first half. Tony parker had 21 points and 7 assists. At a key point in the game Parker took an elbow to the ribs from Mario Chalmers and was awarded two free throws and possession as a result of the flagrant foul. The Spurs were up by 2 at the time and Parker missed both free throws. On the ensuing possession Duncan was fouled and he also missed both free throws. The Spurs had a chance to go up by 6 during that run and instead were down by 1 seconds later when James connected on a three pointer. Manu Ginobili was brilliant off the bench again with 19 points and 4 assists. Boris Diaw continued to provide intangibles with 7 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists while spending a lot of time defending James.
Both of these coaches have shown a willingness to make changes in the past so don’t be surprised to see different players getting more minutes in game 3. Spurs Coach Greg Popovich started Matt Bonner in the last series after not playing him at all in the previous games. Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem combined to play 1 minute for the Heat in game 2 and may be called upon to play more minutes in game 3. The Spurs are faced with the dilemma of how to defend James and as of now they are committed to using 1 primary defender and not doubling him as soon as he gets the ball. The Spurs can look at it, as they were free throws away from being up 2-0 while Miami can look at it, as they were one functional air conditioner away from being up 2-0. Game 3 is always a pivotal game in a series and this one should be great.
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