Spurs execute well at both ends to clinch Game 1 win in Miami.
Throughout the first half of Game 1 of the NBA Finals 2013, the Miami Heat threatened to pull away from the San Antonio Spurs and seal a much-needed home win.
LeBron James was effective on his way to a triple-double, while the likes of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen were getting looks and shooting well.
However, the savvy of the Spurs eventually prevailed through the second half, as coach Gregg Popovich successfully limited both James’ scoring in the paint and restricted both him and his team-mates to distance jump shots.
The Heat shot 6-of-15 (40 percent) from three point range in the first two quarters, but drastically nosedived in the last two as they went just 2-for-10 from beyond the arc in the second half.
Furthermore, they went 5-for-18 from the field, just 27.8 percent, in the fourth quarter overall, as they finished with five turnovers and just 16 points in the final 12 minutes.
In contrast, the well rested legs of the Spurs were able to execute as the game went on, but will owe a big debt of gratitude for the win to their collective defensive unit, but also to individuals including the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
Leonard wasn’t able to entirely restrict James, but made it difficult enough for the league MVP to disappear in the fourth quarter. It was a similar situation across the roster for Miami, which in turn saw Parker take over and seal the win.
The Frenchman finished with 21 points and six assists to give the Spurs a 1-0 series lead, with 10 of those points coming in the fourth including this amazing buzzer-beater at the death:
The Heat’s inability to deal with Parker will be something that coach Erik Spoelstra will look at ahead of Game 2, but San Antonio will also have room for improvement as their three-point numbers were disappointing.
Leonard had three opportunities to widen the lead in the third, but missed on all three occasions as the Spurs ended 7-for-23 shooting from the arc.
Nevertheless, they proved that they are capable of shutting-down Miami, while also finding ways to put points on the board. Coach Popovich will realise the importance of taking care of the ball on offensive plays, but the Spurs will be full of confidence heading into Game 2.
Meanwhile, Miami perhaps showed tiredness towards the end of the game, but despite contributions from across the roster except Shane Battier, it is clear they will need more from James. Although his numbers were far from average, his disappearance in the fourth quarter ultimately made a big difference.