LeBron James and the Miami Heat have taken Game 2 of the NBA Finals, squaring it at 1-all by defeating the San Antonio Spurs 98-96.
Throughout the ‘Big Three’ era of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat have won 12 playoff games following a loss; it ranks as the third-longest record in NBA history, spanning over 46 playoff games.
LeBron’s cramp that forced him off in Game 1 was the most significant news across social media for the 48 hours following the Heat’s series-opening loss.
It was clear James took all the criticism to heart.
No.6 stole the show, finishing the night with a plus/minus of positive 11 after notching up 35 points (14-of-22 FGs), eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Miami is 15-1 in the postseason when James has at least 30 points and 10 rebounds.
The first quarter belonged to the Spurs as they rallied behind veteran Tim Duncan. The 38-year-old scored 11 points (5-of-6 FGs) and had three rebounds. None better than this epic flashback dunk:
Duncan is now tied with Magic Johnson for most double-doubles in playoff history with 157.
The referees were letting them play, as Wade and LeBron shared just two points (1-of-4 FG) at the end of the first – the fewest combined opening quarter points in any playoff game by these two stars.
The ball wasn’t sticking on either side as both teams picked up the pace.
Early in the second, Miami tightened up their defence and went on a 9-0 run, erasing an 11-point deficit.
James and Wade went into attack mode; both were intent on driving. This was obvious when James took his first jump shot of the game (on his 12th attempt) promptly in the third.
That jumper sparked LeBron into stud-mode. He finished the third with 14 points on six-from-seven shooting. This explosion of buckets all stemmed from jump shots, including eight straight points in less than a minute.
The Spurs had a 78-77 lead heading into the final period.
In the fourth quarter, LeBron again demonstrated his emphasis on making the right play for the team: finding the open man. It’s the reason sides opt against double-teaming him.
Chris Bosh showed up this outing with 18 points (6-of-11 FGs), three rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block.
No play was more important that his final field goal.
When the Spurs missed four free throws down the stretch, and James found Bosh for the go-ahead corner three with 1:19 left on the clock, that was all she wrote.
The series now heads to Miami for Game 3 (Wednesday June 11, 11:00am AEST).
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