The only cramps going around are from the thumbs of those bashing LeBron James.
(Yes, I know cramps aren’t contagious. But let me have this one.)
We now have a best of 5 series, as the Miami Heat beat the San Antonio Spurs 98-96 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Series is tied at 1, with the locale switching to Miami. This game had the intensity of a Game 7, as it felt like everything was hanging in the balance with each possession. Maybe for Miami, it was. Even going home, the Heat didn’t want to dig themselves an 0-2 hole, so they had to get this one.
By the way, if you think this was the last nail-biter in this series, then you better get your head examined. This series will take years off your life.
Things that pleased me: LeBron James is a vengeful God. After enduring 3 days of “Cramp-gate”, LeBron was a wrecking machine, as he went for 35 points and 10 rebounds. This was going to be his game to win or lose. He scored 14 points in the third quarter to help keep the Heat afloat. He just went to that place that superstar athletes go to that we just can’t fully comprehend. I’m excited when I put three good drives together in “Madden”, so I have no idea how he feels.
Chris Bosh has been on a tear, finishing with 18 points, while playing very aggressive. He was getting to the basket and drawing contact with ease. He only made two jumpers, one of which was a 12-footer. The other? A big three to give the Heat a lead entering the final minute of the game. Criticize Bosh’s love of the 3-point shot all you want, but he can hit that shot in the clutch. Bosh then sealed the game with a dribble penetration, then dumping it off to Dwyane Wade for a lay-up. Ballgame. Thanks for coming.
Also, Rashard Lewis has earned is place in the starting lineup, contributing 14 points and essentially playing the role that Mario Chalmers usually plays as the starter that does enough to help out the Big-3.
Things that annoyed me: As amazing a third quarter that LeBron had, the Heat STILL gave up 35 points in the quarter, and were trailing going into the fourth. If I told you that he would score 14 points in that quarter, you’d think they would be up by 6 or 7. Miami’s defense still gave up a lot of open looks to shooters.
Can’t forget the start of the game, as San Antonio was having their way with the Heat’s defense. The Spurs shot 58% in the quarter, and 2 of 3 from downtown. Fortunately for Miami, San Antonio had 5 turnovers, which kept the Heat in the game.
Things that perplexed me: After I wrote an article (cheap plug) about how the Heat’s supporting cast is a good enough compliment to LeBron/Wade/Bosh, only Lewis and Ray Allen have bothered to show up in this series. Miami has got to get something from Chalmers, Norris Cole, Shane Battier, or whomever if they have any chance to win the title. The open looks have been there, but the ball just doesn’t seem to go in. Role players tend to play better at home, so maybe the Heat just need a little home cooking to get going.
Scale of 1-to-10, How badly did you want to throw a lamp because of Mario Chalmers?: 8. He showed flashes of coming out of his funk, by attacking the rim for baskets. But he was a non-factor for the majority of the game, finishing with 5 points. He still committed 3 fouls – one of which was his quasi-flagrant on Tony Parker. That actually proved to be important, as Parker missed the 2 free throws, followed by Tim Duncan missing two more on the corresponding foul, which changed the game. Parker didn’t look the same after the foul. Maybe Chalmers was the MVP.
What we learned: Air-conditioning is good for the body.
Seriously, these two teams are as equal as can be. Spurs fans can complain about the officiating, but the fouls called were even (20 each) and the Heat had a 21-20 free throw advantage. You can argue that San Antonio lost the game at the line, with those 4 missed free throws by Parker and Duncan in the fourth quarter. Miami held a 38-37 rebounding edge, while San Antonio had less turnovers (11, to the Heat’s 13). This game was won in the paint (44-34 Miami), as well as the Heat putting the clamps down on the Spurs in the fourth, by limiting them to 35% shooting. LeBron getting the assignment of covering Parker late caused havoc on the Spurs offense, as the open shooters weren’t there for them.
Panic meter: 0. The fun begins, as now the Heat have stolen home court from the Spurs. Miami is unbeaten at home in the postseason, so they have to feel confident as the series shifts back home. The Heat got punched in the mouth and got off the mat. Now we find out if the Spurs can do the same.
Are you looking forward to more games like the last 2? Get your popcorn ready, folks.