What we have all been waiting for has finally arrived! The NBA Finals are back, and what is becoming known as "The Rematch" has begun. The Spurs walked into Game 1 with home court advantage, and both teams with relatively healthy athletes.
In the first quarter, the Heat jumped out to an early, and small lead of 7-2. The Spurs threw away two turnovers, and Bosh started off the game with 2 early field goals for 5 points. The Heat had seemingly already stifled the crowd!
However, the Spurs came right back at the Heat with a 16-6 run to go up by 5, halfway through the 1st. Duncan led the charge, as he took advantage of the mismatch in the post (Versus Bosh) and scored 8 first quarter points.
From the mid-way point to the end of the first, the Spurs ended the quarter with energy. Manu looked great as he came out and knocked down three straight three pointers (Not touching the rim or backboard on his first three shots). He looked like he had a chip on his shoulder, and led the bench to 12 points in the first quarter (On the other side, the Heat had 0 bench points).
The only factor keeping the Heat in the game was quick hands by the Heat, and the attacking Dwayne Wade and Lebron James. The Spurs gave away the ball 6 times in the first quarter (Heat with 4 steals), and the Heat had extra chances to score. On offense, Wade and James were attacking the basket and finished the quarter with 13 points. However, Wade and James were not enough as the Spurs walked into the second quarter with a 26-20 lead and momentum.
In the second quarter, the Heat cut some of the Spurs momentum right off the bat with some luck and three point shooting. Norris Cole hit a three pointer that was all luck, and Ray Allen knocked down a wide open three.
From there, the second quarter went back and forth until the 8 minute mark, and Dwyane Wade went vintage D-Wade. Wade looked like a dance instructor as he was skipping and floating through the Spurs defense and led an 8-0 run to grab a 38-36 lead.
Just as it seemed the Heat were taking momentum, the Spurs came right back with a 6-0 response of their own. Manu hit two free throws, Parker made a lay in, and Duncan threw down an easy dunk.
Now, it seemed like the Spurs were ready to take control of the game. But, as we saw the entire first half, the lead went back and forth. Lebron scored 6 straight points, Duncan and Parker scored 7 straight for the Spurs, and the rough and sloppy first half continued.
Through the first half, the refs were letting the players play, the Heat threw away 7 turnovers, the Spurs with 10 turnovers, the Spurs big three was battling it out with the Heat's big three (Spurs big three out scoring Heat's big three 36-35), and the game was constantly changing leads and momentum. By the end of the half, both teams were playing like it was game 7, but the Spurs led at half with a 54-49 lead.
*Note*: Key Performers at half:
Lebron: 13 points
Dwyane: 12 points
Bosh: 10 points
Allen: 10 points
Duncan: 15 points
Parker: 10 points
Manu: 11 points
*Kawhi Leonard with 0 points at half*
In the third quarter, the Spurs released a statement announcing that their air conditioner was broken. The Spurs arena had become the old Boston Garden! Whether it was of coincidence or a direct relation, the third quarter was extremely sloppy. Balls were flying everywhere, players falling to the ground, and the lead/momentum was back and forth.
The Spurs were especially sloppy as they had unforced errors and terrible passing. At one point, the Spurs had a over and back turnover with no Heat player past the three point line. Throughout the 3rd quarter, the Spurs had a total of 9 turnovers!
At the end of the third, the Heat seemed to have a better grip on the ball and went on a 6-0 run (With Ray Allen scoring all six, and throwing down a flashback dunk!). The Spurs had three straight turnovers, and the Heat went into the fourth with a 78-74 lead.
In the beginning of the fourth quarter, the sloppiness continued, but in the first two minutes, it was the Heat throwing the ball away. The Heat came out with two straight turnovers, with Tiago Splitter scoring 5 straight points to trim the lead to 1 point.
As fast as the Spurs got momentum, they threw it away just as fast. The Spurs came back and had two straight turnovers on their part. The Heat then converted two times in a row on offense with Chris Bosh hitting an "and-one" three pointer.
The Heat had the 7 point lead, and looked ready to take over the game. However, as we all know, this is a veteran Spurs team who knows how to win games. The Spurs used their knowledge and skill to go on a mini run and get the game to a 2 point game.
During the run, a 2013 NBA Finals flashback occurred, as Lebron James had to come out of the game with cramps and inability to breath (From the broken air conditioner). While he was out, Danny Green managed to catch fire and hit two three's in a row to take the two point lead. The Heat's worse nightmare - Lebron out with injury - had developed.
The game continued, and the Spurs continued to grab more and more momentum as they topped off their 15-4 run. Danny Green had hit two three's in a row, and followed up his outside game with a dunk over Rashard Lewis to put the lead to 4 points.
And then Lebron was back in. He drove down the lane, made a tough lay up to push the lead to two, and then cramped out, and was back on the bench.
Unfortunately for the Heat, the Spurs Heat (See what I did there) in their building was too much for Lebron, but was not too much for Danny Green. Green came back and hit a third, fourth quarter three! On the defensive end, the Heat were unable to get open shots with Lebron out, and the Spurs were playing great as a team. The Spurs beat the Heat 16-3 with Lebron on the bench, and it was sad to see a great have to sit out because of an arena malfunction.
The Spurs ended the game with a 36-17 fourth quarter, and with Lebron out, the Spurs were too much for the Miami Heat.
Final Score: 110-95
Lebron: 25 points
Wade: 19 points
Bosh: 18 points
Allen: 16 points
Duncan: 21 points
Parker: 17 points
Green: 13 points
Manu: 16 points