Tony Parker scored 21 points and the San Antonio Spurs defeated the defending champion Miami Heat 92-88 in the opening game of the National Basketball Association Finals.
Tim Duncan had 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Spurs at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, while the Heat’s LeBron James was held to a 2013 postseason-low 18 points. James also had 18 rebounds and 10 assists for his 10th career playoff triple-double and second straight in the Finals.
Parker hit a 16-foot basket as the shot clock expired with five seconds left last night for the game’s final points.
“I was going down, trying to stay composed and get a shot off,” Parker said in a televised interview. “LeBron was unbelievable and Dwyane Wade was playing well. We just have to try to contain them.”
The Spurs, who had nine days off after sweeping the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference finals, had four turnovers to tie an NBA Finals record low set by the Detroit Pistons against San Antonio on June 16, 2005. San Antonio is 7-1 on the road this postseason and improved to 5-0 in Game 1 of the title series. The Spurs are seeking a fifth championship and first since 2007, while the Heat also won the title in 2006.
After outscoring Miami 9-2 in the opening minutes, the Spurs played catchup for much of the game until a jump shot by Kawhi Leonard with seven minutes to play gave them the lead for good.
“We just weren’t very good offensively,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said in a news conference. “We just didn’t execute and they did. Really it came down to a handful of possessions. Whoever makes those plays wins the game and they did.”
Manu Ginobili came off the bench to add 13 points for the Spurs, while Wade contributed 17 points for Miami.
After the teams were separated by one point in the first quarter, two in the second and each tallied 20 points in the third, San Antonio outscored Miami 23-16 in the fourth quarter. James said Miami’s seven-game series against the Indiana Pacers that ended June 3 may have caused the Heat’s slump late in the game.
“The fourth quarter was the difference and I could see it on a few of our guys’ faces,” James said in a news conference. “Felt a little fatigue, still a little banged up from that seven-game series and they looked like they were rested in that fourth quarter and they took advantage of that. We had some mental mistakes.”
Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is June 9 in Miami.
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