Mario Chalmers had a game-high 19 points, while LeBron James finished with 17 points and seven assists as the Miami Heat routed the San Antonio Spurs 103-84 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday.
Miami went on a 14-3 run to close the third quarter and break open a tight game, then seized command with a sustained double-digit lead in the fourth to level the best-of-seven series at 1-1.
“You can’t teach that quality, big game guts,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They feel most alive in these situations when you typically feel the most pressure. Drives me crazy sometimes in December and January, but when you get to this time of year you like it.”
James, who had just 18 points in Game 1, finished with a post-season low again, but he scored nine of his points in the fourth quarter for the Heat, who rebounded from a stunning 92-88 loss at home in Game 1.
Chris Bosh finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while veteran Ray Allen came off the bench to score 13 points for Miami, who have not lost back-to-back games since early January and have not lost consecutive games at home all season.
“Small things will make major differences in this series because the talent level is pretty equivalent,” Spoelstra said. “It is going to be loose balls, rebounds, execution, guys coming in with confidence. Everybody was fine with it tonight wherever the ball ended up. They didn’t get caught up in an individual ego, but more of a team ego.”
Danny Green had 17 points, including making five of five from three-point range, but Tim Duncan finished with just nine points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who are 7-2 on the road in the playoffs.
“We didn’t play well. We didn’t shoot well. I know I played awfully,” Duncan said.
The series now switches to San Antonio for three games, beginning with Game 3 today.
Duncan said the Heat now have the momentum going into San Antonio, despite the Spurs getting a split on Miami’s home court.
“I think they regained that,” he said. “We have three at home, so we are excited about that, but if we play like we did tonight that is not going to matter.”
Miami outscored the Spurs 53-39 in the second half as they closed the third on a 14-3 run to take a 75-65 lead into the final period.
Green got going early in the opening quarter, scoring the first nine points for San Antonio as he nailed three from beyond the arc to give the Spurs a 9-4 lead with 8 minutes, 43 seconds left.
James did not score his first points of the contest, in front of a crowd of 19,900 at the American Airlines Arena, until late in the first quarter. He missed his first three shots, before connecting on the final shot of the opening quarter to make it 22-22, but the Heat scored five unanswered points to close the first half and take a 50-45 lead.
Dwyane Wade got the final basket on a layup, then James stole the ball on the Spurs’ possession and put up a shot at mid-court that bounced off the rim.
Wade finished with 10 points and six assists for Miami.
“Credit to Miami. They ended quarters better than us. We turned the ball over more than we should have,” Duncan said.
The Spurs had 16 turnovers on Sunday after making just four in Game 1. Spurs dynamo Tony Parker, who was the hero of Game 1 with 21 points, finished with a team-high five turnovers.