As the 2013 NBA Finals continued, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs headed into Game 2 with completely different mindsets. The Spurs were confident after defeating the Heat 92-88 in Game 1. The Heat looked as if they were heading towards another tight game with the Spurs leading 62-61 in the third quarter, then the Heat turned it up to ludicrous speed en route to a 103-84 victory.
LeBron James went from being very passive and distant to snapping right back into form, including a tremendous block on Tiago Splitter that sent the Miami crowd into a frenzy. The Heat put together a remarkable 33-5 run spanning the end of the third quarter through the middle of the fourth. Just when it looked like the Heat were showing some cracks in their armor, they made the doubters look foolish and the Spurs look like non-contenders.
Let’s take a look at grades for each team (player must have played 10+ minutes):
Miami Heat – Overall Grade: B+
As a team, the Heat played a decent brand of basketball in the first half (led by five at half), before running away from the Spurs late. They shot 49.4 percent from the field, 52.6 from the 3-point line and 78.6 from the free-throw line. Their defense was swarming and suffocating late in the game. The only thing keeping them from an A was their inability to keep the Spurs off the offensive glass.
Mario Chalmers, PG – Grade: A
Rio had himself an excellent game, with a team-high rating of plus-30. He was also the leading scorer, with 19 points on 6-for-12 shooting. Chalmers didn’t turn the ball over once and made the right play time and time again. I’m guessing he won’t get yelled at after this one.
Dwyane Wade, SG – Grade: C+
The beginning of Game 2 was highlighted by a much more aggressive Wade, which was a good sight to see for Heat fans. Then, Wade’s knee must have started acting up again, because he faded away into the background. Wade scored 10 points and dished out six assists, but didn’t have much impact in the second half.
LeBron James, SF – Grade: B
It looked like shades of the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers series against the Boston Celtics. Luckily for the Heat, it was a temporary lapse. James snapped back into gear in the second half and finished with an impressive 17 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, three steals and three blocks. Typical LeBron and I’m sure Skip Bayless will try to ruin it all.
Udonis Haslem, PF – Grade: D
Haslem was the only Heat starter that finished with a negative plus/minus (minus-3). He only played 16 minutes and in that time didn’t do much to affect the game. He recorded five points, two rebounds and two fouls. When the Heat went small, they started faring much better. Not so much an indictment of Haslem, but he just didn’t do much Sunday night.
Chris Bosh, C – Grade: B+
If you love jump shots, you’d love watching Bosh play these days. Bosh took 10 shots, but just three of those were in the paint. He went 3-for-7 on those jumpers. On a better note, Bosh did pull down 10 rebounds and recorded three steals. His defense was instrumental in holding the Spurs’ starting frontcourt to just 9-for-30 shooting.
Ray Allen, SG – Grade: A
Mike Miller, SG – Grade: A
Chris Andersen, PF – Grade: B
Norris Cole, PG – Grade: D
The bench was impressive, especially from the 3-point line. The Heat bench went 7-for-12 from 3, including 6-for-8 from Miller and Allen. It was those shots falling that sparked the big second-half run that put the game out of reach.
San Antonio Spurs – Overall Grade: C-
After stealing Game 1, the Spurs had a huge opportunity to walk out of Miami and never go back. It was going just fine up until the middle of the third quarter. The Spurs were hanging around on the back of Danny Green and his tremendous 6-for-6 (5-f0r-5 from 3) shooting performance. Then, the wheels fell off. James kicked it into high gear, the Spurs continued to turn the ball over and miss easy shots (41 percent for the game). It will be interesting to see how coach Gregg Popovich adjusts for Game 3.
Tony Parker, PG – Grade: D
The hero of Game 1 couldn’t be called the goat of Game 2, but he had a big part in the Spurs’ woes. Aside from an impossible-to-block floater, Parker didn’t make his mark anywhere. He had five assists with four turnovers and scored just 13 points. The inability of Parker to get to the basket was a major issue for the Spurs and will need to change if they expect to win another game.
This is the Parker they need:
Danny Green, SG – Grade: A-
Green had a very one-dimensional game, but he isn’t really expected to do much more than that. He’s tasked with playing good defense within the scheme and making open jump shots. If the Spurs got this kind of production from Green every game, they’d be doing back flips. If Popovich ever does back flips, please make sure I see it.
Kawhi Leonard, SF – Grade: B-
Leonard doesn’t do any single thing badly, nor is he elite in any given spot. Players like that need to find different ways to contribute from game-to-game. Before Game 2, Popovich mentioned how he wanted the smaller guys to rebound better. Leonard heard that and took it to heart. He put up 14 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end. Leonard didn’t shoot well, but he did enough to make up for it.
Tim Duncan, PF – Grade: C
Eleven rebounds for Duncan isn’t a surprise. Shooting 3-for-13 from the field is a huge surprise, as the Heat don’t have dominant big men that should be shutting Duncan down. Every player has down games, but Duncan was missing rather easy shots. He was 2-for-6 in the paint and 0-for-4 from the left block, which is usually his bread and butter. Timmy is so strong mentally, he’ll block this game out and bounce back in San Antonio.
Tiago Splitter, C – Grade: D
Unfortunately for Splitter, this game is going to haunt him for the rest of his basketball life. As he drove to the basket, ready to hammer down a one-handed dunk, James came off his man and blocked Splitter in a fashion befitting a king striking down one of his enemies. Even without the dunk attempt, Splitter wasn’t doing much, with just one rebound and one block.
Gary Neal, PG – Grade: C-
Manu Ginobili, SG – Grade: D-
Boris Diaw, C – Grade: C
The Spurs bench was a mess, especially Ginobili. For some reason, Ginobili was unable to dribble well, he couldn’t shoot and he wasn’t playing particularly good defense. It wasn’t the Ginobili we’re used to seeing, that’s for sure. Diaw didn’t do a whole lot and Neal was forced to act as a scorer, which isn’t going to translate into a win for the Spurs.