San Antonio wins series 4-1 (Game 1 of 5)

San Antonio wins series 4-1

Game 1: Thursday, June 5th
Game 2: Sunday, June 8th
Game 3: Tuesday, June 10th
Game 4: Thursday, June 12th
Game 5: Sunday, June 15th

Heat 95

(54-28, 22-19 away)

Spurs 110

(62-20, 32-9 home)

    Coverage: ABC

    9:00 PM ET, June 5, 2014

    AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIA 20 29 29 1795
    SA 26 28 20 36110

    Top Performers

    Mia: L. James 25 Pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl

    SA: M. Ginobili 16 Pts, 5 Reb, 11 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Tim Duncan, Spurs pull away to open NBA Finals with win

    Associated Press

    SAN ANTONIO -- "Beat the Heat!" had a whole new meaning in a sweltering start to the NBA Finals.

    The San Antonio Spurs handled the conditions, and the team, and it sure helped when a suffering LeBron James couldn't make it to the finish.

    Tim Duncan had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and the Spurs beat the Heat 110-95 on Thursday night in Game 1 at steamy AT&T Center.

    With an air-conditioning failure making it feel like a sauna and causing James to battle cramps that knocked him out of the decisive stretch, the Spurs pulled away to win the opener of the first Finals rematch since 1998.

    "After I came out of the game, they kind of took off," James said. "And it was frustrating sitting out and not be able to help our team."

    Manu Ginobili had 16 points and 11 assists, Tony Parker added 19 points and eight assists, and the Spurs -- 6-for-6 in NBA Finals Game 1s -- shot 59 percent.

    "Just very proud of my team," Parker said. "We kept believing, kept pushing. We know it's not easy."

    They host Game 2 on Sunday -- likely in cooler conditions.

    James finished with 25 points but played only 33 minutes, and Miami was outscored 36-17 in the fourth quarter.

    "It sucks not being out there for your team, especially at this point in the season," James said.

    Dwyane Wade had 19 points and Chris Bosh added 18, but the Heat wilted in temperatures that soared to 90 degrees in the second half.

    "It was tough on both teams," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They were pretty dead. We tried to get guys in and out. ... It was really hot out there."

    James, who had cramping issues two years ago in the Finals, had to ask for a break in the fourth quarter and was getting treatment during a 15-4 Spurs run that turned around the game.

    James came back in and made a basket that cut it to two points with about four minutes left but couldn't even run back on defense, promptly putting up his hand and lingering at the baseline until help arrived to take him off for good.

    "I think it felt like a punch in the gut when you see your leader limping like that back to the bench," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

    Danny Green followed with 3-pointer to trigger what became a 16-3 run to end the game.

    "You could see the heat was getting to a lot of guys. If I played as many minutes as he did, I'd probably be cramping up, too," said Green, who scored 11 of his 13 points in the final quarter.

    The crowd chanted, "Beat the Heat! Beat the Heat!" late in the game, which was just what the fans themselves were trying to do.

    The Spurs said an electrical failure for the power that runs the air-conditioning system had occurred. They apologized for the inconvenience but also seemed to poke fun at it, playing songs with "hot" in the lyrics over the sound system.

    Fans were trying to cool themselves on the hot night, a reminder of what it was like in the old Boston Garden when the Celtics and Lakers got together.

    The Heat are the first team since those Celtics of 1984-87 to get to four straight Finals. They are well-rested after a relatively easy roll through the Eastern Conference playoffs, a key to keeping Wade healthy entering the Finals.

    James was the MVP of the series last year when the Heat rallied from five points down in the final half-minute of regulation to win Game 6 in overtime, then won a Game 7 that was close the whole way for their second straight championship.

    A rematch was widely anticipated and was close almost throughout. The Heat led 86-79 after Bosh's four-point play with 9:38 remaining in the game, but it was all San Antonio from there, and Wade said there were problems beyond James' absence.

    "Obviously, tonight we would've loved to have him in there to finish the game, but we've got to finish the game better," Wade said.

    The Spurs ended up extending their NBA-record streak to eight straight home playoff wins by 15 or more points. Their roster is filled with international players, such as Parker and Ginobili, who both said they were used to playing without air conditioning overseas.

    Bosh, scoreless in Game 7 last year, scored Miami's first five points in the Heat's 7-2 start. But Ginobili came off the bench firing, making consecutive 3-pointers for an 18-13 lead.

    Wade and James combined for six straight points before Ginobili made another 3, and Patty Mills added one to close the first-quarter scoring and give the Spurs a 26-20 advantage.

    The Spurs committed nine turnovers while managing only 20 points in the third quarter, and Miami led 78-74 heading to the fourth.

    Game notes

    James joined Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as the only players with 4,000 points and 1,000 assists in the postseason. ... Ray Allen moved past Bryant and Derek Fisher into second place on the career list with 49 3-pointers in the NBA Finals. Robert Horry, a former Spurs forward, is the leader with 56.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Research Notes

    There have been 12 repeat Finals matchups in NBA history. But no Finals repeat has ever featured back-to-back Game 7s between the teams.
    Manu Ginobili is the first player with at least 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists off the bench in an NBA Finals game since Michael Cooper for the Lakers in 1982. He's the first player ever with at least 15 points, 5 rebounds and *10 assists* off the bench in an NBA Finals game, since starters were first recorded in 1970-71.
    From Elias: Tim Duncan, 38 years of age, is the oldest player to lead his team in scoring in a Finals win since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did so on June 14, 1987 at age 40
    In the 10 minutes LeBron James was off the court in the 2nd half, the Heat were outscored by 21 points. Miami was plus-11 in the 14 minutes James played in the 2nd half.
    LeBron James joins Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as the only players with at least 4,000 career points and 1,000 career assists in NBA postseason history. Nobody has reached those numbers in fewer games than LeBron -- he joined the club in 18 fewer games than Jordan and 57 fewer games than Kobe.
    The Heat were outscored by 15 points while LeBron James was on the bench in Game 1, easily the most in any playoff loss since James joined the team before the 2010-11 season.
    The Heat have won 12 consecutive playoff games following a loss. The last time they lost back-to-back games was in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals (lost 3 straight vs Celtics)
    The Spurs shot 66.7 percent (12-of-18) on catch-and-shoot jump shots in Game 1, tied for their best this postseason. The Heat were slow to close out on those attempts as 14 of the 18 were uncontested, with the Spurs going 10-of-14.
    LeBron James was less aggressive in second half, attempting five fewer shots in the paint and only driving to the basket once.
    The Spurs went 14-of-16 from the floor in the fourth quarter as they outscored the Heat by 19 in the final frame. How did the Spurs blow the game open? - The Spurs went 6-of-6 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter. Of those six attempts, five were uncontested. - The Spurs outscored the Heat 14-6 in the paint in the fourth quarter. The Spurs went 7-of-8 on those attempts, the Heat went 3-of-5. - The Heat failed to record a single transition opportunity in the fourth quarter after scoring 23 transition points on 16 opportunities in the first three quarters.
    Following the Spurs' 15-point win over the Heat in Game 1 on Thursday... In NBA Finals history, 9 of the 10 teams to win Game 1 by 15+ points at home went on to win the series. The only such team to lose the series was the 1985 Celtics against the Lakers.
    From Elias: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are seeking to win their 4th NBA title together. They would become the first non-Laker/Celtic trio ever to win 4 NBA titles together. 76 trios won four-or-more NBA titles together but each did it with one of those legendary franchises.
    * Heat are 6-2 when trailing after 1st quarter in playoffs, best of any team in 2014 playoffs * Spurs are 7-2 when leading after 1st qtr this postseason
    When Tim Duncan takes the court, his 14-year gap between his first (1999) and last (2014) NBA Finals appearance will be the 2nd-longest gap in NBA history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (17-year gap).
    The Spurs have won at least 60 percent of their games in each of the last 17 seasons since drafting Tim Duncan in 1997. That's the longest streak in NBA history (by far) with a win percentage of at least .600 in a season (ELIAS).
    The Spurs won Game 1 despite turning the ball over 23 times. It was the most turnovers by a team in a Finals win since the Lakers totaled 23 in Game 1 of the 1982 Finals against the 76ers.
    Although the Heat beat the Spurs last year with homecourt advantage, the previous 2 teams with the homecourt edge went on to lose, including Miami against Dallas in the 2011 Finals. Those 2 instances matched the total of the previous 12 finals (10-2). The Finals format was changed this year from 2-3-2 to 2-2-1-1-1.
    The Heat and Spurs have been the 2 most efficient teams in the NBA over the last 2 postseasons, respectively, in terms of field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. Meanwhile, the two teams have posted the highest assist per game differential over that span. They also boasted the highest combined field goal percentage over the course of both regular seasons.
    Danny Green hit three 3-pointers in the final 7 minutes of the 4th quarter. He is the first player to hit that many threes in the final 7 minutes of the 4th quarter of an NBA Finals game since Scottie Pippen in 1997.
    From Elias: Tony Parker leads the Spurs in scoring with 17.2 PPG this postseason. That's tied for the 2nd-fewest PPG by a team's leading scorer entering the NBA Finals in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55). Only George Yardley of the Fort Wayne Pistons averaged fewer PPG back in 1955.
    From Elias: If the Spurs win it all... It would be a 14-year gap between Tim Duncan's first (1999) and last NBA title (2014). Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (16 years) and Robert Parish (15 years) would have a longer gap between their first and last title.
    Tim Duncan currently has a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 21.6 this postseason. If he can maintain the PER through the Finals, he will tie Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 14 postseasons with at least 20 PER in NBA history. A PER of 15 is average.
    From Elias: LeBron James and Tim Duncan have each been their team's outright leader in points, rebounds and assists on 2 occasions in the NBA Finals. That's 1 shy of the all-time record held by Larry Bird.
    The Heat and Spurs meet in the NBA Finals for the 2nd straight season, the first Finals rematch since the Bulls and Jazz in 1997-98. The Bulls won both of those series but prior to that the previous five rematches were won by the team who had lost the year before. The Spurs are the first team since the 1988-89 Pistons to make it back to the NBA Finals after losing a Game 7 in the Finals the prior year.
    The Spurs lead the NBA in Net Efficiency this postseason (+10.1 Net Pts/100 Poss), but that hasn't led to NBA titles of late. In 5 of the previous 7 seasons, the team with the best playoff Net Efficiency entering the NBA Finals failed to win the title including the Spurs in 2013.
    Ken Mauer, Scott Foster and Marc Davis are your Game 1 officials for tonight's NBA Finals. Mauer has officiated 12 NBA Finals Games in his 28 seasons. Scott Foster has 20 years NBA experience and 10 NBA Finals games. Marc Davis has NBA Finals 2 games under his belt and John Goble - the alternate - has none entering Game 1.
    From Elias: When the Heat take the court in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, LeBron James and Chris Bosh will join Bob McAdoo and Dennis Johnson as the only players in NBA history to play in the NBA Finals in each of their first 4 seasons with a new team. McAdoo was traded from the Nets to the Lakers in December of 1981 and then proceeded to play in 4 straight Finals with the Lakers. Johnson was traded from the Suns to the Celtics in June of 1983 and then appeared in 4 straight Finals with Boston.
    Gregg Popovich says Tony Parker will play despite being hampered by an ankle injury that kept him out for the entire second half and overtime of San Antonio's series-clinching win over Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals on Saturday. Parker is averaging a team-leading 17.2 points and 4.9 assists this postseason, but as the Spurs showed on Saturday, they are still extremely competitive without him. The Spurs are outscoring opponents by 13.3 points per 100 possessions in the 326 minutes Parker has been off the court this postseason (+8.2 with him on the court). While that is small sample that can be skewed due to garbage time - if you combine the postseason with the regular season the story remains the same. Parker sat nearly as much as he played and the Spurs were slightly better both offensively and defensively per 100 possessions.
    This is the 5th NBA Finals appearance for LeBron James. He's averaging 26.7 points and 10.6 rebounds over his last 2 NBA Finals series while registering a player efficiency rating of 25.4. In LeBron's first 2 appearances, his teams won just 2 of 10 games and he posted a player efficiency rating of 15.3, right around the league average of 15.0.
    Tim Duncan is seeking to become the 2nd player in NBA history to win an NBA title in three different decades. John Salley is the only player to accomplish that feat, winning with the Pistons in 1989 and 1990, with the Bulls in 1996 and with the Lakers in 2000.
    Here's a telling reason why the Heat and Spurs are in the Finals... Both have easily the best net efficiency this postseason, which is measured based on how much a team outscores or gets outscored by its opponent per 100 possessions. San Antonio was plus 10 while Miami was plus 8. No other team was better than 1.3.

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