First blood to Spurs in NBA finals
Danny Green catches fire in fourth quarter as San Antonio come from behind despite turnovers
Danny Green scored 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter to spark the San Antonio Spurs to a 110-95 come-from-behind victory over the Miami Heat in the opening game of the NBA finals.
San Antonio trailed by seven in the final period but out-scored the Miami 31-9 over the last nine-plus minutes. The Spurs drained six three-pointers, including three by Green, over the last six minutes.
San Antonio were led in scoring by Tim Duncan’s 21 points and Tony Parker’s 19. LeBron James paced Miami with 25 points, followed by Dwyane Wade with 19 and Chris Bosh with 18.
“We stopped turning the ball over,” Duncan told reporters. “All of a sudden it turns into us with ball movement and our shooters getting open shots, which we were trying to get to all game long but they were too much in the passing lanes.
“Their defence was too aggressive and we just couldn’t find a way, but we kept pushing and found a way.”
Fifty-eight per cent shooting, including 13-of-25 from beyond the arc, helped the Spurs overcome a 22-turnover performance.
The second game of the finals, a rematch of last year won by the Heat in seven games, will be in San Antonio on Sunday, before the series shifts to Miami for the next two games.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called the turnovers his team’s “Achilles heel.”
“When we have a game like that turnover-wise, invariably it’s a loss for us,” he said. “I haven’t looked at any stats, I’m afraid to, but I guess we probably made threes.
“We made a decent number of threes. I think we rebounded pretty good from where I was sitting. But the turnovers are usually a killer. We feel very fortunate to have won this game tonight.”
San Antonio led 54-49 at the half behind 15 points from Duncan, who hit six-of-seven from the floor to the delight of the sold-out crowd at the AT&T Center.
The Spurs held a 69-67 lead with just under four minutes left in the third quarter but veteran guard Ray Allen scored six points of an 8-0 Miami run to give the Heat a 75-69 lead.
An electrical outage at the arena caused the air conditioning to stop working, allowing temperatures to approach 32 degrees Celsius courtside. Despite the sweltering conditions, the crowd remained raucous until the end