NBA Finals: LeBron James inspires Miami Heat to level series with San Antonio Spurs

The sides are now level 1-1

LeBron James had 35 points and 10 rebounds in a powerful bounce back from cramps in the opener, and the Miami Heat levelled the NBA Finals with a 98-96 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 on Sunday night.

Chris Bosh made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:18 remaining for the Heat, who have won 13 straight following a loss in the postseason. Just like last year, they rebounded from a loss to the Spurs in the opener.

Bosh had 18 points for the Heat, who host Game 3 on Tuesday night.

James played 36 minutes, making 14 of 22 shots. He was only 1 for 4 with three turnovers in a shaky first quarter, then made 11 of his next 13.

After two days of enduring criticism for not finishing and getting suggestions on how to avoid cramps, James changed the subject.

"Got to play hard," James said. "I believe the man above will protect me. I just try to put myself and my teammates in position to succeed."

He also had a key strip of Tony Parker down the stretch, playing a dominant game on both ends as if he had something to prove.

Whenever the critics come out, James always quickly can silence them.

He had 11 points in the second quarter, helping Miami erase an 11-point deficit early in the period. The game was played within a margin of a few points from there, and the Spurs missed a chance to seize control in the fourth quarter when Tony Parker and Tim Duncan combined to miss four straight free throws when they had a two-point lead.

James then made a 3-pointer and two free throws, setting Miami up to pull it out.

Parker scored 21 points and Duncan had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Spurs, who had won eight straight at home by 15 more points.

The game was played in comfortable conditions inside the AT&T Center, where an air conditioning failure in Game 1 sent temperatures soaring to about 90 degrees in the second half. The problem, caused by a broken circuit breaker, was fixed by Friday afternoon, and it was much cooler inside the arena.

James had the toughest time with the heat Thursday, needing treatment midway through the fourth quarter before eventually having to leave for good. He had plenty of time to recover, with the two days off between Games 1 and 2.

He personally erased a 62-56 San Antonio lead by scoring eight points in less than a minute, and his 14 points in the third quarter had Miami down only 78-77 heading to the fourth.

Wade and Rashard Lewis each scored 14 points for the Heat, who also dropped Game 1 of the NBA Finals against Oklahoma City two years ago. They have won five straight series after dropping the opening game.

The Spurs were in good position to end that streak, withstanding James' assault long enough to lead by one with under 2 minutes to play. But they were shut out from there until Manu Ginobili's 3-pointer as time expired.

"LeBron with the ball did a pretty good job at his end and we had to be really perfect at the other end and we didn't," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We didn't take advantage of things. We made bad decisions."

And it didn't help them that they had to deal with James at the end of this one.

Ginobili finished with 19 points for the Spurs, whose 18 points in the fourth quarter were half the 36 they scored in the opener.

"We have a very competitive group and you have two days to commiserate how that game went down," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It was frustrating, painful going through that for two days and now we have to manage the other emotion."

After their sensational finish to Game 1, the Spurs picked up right where they left off, making 10 of their first 15 shots. They led 26-17 after Duncan's follow shot with 1:49 left, but missed a chance to expand their lead by committing three straight turnovers, and coach Gregg Popovich looked irate when the quarter ended with San Antonio ahead 26-19.

The Spurs opened an 11-point lead early in the second before James got going. He had three straight Miami baskets, and a follow shot later in the period gave the Heat their first lead at 34-33.

AP

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing company based i...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor