by Marcel Mutoni / @ marcel_mutoni
Having grabbed the lead late in the opener of the championship round, for a moment, it looked as though things would unravel for the San Antonio Spurs. Tony Parker appeared trap, down on one knee with the shot clock racing to zero and LeBron James lunging for the ball.
Parker somehow escaped the trap and banked in an unbelievable shot to steal Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the defending champion Miami Heat.
Per Yahoo! Sports:
“How the hell is anything good going to happen from this?” Spurs general manager R.C. Buford remembered thinking to himself within an hour of the Spurs’ 92-88 victory here in the opener of the NBA Finals. As a kid in France, Parker had been mesmerized with the Harlem Globetrotters. “I loved Curly Neal,” he said. For a moment with Game 1 of the NBA Finals on the line, Parker became him.
[…] Out of room, out of time, this was the Heat’s chance to get back the ball for a final shot at redemption. Only, with barely air between the bounce and the floor, Parker never lost his dribble. James had Parker – 7 inches shorter – trapped, and it felt like that shot clock should’ve run out. “The longest 24 seconds that I’ve ever been a part of,” James said. Back on his feet, Parker still had nowhere to go and Tim Duncan was praying that somehow, someway his point guard could get a shot over James and reach the rim. “I was trying to work [Chris] Bosh up the lane a little bit, so I could get back to the board,” Duncan said. As Parker climbed to his feet and finally picked up his dribble, James held his arms straight in the air. Parker couldn’t see the rim. There was no time to pass the ball and James was smothering him. (LeBron) James called his defense “a great contest,” until something surprised him. “He went under my arm,” James said.
It was a miraculous shot, the kind that will be replayed endlessly for years to come. But make no mistake: these old, proud San Antonio spurs earned their Game 1 victory.
With their normally-reliable outside shooting having deserted them for a night (San Antonio shot just 7/23 from three-point land), the Spurs limited turnovers, pounded the Heat inside with Tim Duncan, all of which allowed Tony Parker to put the finishing touch on things.
The Miami Heat now have to respond in a must-win Game 2 on Sunday; they need to find answers for Tony Parker.
LeBron James, whose triple-double went to waste, put it best in his postgame comments:
“The Spurs are the Spurs.”