Old wounds surface in tough Spurs loss


VIDEO: Heat vs. Spurs – Game 2

SAN ANTONIO — As the Spurs retreated to their psychiatric summer of 2013 Sunday night thanks to a flood of missed free throws and blown opportunities, they’d later find out that LeBron James righted his mind and body during an early morning yoga class with a few guests at the team’s Hill Country resort.

Just what the Spurs need, their own weighty heads now headed to that padded, white-walled room called Miami, while James, coming off the Big Cramp to pound San Antonio for 35 points and 10 rebounds, floats home on a pillow of puffy, white clouds.

“We took a tough one today,” said Manu Ginobili, who had 19 points, but three turnovers, including an impossible-to-handle whip pass inside to Tim Duncan with 1:01 to go and Miami up two. “We were in a good spot. We played an OK game, not perfect, but we were right there, and it slipped away.”

It wasn’t quite 28-seconds-slip-away like last year’s Game 6, but the Spurs know they allowed Miami to escape from an 0-2 bind on their home floor. The Heat walked out of San Antonio with a series-evening 98-96 victory, holding the Spurs to 6-for-17 shooting and 18 points in the final period, a reversal from the Spurs’ 14-for-16 Game 1 closeout as James’ body shut down on Thursday.

“It doesn’t matter what we’ve been through before, we’re here now again and we lost a game,” Duncan said. “We’re not going to hang our head.”

Yet, there was the typically stoic Duncan shaking his head in disbelief as the halftime buzzer sounded, having raised his arms overhead, clenching his fists and unclenching them as his hands landed on each hip, his eyes staring incredulously at the floor. It doesn’t take an archivist to remember when and where we last saw such a reaction from Duncan. All that was missing was his Game 7 two-handed palm-slap of the floor.

How did that little 1-foot put-back of Tony Parker‘s miss not go down? How did San Antonio go to the locker room in a 43-43 tie when it led 30-19 and seemed in control only to see James and his merry band of role players Norris Cole, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis and Chris “Birdman” Andersen quickly close the gap?

“I honestly don’t know what happened in that stretch,” Duncan said. “But turnovers were probably a factor there.”

And then there’s the points the Spurs left on the free throw line, missing eight of 20 attempts and four in a row on a most unfortunate seven-point swing with 6:43 to go in the game as San Antonio led 87-85. Struggling Heat point guard Mario Chalmers tried to drive past Parker, and has he did in the paint, he popped Parker in the ribs with an elbow. Chalmers rightly got hit with a Flagrant 1 giving Parker two free throws and the Spurs possession.

Parker had gone down hard, grimacing in clear pain. He finally sat up, got up and went to the free throw line. He missed the first one off the front rim. The second one bounced off the side and Parker immediately reached for his ribs. Coach Gregg Popovich got Parker out of the game, although he never went to the bench, instead taking a seat on the scorer’s table to talk to Popovich.

“It definitely affected me,” Parker said of the shot to the ribs. “But I’m a little bit frustrated; should have made them.”

On the ensuing possession, Duncan got fouled and he, too, missed both free throws. James drained a 3-pointer to give Miami the lead, 88-87. Parker would quickly re-enter and he made a 3 that gave the Spurs their final lead, 93-92 with 2:26 to go.

But San Antonio’s crisp passing and player movement turned uncharacteristically chaotic down the stretch. Four consecutive missed shots and a turnover did them in as Miami executed with poise, making highlight-reel passes for easy baskets to secure a 98-93 lead with 9.4 seconds left.

Those missed free throws, though, reeled everybody’s minds back to Game 6 in Miami, when Ginobili missed one of two with 28 seconds left and then Kawhi Leonard split a pair with 19 seconds left. It can’t be said with absolute certainty, of course, but if those free throws go down, it’s most likely the Spurs playing for a repeat and Heat president Pat Riley‘s never going back to the well for more three-peat trademarks.

And so now it’s on to Miami for the veteran, savvy Spurs, who can never fully forget what went down there a year ago, just as they’ll need to erase  the opportunity that slipped away on Sunday night.

“For me, personally, I’m definitely not going to think about that [last year] the next two games,” Parker said. “I’m going to focus on what I can do to help the team win.”

30 Comments

  1. Kimmylovesthethunder says:

    Can’t wait to watch the San Antonio Slurs beat the Heat tonight!

  2. The Schoowow says:

    Add few facts : Wade makes ugly fouls, not all of which are called, never called for technicals or flagrant. A representative move is kicking the back of the head of Paul George twice while George was on the floor. The ball was not even close. The flagrant was not called. Not even a foul? Once again, kicking a man twice on the back of the head, not even a foul.
    Then Wade fakes. So he got fined. and we’re all very happy about it. Of course. And Now they marked Parker as their next target.
    A vicious blow, an elbow to the ribs that turned #2 around. It is not basketball. Chalmers was supposed to get a F2 for this elbow. Wade should get a red card for faking (flop) like in soccer. Fining Wade is raising a white flag. He’ll celebrate a C and $25K less in his pocket for being fined each game left.
    Admit it, NBA officials : You failed to stop “Flops”. Wade will pay this fine with a wide smile from one ear to another.
    LAUGHING IN YOUR FACE !
    And Lebron doing the chicken wing. If you are not going to call these (I counted at least 5 times he clearly pushed a defender for an easy lay up, for a clear path, for a rebound., for practice, for fun) why bother sending refs to Miami.
    Ask Heat to appoint their own staff to ref #3. They can overlook Lebron’s chicken wings as well.
    And then there are illegal screens where Bosh and Birdy and Lewis catch and hold a defender not to run out for an open 3. It is Miami’s signature move, not penalized. Never called. MEOPM Miami’s Every Other Possession Move.
    OK Lebron had a great game, but they got too much help from the Refs.
    In Football, they call this “Holding”. Did not know it is a legal move in Basketball. Enlighten me up.
    It is ugly. And I am not a Spurs fan, nor Pacers’ neither.

  3. #Pixars says:

    just watch people. you talk so much about it,nuff said. its a great series to remember and appreciate as a whole.

  4. Nana says:

    Let’s go spurs

  5. lbattle7915 says:

    Great piece. Remember, teams mirror the emotional state of their coach.

  6. Connor says:

    I think the Spurs feel the pressure of playing the best player in the world in Lebron James; so when it is close at the end of the game they get tight. What the Spurs need to do is forget about James and attack, attack, attack. Pretend in their minds that James is just an average player and not let him psyche them out. Pretend he’s Udonis Haslem and just challenge him like all other Heat players. Then they won’t be so tight at the end of the game and psych themselves out.

  7. For me.game2 spurs is in good spot..but not perfect in there free throw..missed dying seconds of the final quarter…thats all folks..go go go spurs..

  8. Blog-So-Hard-NBA says:

    Parker gotta wear pads like Miami’s guards do, duh!!!

  9. brad says:

    Please smell the coffe?

  10. VAC says:

    GO SPURS GO!!

  11. chacho says:

    please smell the coffe the MIAMI HEAT ARE THE NEW CHAMPIONS 2014

  12. DavidC says:

    Go Heat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. DavidC says:

    All you heat haters just stop being jealous. I live in Austin, Texas and like the Spurs because they are good but Miami is just much better. Miami should be 2 and 0 without that AC stunt. Of course Lebron heated up, he play more and harder than everybody else. They were actually on their way winning Game #1 until the heat caught up with Lebron. But just like Game #1 they did the same thing in Game #2 where they put the pedal to the medal in the 3rd and 4th and just take over. And there’s nothing a really good ball team like the Spurs can do to stop LBJ (especially with the AC working like it should). They shouldn’t even count that game..I wouldn’t want to win that way.

  14. DaPlayaPresident says:

    Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve.

  15. Anthony says:

    Thats ur opinion! not fact it is what it is some would say it should be Sa with a 2 game lead! U get my drift?

  16. Moe says:

    I give the Heat some credit but Spur shot themselves in the foot again just like game 6 last year. Made those four free throws and then we wouldn’t even be talking about this situation. It’s a game a piece and I’m not worried. It’s a seven game series.

    • Moe says:

      I give the Heat some respect for accomplishing what they did. Also they are still the Champs. Spur have to play better than they did last night. Leonard has the find a way to stay out of foul trouble. I just can’t stay the Heat trolls no offense to the real Heat fans.

      • Billy Bob says:

        Yep some credit to HEAT.
        Spurs beat themselves though.
        That elbow in the rib was premeditated. Does not make the HEAT more popular with me. If you have to win games this way you can not be that good.
        I like to see the Spurs get a bit more nasty. I want to see some of those HEAT players repaid. Some stitches will do. After all this is the finals. Channel the Bad Boys.

  17. Jeffy J says:

    Miami is simply the best team in the NBA. There is no answer for Lebron James and his superior basketball skills. San Antonio Spurs was once great,however, they need to recognize greatness.

  18. pepe gonzalez says:

    Let’s face it,this series should be 2-0 Heat. The only reason that The Spurs won game 1 was because Lebron was on the bench the last 5 minutes of the game. Everyone knows that Lebron get cramps, so the A/C breakdown was very timely for the Spurs. It could not be fixed before or during the game , however cooling fans were provided for the Spurs locker room only and none for the Heat. Give me a break.

    • Game Time says:

      I agree mostly. I not going to say for sure Miami would have won game one, but it’s troubling knowing some of the facts surrounding what happened. Anyhow they made of for it last night and I think they are just getting their momentum started.

    • Neutral says:

      Rubbish comment, even if James on the floor in the last 5 mins in game 1, Heat would also be the loser. First, the Spurs was coming back before James is out, Green had shooting several 3s after being cooled in 3 quarters. Heat was in a bad situation. Second, both teams were affected by the hot environment, even i believe that the Heat is the side which has took advantage of such situation because the ages of the Spurs’ Stars are older than the Heats’. So, it’s unfair that people says Spurs has won Game 1 because of the out of order of A/C, the out of James, etc……

  19. yup says:

    the nba is pointless until bronbron retires. ever single year heat will win the title, without question, until the #6 jersey is in the rafters. it’s like ali fighting children. nobody, not the spurs, not the pacers, will ever beat the heat. nba is just going through the motions like wrestling, it’s all known what’s actually going to happen.

  20. curmudgeon says:

    surprised by timmy’s incredulous look? it’s the same one he gives every time he’s charged with a foul, every time an inbounds call goes the other way. he’ll go down in history as THE MAN WHO NEVER FOULED ANYONE.

  21. theking0522 says:

    That shows how good Lebron really is. Without Lebron, they got blown by the Spurs in game 1. With Lerbon on the floor, the Spurs didn’t look as sharp in the 4th..Lebron impacts the game on both ends of the floor.

  22. Kurisu says:

    Excuses! Excuses! Excuses!

  23. Michael says:

    Games like this often come down to a handful of plays, and a few bad calls certainly don’t help. A paltry $5,000 fine after the game is no deterrent to a mufti-millionaire like Dwyane Wade. I’ve long held the belief that flops should be reviewed by an off-court official as the game goes on, and penalized with a technical foul at the next stoppage in the game if a player is deemed to have flopped. Wade absolutely flopped when Ginobili slapped the ball. And LeBron got away with taking FOUR steps in the final minute before he got fouled. But, the Spurs should have made their free throws, and they failed to execute down the stretch. Next on the agenda is to steal one back in Miami. Now it’s a best of five series.

    • mikmaks says:

      Please… Ginobili is so much of a flopper as well. Just take the loss and move on. Well be ready coz the Heat have home court now.

  24. eddie says:

    wathever tony