Heat pull away in 2nd half to tie NBA Finals

Heat pull away in 2nd half to tie NBA Finals
June 9, 2013, 10:45 pm
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LeBron James blocks Tiago's Splitter's dunk attempt in the fourth quarter.

(USA Today Sports)

MIAMI — The idea that the Miami Heat would play better on Sunday comes as a surprise to no one.

But this good?

After a relatively close game for two-plus quarters, the Heat closed out the third quarter strong and continued to pull away before finishing off the Spurs with a rousing 103-84 victory.

The series is tied at 1 with the next three games in San Antonio beginning with Game 3 on Tuesday.

LeBron James did not have the kind of monster game statistically that many expected the Heat would need from him following their Game 1 loss.

Still, make no mistake about it, James' presence was felt throughout the game, at both ends of the floor.

If he wasn't finding Ray Allen in the corner for a three-point shot, he was blocking a Tiago Splitter dunk attempt.

His final stat line - 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists - doesn't come close to indicating the impact he made in Game 2.

Allen, who had 13 points off the bench for Miami, wasn't the only player not named James to play well.

Mario Chalmers, who has been the second-favorite player to blame for when things go bad for the Heat - that top spot belongs to Chris Bosh - had 19 points.

Speaking of Bosh, he still shoots more than his share of jumpers. But it was clear from the very start that the Heat were intent on getting more production from him in the post.

He had three made baskets in the first quarter, two of which were from point-blank range. Bosh would finish with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, to go with four assists.

Being more of an inside-outside scoring threat is what has helped Bosh become one of the best big men in the NBA, which is why it was so puzzling to see him for so many games rely almost exclusively on his jump shot to score.

But Bosh, much like the rest of the Heat players, was back to doing in Game 2 many of the things that made Miami so successful during the regular season and of course, in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Spurs have been playing at such a ridiculously high level for so long, they were more than due to have a rough outing.

Having come into Game 2 with a seven-game winning streak in the playoffs, San Antonio's blueprint for success has been clear.

Keep the game close for three quarters, and pull away for the win in the fourth.

Game 2 seemed to be almost a carbon copy of Game 1; that is, until Miami found itself down 62-61 following a driving lay-up by Spurs guard Danny Green, with 3:50 to play.

From there, the Heat buckled down defensively, forced three turnovers and went on a 14-3 run that put them in position to win going away.

San Antonio was led by Green's 17 points which included him making all five of his three-point attempts.

Tony Parker, the hero of Game 1 for San Antonio, only had 13 points in Game 2 on 5-for-14 shooting. He also had as many turnovers (5) as assists (5).

Tim Duncan had nine points and 11 rebounds while Kawhi Leonard had nine points and a game-high 14 rebounds.