The Miami Heat will look to even up the NBA Finals at one game apiece on Sunday night when they host the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs stole home court advantage in Game 1, coming from behind to deliver a victory behind 21 points from Tony Parker (including the game-clincher in the final seconds).
"When I was in Cleveland we played Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals and I think I averaged 38, 36, or whatever I averaged," James said of the 2009 series. He averaged 38.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 8 assists. "I guess I should have done more in that series as well. But I can't. ... I do what's best for the team. What's best for the team, it doesn't always result in a win."
Still, the Heat are far from out of the Finals. Last year they lost Game 1 to the Oklahoma City Thunder, then reeled off four straight wins to clinch the championship. In 2011, Miami won Game 1, then lost four of their next five against the Dallas Mavericks.
"That history-repeats-itself-hopefully thing, that would be great," Dwyane Wade said Saturday. "But right now we have to figure out how to make the adjustments to win Game 2. We're playing against a very, very good team. Very intelligent, smart team. And we have to break the code. We have to crack the code and figure out how to be more effective, you know, in Game 2 than we were in Game 1."
Miami's primary objective will be slowing down Parker, who seemed to score at will when the Spurs needed it the most in Game 1. What made his 21 points more impressive was the fact that he didn't commit a single turnover, adding 6 assists.
On offense, the Heat can help themselves by hitting more open looks. James could have easily had 15 assists if the Heat did not miss so many three-pointers in the second half (Miami made only 2 of their 8 three-pointers after halftime on Thursday).
James said San Antonio was effective at keeping the Heat out of the paint in the second half of Game 1, and said Miami's task will be to make them pay for giving up so many open looks from outside.
"The Spurs did a good job of shrinking the floor ... so if that's their game plan, we're going to continue to exploit that," James said. "And I believe our guys will be there to knock those shots down. But there's also a few plays I could have been more aggressive as well. But Game 1, I think I improve as the series goes on as well, seeing ways I can be more aggressive from possession to possession."
The Heat say they will be ready, and recent history suggests that will be the case. The Heat have fallen behind 1-0 in three playoff series since the Big Three came together, and won all three series 4-1.
"We bounce back," Heat forward Udonis Haslem said. "This team has great resolve, veteran guys with a lot of pride and we bounce back. Take nothing away from San Antonio. We won Game 1. But we had opportunities."
Game 2 tips off at 9pm ET, with coverage on ABC.