The Miami Heat led for most of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but could not hold on late, falling to the San Antonio Spurs 92-88.
LeBron James picked up his 10th career playoff triple-double, scoring 18 points with 18 rebounds and 10 assists.
But it was Tony Parker who sealed the game (with James covering him) on a bank shot with 5.2 seconds remaining. James seemingly had Parker bottled up with a few seconds left on the shot clock, but the Spurs' point guard was able to get a shot off just before it expired.
James only attempted seven shots in the second half, though he would have had more than the five assists he logged had his teammates hit more of their shots.
"Well, it's pretty clear," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "There were plays to be made, and our offensive inefficiency going down the stretch, most of the fourth quarter probably hurt us more than anything."
The first half moved at a pace that seemed like light speed compared to the plodding play against Indiana in the conference finals. The Heat looked much more comfortable on offense than they did against the Pacers, and shot 51 percent, including 6 of 15 from 3-point range.
James and Wade attacked the rim early, challenging Tim Duncan in the paint and getting him into early foul trouble. Wade was aggressive early, and looked like his sore right knee was not bothering him at all, scoring 13. James scored 10 with eight rebounds and five assists. Miami led 52-49 at halftime.
Duncan got his revenge, though, scoring 12 points in the second quarter (after going scoreless in the first). He also had 9 rebounds.
The third quarter continued much at the same tempo. The Heat would increase their lead a little, then the Spurs would chip away at it, and then the cycle repeated itself a few more times. Miami entered the fourth quarter with a 72-69 lead.
But the Heat's offense stalled in the fourth quarter. Miami scored seven points in the first 8 minutes of the quarter, allowing the Spurs to take their first lead since midway through the first quarter. A Danny Green 3-pointer with just over two minutes to go gave the Spurs a seven-point lead.
Miami winnowed the deficit to two points, but could not make the stop on the Spurs' final possession. The Heat's Big Three had only eight points combined in the final period (none from Dwyane Wade), and five of Miami's nine turnovers came in the fourth quarter.
"The fourth quarter was the difference," James said. "And I could see it on a few of our guys' faces. ... We played some really good basketball in the closing quarter, and we had some mental mistakes. And there's only a couple of teams that you can't have mistakes against, especially in the fourth, and San Antonio is definitely the No. 1 team."
Wade finished with 17 points, and Chris Bosh and Ray Allen each had 13 points. Miami shot 48 percent through the first three quarters, but made just 5 of 18 shots (and turned the ball over five times) in the final quarter.
Parker scored 21 points, Duncan had 20 points with 14 rebounds, and Kawhi Leonard had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs.
The Heat will try to even up the series on Sunday night, when they host Game 2.
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