Culture of Hoops

Nine seconds too long, four free throws too short: Miami Heat take Game 2

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

There were two huge broadcasting events that aired locally on Sunday night: one was a prestigious event that displayed (and honored) the immaculate acting talent of a few very familiar faces – the other was the 2014 Tony Awards. In a well air-conditioned AT&T Center in San Antonio, the Miami Heat, clearly donning a somewhat hydrated grudge, took on the San Antonio Spurs in a battle of brawn, wits, and clear-as-day flopping. We’re all familiar with the outcome of Game 1 of the NBA Finals (with the absence of a very missed air conditioner, to self-proclaimed kingpin LeBron James going down faster in the fourth than an aspiring actress from one of those square middle states in front of a producer in due to dehydration), so it was interesting to see what Game 2 had in store for viewers and the millions waiting to create another viral internet meme.

The first quarter started with Spurs Danny Green knocking down the first bucket for his team, looking ever bit as dangerous has he had up until that point. However, everyone’s favorite AARP gold member, Tim Duncan, would play the role of white knight by dominating in the paint in order put the Spurs up 15-13. San Antonio would head into the first leading 26-19 while shooting 61.5%. Miami scrambled in the second and were down when a Ray Allen 3-pointer forced San Antonio to take a timeout with 9:39 remaining in the first half. The Heat then went on a 9-2 and brought their score back up, only trailing 28-32 with 7:15 left. Both James and Chris Bosh put on a clinic and wound up headed into the locker room with both teams tied 43-43.

Within the opening minutes of the second half, Duncan landed his 157th playoff double-double, tying with Magic Johnson for most all-time. However, Miami would end up taking a two point lead with 4:50 left in the third and drive the Spurs to consider “breaking” their air conditioner for the remainder of Game 2. After 10 lead changes in the third, the Spurs would only be up 78-77. Flopping (a lost art form according to NBA players) strange calls, botched free throws, and King James would be the story of the fourth. Heat Mario Chalmers’ elbow seemed to find Tony Parker’s midsection as Parker cringed in pain and curled up in a little ball on the court, stopping the game and prompting everyone on the planet to review the play and either call him out on his fabulous acting skills, or laugh as Metta World Peace (the man formally known as Ron Artest) took to Twitter to complain that Chalmers’ “stole my move!”.

The epic battle continued as both teams tied it at 90 with 3:06 and would continue to go back and forth until officials took to instant replay in order to determine whether or not the ball drifted out-of-bounds off of either’s Parker’s leg (it did officially) or LeBron’s hand (it didn’t, but refs apparently failed to notice James’ hand casually hitting Parker in both the face and the hand, which was probably compensation for Parker’s obvious traveling before the ball bounced over the line).

Yes, the officiating was spotty (as it usually is) but the game would ultimately come down to four lost free throws on the Spurs’ part. Both Parker and Duncan went 0-for-4 at the foul line before the pivotal nine-second stretch that would cost them the entire game. The Heat would take Game 2 98-96, tying the series at 1-1 a piece. James was a monster with 35 points and 10 rebounds, while Parker had 21 for the Spurs.

Somewhere, Joey Crawford is laughing.

The series heads back to Miami on Tuesday night.

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