By Craig Fields
Superman himself would have been proud of the 4th quarter heroics provided by the San Antonio Spurs’ point guard, Tony Parker. It is no exaggeration to say that without his special performance, the Spurs probably would have lost that game. Parker, who ended the game with 21 points and six assists, picked up two very important points in the closing seconds of a very entertaining back-and-forth fourth quarter.
With time ticking away, and Heat defenders swarming, the Spurs’ point guard performed a brilliant step through move and banked a shot in that took approximately an eternity to drop.
So where did this game get away from the Heat. Where did things go south for the defending champions. I’ll tell you where. As specified by Tim Legler on ESPN, there was a six minute time frame in the fourth quarter in which the Heat had 12 possessions and only had one field goal. During this very important time LeBron James only had one field goal attempt and even that ended in a miss.
It is difficult to put a loss on a man who had a triple double, but James needs to look for his shot more and attack the basket relentlessly. Why are we talking about Tony Parker’s 21 points and not LeBron James’ overall stat line? The answer to that is because Tony Parker’s 21 points came in a win.
Tony noticed that his team needed a scorer. Not a facilitator. Not a rebounder. A scorer. So that is what he provided. That is what a leader does. The Heat were unfortunate enough to have a big man in Chris Bosh who could not knock down a shot if his life depended on it. So what does LeBron do? He gives Bosh the opportunity during crunch time to take a 3-point shot that ended in a brick. That’s right. James, after beating his defender and managing his way into the lane with the opportunity to hoist an eight to 12 foot jumper opted to pass the rock to a very cold Bosh who was not up for the challenge.
Said Parker: “We got a little bit lucky in Game One. Sometimes that’s what it takes to win games. We were just trying to hang. In the third quarter, the same thing. In the fourth quarter we finally made some stops and made a couple of big shots.”
Whether you want to call it luck or not is entirely up for debate. But what is not up for debate is the fact that Parker and company have successfully taken away the much glorified and lauded home-court advantage. We will see what adjustments Coach Spoelstra will make as the Heat will attempt to even the series Sunday night in Florida.