Game 3 of the 2014 NBA Finals begins tonight. To get you caught up on what went down so far in this tied 1-1 series, let's recap Games 1 and 2 of the Finals.

Game 1

Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James

After all the hoopla and twists and turns of the 2013 season and postseason here we are, the same place we were in last year at this time. The two best teams in the league for past few seasons again battling it out for supremacy in the 2014 NBA Finals.

The Heat faced off against the Spurs in San Antonio Game 1 of the Finals on Thursday night.

For the Spurs, it was an opportunity to maintain home-court advantage and win their sixth straight Game 1 in the Finals. For the Heat, they were just looking to set the tone early and swing home-court to their advantage by taking one of the first two games in San Antonio.

The teams had to battle an additional, unforeseen, opponent in this one: the elements. The air conditioning units inside the AT&T Center lost power and soon temperatures courtside were sweltering.

Through the high temperature in the building, both teams battled. The Heat jumped out to a 9-6 lead thanks to hot shooting from Chris Bosh and LeBron James early. The Spurs countered by feeding their bigs in the post and getting to the basket.

A 9-2 run gave San Antonio a 15-11 lead before the Heat’s Big Three jumped into action. The Miami stars scored all but two of their teams’ 20 first-quarter points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Manu Ginobili’s hot shooting. Ginobili hit three three-pointers in a row to help the Spurs to a 26-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, both team’s supporting casts stepped up. Ray Allen hit two threes in the opening minutes of the period to bring Miami within one of San Antonio. Marco Belinelli answered for the Spurs with a three of his own to extend the Spurs lead.

With LeBron on the bench, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade helped the Heat go on an 8-0 run and take a two-point lead. The Spurs answered with a 10-3 run of their own.

James returned to close out the quarter and scored six quick points in under a minute. But just as in the first quarter, the Spurs were able to hold the Heat scoreless over the final 2:30 of the period to take a 54-49 lead into the half.

At halftime, the temperature began to swell courtside. Some sideline reporters were saying the temperature was as high as 90 degrees before the start of the third quarter.

When the game resumed, Kawhi Leonard got his first basket of the game to open the half. Leonard was limited due to foul trouble, which led to Boris Diaw taking over the responsibility of guarding LeBron for most of the game.

The Heat went on a 15-4 run to take a two-point lead with 7:23 remaining in the quarter. From there, these two champions traded baskets and the lead for the rest of the period.

A bust of youthful vigor from Ray Allen culminated in a breakaway dunk. LeBron followed by hitting two free throws to give the Heat their biggest lead of the night at 75-69 with 1:20 left in the period. The Heat took a four-point lead into the final quarter.

Tiago Splitter was a one-man wrecking crew to start the fourth, scoring five quick points before committing a foul and getting pulled in favor of Duncan. Bosh responded for the Heat by scoring nine points in the opening 2:30 of the period to extend the Miami lead to seven.

At this point, fatigue was starting to set in and players on the bench were placing ice on their necks to cool themselves. A Tony Parker floater and Duncan jumper brought San Antonio within two before James was taken out looking fatigued.

That is when Danny Green took off. Green hit two threes and converted a ferocious dunk to spark a quick 10-2 run for the Spurs before Erik Spoelstra called a Heat timeout to insert LeBron into the lineup.

LeBron almost immediately connected on an acrobatic layup before coming up lame with a cramp. He took his time trying to work it out but had to be carried off the court to deal with it. He was in obvious pain and the conditions in the gym were ripe for someone to go down in this way.

The Spurs went on a 16-3 run in the final four minutes of the game to take Game 1 with the 110-95 win.

The story after the game was the lack of A/C and LeBron’s early exit.

Sure, his absence affected the game, but the Spurs shot incredibly in the fourth. San Antonio finished the game 13-25 from beyond the arc and went 14-16 from the field in the final period to run away and hide from the Heat.

Check the next slide read about Game 2

Game 2


Game 2 was sure to be a doozy. LeBron was back, claiming no ill effects of the cramping that drove him to the bench in the final minutes of Game 1. The extra day of rest between the games figured to help considering the sauna-like conditions of the opening game.

Tim Duncan looked downright spritely in the game’s opening quarter, putting in 11 points and generally doing work in the paint. Despite his insistence to the contrary, LeBron seemed to have a bit of a Game 1 hangover. King James committed three first quarter turnovers and had just two points in the opening period.

Luckily for the Heat, Bosh and Rashard Lewis stepped up early for Miami. The unlikely duo combined for 13 of Miami’s 19 first quarter points, but it was not enough to stave off the Spurs, who took a 26-19 lead to the second quarter.

Danny Green started the second quarter on the bench due to foul trouble and was replaced by Patty Mills. Mills hit his first shot of the game followed by Ginobili hitting a jumper to extend the Spurs lead to 11.

The Heat went on an 11-2 run over a sloppy stretch of the second period to pull within two. James stepped up for Miami in the period, scoring 11 points and creating for his teammates as well. At the half, things were all tied up at 43.

In the second half LeBron turned of the afterburners in an attempt to put the Spurs away early.

Kawhi Leonard was once again limited due to foul trouble, picking up three fouls in four game minutes in the middle of the period. Without Leonard’s athleticism to contend with, James went off in a big way in the third.

James finished the quarter hitting six of seven shots for 14 points and mostly jump shooting the Spurs to death, hitting 18-footers repeatedly in the eye of the defense.

Despite LeBron’s heroics, the Heat could not shake the Spurs. San Antonio hit five three-pointers in the third period to keep pace with Miami. When Parker hit a floater in the lane, the Spurs were actually the owners of a one-point lead heading into the final period.

In the fourth, another three by Green and two free throws by Ginobili put the Spurs up by two with 6:52 remaining. Things seemed to be going the Spurs way. That is when things got flipped. In what was a seemingly vicious and boneheaded move, Mario Chalmers drove his elbow into Tony Parker’s chest on a drive to the basket.

The wrestling move left Parker writhing on the court for some time before he was able to right himself and take the free throws. Parker missed the first attempt, then the second. Strange.

Moments later, Duncan was fouled in the lane and missed both of his attempts as well. This seemed to get in San Antonio’s head a bit and the crowd grew uneasy. James promptly hit a contested three with 5:23 remaining to put Miami in the lead at 88-87. To that point, LeBron was 8-of-10 from the field in the second half.

A Parker three with 2:30 left put the Spurs up one but Bosh answered with a three of his own to give the Heat a 95-93 lead. On the next Heat possession, James drove the the basket and drew the foul from Leonard, fouling him out of the game.

James split the free throws and on the ensuing possession the Spurs could not connect and lost the ball out of bounds with 28 seconds remaining.

With nine seconds left in a four-point game Bosh was able to find Wade inside for the easy layup to give the Heat a five-point lead. A desperation three by Ginobili at the buzzer made the final score Miami 98, San Antonio 96.

After LeBron’s three pointer with 5:23 to go in the game, San Antonio went 3-10 the rest of the way. Miami was 3-6 from the field and 3-4 from the line over that same period.

In crunch time, LeBron was charged with guarding Tony Parker and it was effective in limiting the Frenchman’s playmaking ability.

To this point in the series, the Spurs haven’t gotten a full game from Kawhi Leonard. Leonard will need to be able to stay on the floor if the Spurs hope to regain home-court advantage as the series now shifts to Miami.


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