Guard Tony Parker and his San Antonio Spurs rose to the occasion and took game one from the Miami Heat last night in Miami. The 92-88 victory continued the momentum the Spurs have carried with them throughout this post season, now making them 13-2 since the playoffs began. Home field advantage also shifted San Antonio’s way with the win, a crucial part of any playoff series.
The game was sealed on a crazy play by Tony Parker that people certainly will be talking about in the final seconds of the game. The play officially was scored as a two point jump shot with 5.2 seconds left in the game, giving his team a four point lead, but it was a lot more than that.
For starters, Parker was able to get his shot off with only one hundredth of a second left on the shot clock, just about as close as you can get to a shot clock violation. He was off balance throughout the play, finally getting off an unbalanced shot right as the buzzer went off.
“It was a crazy play. I thought I lost the ball three or four times,” Parker said in a post game interview.”It didn’t work out like I wanted it to. At the end I was just trying to get a shot up. I was happy it went in.”
Lebron James, who was defending Parker on the play, thought the same thing. When asked to describe the play from his point of view he said that “Tony did everything wrong and did everything right in the same possession. He stumbled two or three times, he fell over and when he fell over I was like OK, I am going to have to tie this ball up. He got up and went under my arm. I got a great contest … it barely got off. That was the longest 24 seconds that I’ve been part of.”
Regardless of how beautiful,or lack thereof, the play was the one that sealed the game. It all counts the same once the ball goes through the net. Parker showed once again that he is as clutch as they come, something he hopes to prove again later in the series.
Game one showed us that Tony Parker is somehow still underrated. Perhaps it is due to his quiet nature, but he hasn’t received the media or fan attention one would expect a three time champion and five time All-Star to warrant. Nonetheless he continues to show up huge in big games, now positioning his team to earn its fourth title since he joined the team. He finished with a team high 21 points on the night.
Lebron James showed us that he is going to produce each and every game this post season, whether or not he his teammates do anything to help him. He finished with a triple double on the night with 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Tim Duncan inches one game closer to Magic Johnson’s career mark for post season double doubles with 20 points and 14 rebounds on the night.
Being under the bright lights in a close game can bring a lot of pressure with it, this year’s Finals are being broadcast globally, in 47 languages and 215 countries, yet Parker and the Spurs were able to rise to the occasion and get past the Heat in game one.
This series is far from over, but the early signs point to a competitive close fought series. Parker was able to lead the Spurs past the Heat in game one, yet needed a lot of luck from Parker to do so. Expect the series to go at least six, perhaps seven games before we have an NBA champion this year.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express