Heat vs. Spurs final score, NBA Finals 2014: LeBron James leads Miami to 98-96 victory to even series at 1-1

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James was magnificent, leading the Heat to a critical Game 2 victory in order to tie the series.

SB Nation 2014 NBA Playoff Bracket

The Miami Heat shook off their Game 1 loss with an impressive 98-96 win over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 to even the NBA Finals at one game apiece.

LeBron James put any concerns about his cramps to rest with a remarkable performance, tallying 35 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Tim Duncan once again led the Spurs with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Tony Parker also had a solid game offensively for San Antonio, adding 21 points and seven assists. Despite this, San Antonio had no answer for the playmaking abilities of James and will head to Miami with the series tied at 1-1.

The Spurs got off to a hot start and took an early 30-22 lead in the second quarter. At that point in the game, San Antonio was simply out-executing the Heat and appeared to be in control of the game. But as last year's series indicated, things can change very quickly when these two teams play each other. Miami quickly rattled off a 15-3 run to retake the lead.

Eventually, both teams got comfortable and really started to settle in. The first half was primarily a defensive affair and Miami and San Antonio went to the locker room at halftime with the score tied, 43-43.

As soon as the second half started, the offenses started to get going. San Antonio's ball movement was exquisite as usual, but James started to do things that only James can do. When Kawhi Leonard found himself in foul trouble, Gregg Popovich was forced to use Boris Diaw to guard James. Although Diaw has done a solid job defending him in the paint in previous meetings, James decided to use his perimeter game to punish the Spurs for their defensive mismatch. James poured jump shots from all over the court and temporarily gave Miami the lead.

Despite the fact that Leonard, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green were all battling foul trouble in this game, it was the Spurs who found themselves in the bonus early in the fourth quarter. They held a 93-92 lead with just under two minutes remaining, but James did everything he could to put Miami back in the driver's seat. He drove to the basket and kicked it out to a wide-open Chris Bosh, who drilled the three-pointer to give the Heat a 95-93 lead. That play proved to be the final turning point in this game, as the Spurs were never able to come back after that.

Bosh had a solid game, scoring 18 points and connecting on that critical three-pointer down the stretch. Miami also received a surprising contribution from Rashard Lewis, who knocked down three three-pointers and finished with 14 points in 26 minutes.

Neither Green nor Leonard were able to give the Spurs much help. Both players racked up early fouls and had to spend much more time on the bench than Popovich would have liked.

San Antonio will certainly need to get more help from those two players if they want to win Game 3 in Miami on Tuesday night.


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