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Spurs rally to stun Heat in Game 1 of NBA Finals

By Brian Mahoney

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, June 6 2013 11:37 p.m. MDT

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) dribbles the ball as Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) defends during the second half of Game 1 of the NBA Finals basketball game, Thursday, June 6, 2013 in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Lynne Sladky, AP

MIAMI — Six years later, the San Antonio Spurs still have that winning NBA Finals formula of good defense and a little luck on offense.

Tim Duncan overcame a slow start to finish with 20 points and 14 rebounds, Tony Parker banked in a desperation jumper on a broken play with 5.2 seconds left and the Spurs withstood LeBron James' triple-double to beat the Miami Heat 92-88 on Thursday night in a thrilling Game 1.

Parker ended up with 21 points after referees reviewed his shot to make sure it just beat the shot clock, giving San Antonio a four-point edge in the game that was close the whole way.

"We got a little bit lucky in Game 1," Parker said. "Sometimes that's what it takes to win games."

It took more than that. San Antonio turned up its defense in the fourth quarter, limiting Miami to seven points in the first 8½ minutes, returning to the finals just the way it left — with a victory over James.

James had 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists in his second straight NBA Finals triple-double, but he shot only 7 of 16 against some good defense by Kawhi Leonard, and Miami's offense stalled in the fourth quarter.

"The Spurs are the Spurs," James said. "They're going to put you in positions where you feel uncomfortable offensively and defensively, and every time you make a mistake, they're going to capitalize on it."

Playing for the championship for the first time since sweeping James' Cleveland Cavaliers in 2007 for their fourth title, the Spurs improved to 5-for-5 in Game 1s, hanging around for three quarters and then blowing by the defending champions midway through the fourth.

"We were just trying to hang," Parker said. "In the third quarter, the same thing. In the fourth quarter we finally made some stops and made a couple of big shots."

Manu Ginobili, the third member of San Antonio's Big Three that has combined for 99 postseason victories together, finished with 13 points, and Danny Green had 12.

"It doesn't matter how we're categorized — old, veterans, whatever you call us, we're in the mix," Duncan said.

Game 2 is Sunday night.

James became a champion on this floor last year in Game 5 against Oklahoma City, but he hasn't forgotten his first taste of the finals.

The Spurs overwhelmed his Cavaliers and James spoke Wednesday like someone who had payback in mind. He was 22 then, a fourth-year player headed for greatness but with holes in his game that San Antonio exploited.

Revenge won't come easily — if it comes at all.

Dwyane Wade scored 17 points for the Heat but was shut out in the fourth quarter. Chris Bosh had only two of his 13 in the final period.

James shot an airball on a 3-pointer on his first shot attempt, then was soon back to the step-in-front- of-him-at-your-own-risk force that has made him the game's best player.

But San Antonio handled that and everything else Miami did, even while only shooting 42 percent from the field.

Forced to seven grueling games by the rugged Indiana Pacers in the East finals, the Heat clearly enjoyed the more wide-open flow of this game, making 18 of their first 30 shots. But the Spurs' defense simply got better as the game went along, forcing Miami into five turnovers in the final quarter.

"I thought we were a little fatigued honestly in the fourth quarter," Wade said. "Looking around, we looked like a team that came off a seven-game series."

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