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2014 NBA Conference Semifinals: Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs dominate again in Game 2

Yash Matange
2.24K   //    09 May 2014, 18:31 IST

Last year’s finalists Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs seem to be peaking at the right time, with both teams having registered convincing wins in the two games played in their respective semifinal series so far.

With Spurs General Manager R.C Buford being named Executive of the Year for this season, here’s all you need to know about two games on Thursday where home court was taken full advantage of:

(2) Miami Heat vs (6) Brooklyn Nets (Miami won 94-82, lead series 2-0)

LeBron James led another balanced effort from the Miami Heat in Game 2.

Miami Heat are certainly living up to their fame as the two-time defending champions, being the only team to be unbeaten this post-season. In the Playoffs of last year, after a first round sweep the Heat faced the Bulls after a few days of rest but were stunned, caught off guard and ultimately beaten by a team missing their star player in Derrick Rose. But Miami did not commit the same mistake this time around as they lead their semi final series 2-0 against the Nets after a first round sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats.

For the second straight game they were by LeBron James who had 22 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals on the night. But what was even more convincing was that for the second straight game the Heat also showed the world they are made of more than just the Big 3. Yes, they were the top 3 in points, but the bench had a valuable 26-point contribution led by Ray Allen with 13, and the starting point guard was the fifth player in double figures for the Heat with 11 points and 5 assists.

Another major positive for the defending champions going forward will be Dwyane Wade’s improved play in the Playoffs so far. With no back-to-back games in the post-season, he has ample time to let his knees rest after 35 or so minutes of playing time before the next game a day later. Despite a rough shooting night against Brooklyn, Wade had one of his best games in terms of overall contribution in recent times as he recorded 14 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and a block.

The Nets looked much better this game, taking advantage of Heat’s shooting struggles early on, and they led at half-time by a point. But that was as good as it got for them; the Heat slowly but steadily took control and dominated the second half to win their eighth straight Playoff game.

After Kevin Garnet in Game 1 it was Deron Williams’ turn to have a scoreless night in Game 2, although he did have 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Mirza Teletovic led the Nets in points, scoring 20 points, followed by 10 from Marcus Thorton off the bench. Starting shooting guard Shaun Livingston had 15 while both Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson had 13.

Here’s a look at James’ performance in Game 2:

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs (5) Portland Trailblazers (San Antonio won 114-97, lead series 2-0)

Manu Ginobili of San Antonio Spurs

Manu Ginobili led a spirited bench performance in the second straight game for the San Antonio Spurs.

For the second straight game the Spurs bench scored 50 points. They came up big offensively, led by Manu Ginobili with 16 and assisting a 26-3 run for the team to start the second quarter, which made this game another blowout. Boris Diaw and Marco Belineli were the other contributors off the bench with 12 and 13 respectively.

The Blazers seemed to be no match for the Spurs’ efficient two-way style of play. LaMarcus Aldridge did record a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, but it came at the expense of an inefficient shooting night of 6 of 23, including two open dunk misses. Damian Lillard scored 19 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and dished out 5 dimes but he too struggled to knock down shots from the field, shooting only 1 of 6 from three-point land. Rebounds were the only category where the Blazers had the edge, and that too was a slim one of 3.

The Blazers were completely outplayed once again by the Spurs as they had more turnovers, lesser shooting percentage both from the field and the beyond the arc, lesser points in the paint.

Tiago Splitter (10 points and 10 rebounds) and Tony Parker (16 points and 10 assists) had double-doubles but Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs in scoring with 20 points on a night when the team had as many as seven players recording double-digit points for the game.

“The whole team was playing great. The ball movement was great. Kawhi and Marco were making shots. We did our job. We won our first two games at home.” 
Tony Parker

With each Playoff game the Spurs’ style of play seems to be replicating last season’s which almost won them an NBA championship. If the Blazers intend to win this series they must knock down their shots at high efficiency and be a defensive team, which is not one of their strengths. I expect this series to end in 4 or 5 games, although the Blazers have the resources to push it till 6.

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