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NBA Finals -- Even with Game 1 loss, Heat stay loose


PhilBoxing.com




MIAMI -- If the defending champions Miami Heat are worried about losing Game 1 of these NBA Finals, they sure are not showing it. At least not yesterday anyway.

During the team practice which was made accessible yesterday afternoon to all credentialed media covering this mammoth event, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and a bevy of teammates appeared unmindful of the 1-0 series deficit that have fallen on their Nike-covered feet. They were laughing, joking around and having a ball while shooting the Spalding from midcourt.

Game 2 of the NBA Finals resumes Sunday night at the American Airlines Arena, and while the team mood was light, you can bet that when the real action continues, the Heat will be serious as a math exam.

To avoid another debacle in Game 2, the Heat need to find a way to stop Tony Parker, the whirling dervish that steered the Spurs offense with 20 points and six assists while making the game-winning shot with 5.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Although the Heat show better from the field ---- 34 of 78 against San Antonio's 35 of 84 -- the Spurs ran a more efficient offense that was tainted only by four turnovers while Miami had eight.

LeBron James served up another triple-double -- 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists -- but none of his celebrated teammates was especially spectacular. Chris Bosh missed 10 of 16 shots for 13 points while Dwyane Wade, who had 17, virtually vanished in the fourth quarter where the Heat offense was held to 16 points by the punishing Spurs defense.

Not only does LeBron need help, the Heat also need to slow down is Tim Duncan, the ageless wonder who kit up for 20 points and 14 rebounds. Alongside Tiago Splitter, the Spurs' length is bothering Miami.

It might be too early to call Game 2 as a do-or-die for the Heat, but it's close. Games 3, 4 and 5 will shift to the AT@T Center in San Antonio next week and suffice it to say, James and friends can ill-afford to go there trailing 2-0. (RIC)

Photo: James, Wade and other members of the Heat are in light mood during practice.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Rodene Ivan B. Cortes.


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