Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, & San Antonio Spurs Win Game One, LeBron James & Cleveland Cavaliers Struggle
Game one of the NBA Finals is in the books … The Spurs brought it, the Cavaliers didn’t … San Antonio, behind their Big Three, won 85-76, limiting LeBron James to 14 points on 4-for-16 shooting … Do the Cavs have a chance? … And are the Spurs a dynasty? … Get your game one recap, reaction, and analysis here …
What Happened: ’ tossed up a brick. In fact, he tossed up several bricks in game one of the NBA Finals.
’s tough defense forced James into a 4-for-16 shooting night, helping the Spurs beat the 85-76 on Thursday night at the AT&T Center.
San Antonio’s Big Three led the way. r paced the Spurs with 27 points and seven assists.
Cleveland had no answer for Parker’s ability to get in the lane. He also had the highlight of the night, threading a perfect transition bounce pass to , who caught the ball and threw down a powerful two-handed jam.
was outstanding, dominating both ends of the floor. The Big Fundamental registered 24 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks.
However, Duncan’s leadership skills won’t appear on any stat sheet. The future Hall of Famer encouraged teammates and used his presence to control the game’s tempo.
scored 16 points and collected eight rebounds for the Spurs.
San Antonio looked rusty in the first-half, but still led by five points heading into the break. The Spurs outscored the Cavaliers 24-14 in the third quarter and then cruised to an easy victory.
Cleveland has bigger issues than their shaky third quarter. James couldn’t get going in his NBA Finals debut. The King looked more like a feudal peasant, missing his first seven shots and turning the ball over six times.
He finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.
Give the Spurs credit. They threw several different defenses at James. Bruce Bowen played him straight up and also received help from San Antonio’s rotating posts. They also trapped James off of pick-and-roll plays.
Rookie continued his fine play, leading the Cavaliers with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor. had 14 points, while added 13 points and five rebounds.
Game two is scheduled for Sunday in San Antonio.
Reaction of San Antonio forward Tim Duncan on winning game one:
"It is going to be an incredible effort the entire series. I know he (James) will come out stronger in the next game. It felt like we played a month ago. It was just good to get out there and get some of that rust off, kind of get back in the flow of things. Our shooters didn’t shoot great, you could see that, but we played well all around the defensive end and we got it done."
Reaction of San Antonio forward Robert Horry on slowing James:
"LeBron is the head of the snake. And we need to cut that head off.”
Reaction of Cleveland forward LeBron James on the Spurs’ defense:
"If I went by one guy, another guy stepped up. For us to have a chance to win, I have to play better.”
My Take: NBA fans must put personal feelings aside and admit the truth: the Spurs are close to becoming a dynasty.
I know they aren’t the easiest bunch to like. Duncan only opens up to San Antonio’s media. It’s easy to resent Parker for his talent, money, and Eva Longoria. And Ginobili’s flopping is enough to anger professional soccer players.
And sometimes their games are a little like watching paint dry. And nobody, except Bob Vila, likes doing that.
Still, come clean hoop heads. Give The Alamo their props. Clear your throat and prepare to say it with me: “dynasty.”
Oh, not ready to concede victory to San Antonio?
Fair enough, the ink is still drying on game one’s box-score. Nothing has been settled yet and LeBron ‘Video Game’ James will surely bounce back.
But it’s not premature to hit the Spurs with the dynasty thing. After watching game one, they won’t lose a best of seven series. Not to Cleveland or anybody.
Accept it. Texas’ silver-and-black are on the verge of a fourth NBA Title, which would make them a great, great team.
It’s going to happen. Consider the overwhelming evidence from game one:
Exhibit A: The Big Three’s performance. Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili combined for 67 points in game one.
In fact, they were so good that San Antonio’s blending stars, Fabricio Oberto and Michael Finley, got the night off. Literally. Oberto and Finley combined for just two points on Thursday.
But it didn’t matter because Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili were on fire.
Exhibit B: The Spurs are the NBA’s best defensive team. They have great individual defenders: Bruce Bowen, Robert Horry, and Duncan.
And they also have great team defenders. This is a lethal combination-something James found out the hard way.
All night, the Cavs’ star was hit with traps, Bowen’s straight-up defense, and rotating posts. King James, who looked absolutely epic in the Eastern Conference finals, struggled and didn’t make a basket until the second-half.
Exhibit C: They have an underrated coach in Gregg Popovich. Think back to the second quarter when Cleveland pulled ahead. Coach Popovich called a timeout, refocused his players and San Antonio took back the lead.
Pop, as his players call him, is slept on because he coaches in Texas. Blame the Donald Trump theory of location, location, location.
There’s no disputing his numbers. Put Popovich’s resume in a larger market and he’s suddenly Pat Riley or Phil Jackson.
Add it all up and the Spurs seem pretty close to winning a fourth ring and becoming a dynasty. Right now, the Cavaliers are the only thing standing in their way. And after watching game one, they’re not enough.
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