MIAMI – Tony Parker was stumped and gave up on an answer after a pause of about 15 seconds. There have been nearly 1,000 regular-season and postseason games to choose from in the 10 seasons that the San Antonio Spurs' Big Three have been together. Even so, Parker couldn't think of another game when he, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili played as poorly collectively on offense as they did Sunday night in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Parker, Duncan and Ginobili combined for 10-of-33 shooting from the field and made a combined eight free throws for 27 points during a 103-84 series-tying loss to the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena.
"It's been a long time. A long time," Parker said. "You know, that's basketball. It happens sometimes. I can't remember the last time all three of us were off. I cannot remember."
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There didn't appear to be reason for concern in the first half of Game 2 as the Spurs' trio combined for 21 points while the Heat held a reachable 50-45 lead. But in the second the Heat's pressure got much hotter and wore down San Antonio's star threesome as Parker made just one of four shots, Duncan missed five of six and Ginobili missed both his attempts. They combined for just four free-throw attempts in the second half.
The Spurs were crushed 53-39 in the second half. San Antonio was led in scoring overall by Danny Green's 17 points on a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, including a Finals record five 3s without a miss.
"Defense has something to do with it," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Just missing shots has something to do with it. No matter how you slice it, it was 10-for-33. Missing shots and not shooting well and turning it over are a bad combination."
The Spurs need a dramatic recovery from their core, starting on Tuesday when San Antonio hosts one of three games. While that advantage isn't lost on Duncan, he said, "If we play like we did tonight, that's not going to matter."
Here's what the Spurs can expect more of: the Heat keeping a body in front of Parker and Duncan as much as possible, something coach Erik Spoelstra said was key Sunday. Parker and Popovich noticed the defense on Parker was more aggressive than Sunday, when Parker led all scorers with 21 points in the Spurs' victory. Ginobili said the Heat also had better hands, were more active, forced turnovers and countered well with fast breaks."
Said Ginobili: "Of course, the feeling is disappointment. After having played great in Game 1, you don't want to come back and feel like this and perform like this."
The Spurs were done, trailing 91-67 after a bad pass from Parker with 7:50 left in the fourth quarter – his fifth of the Spurs' 17 turnovers – resulted in a hard, two-handed James dunk. Three seconds later Popovich called timeout. When play returned, Parker was taken out, joining Duncan and Ginobili on the bench. As Miami went on to even the series, they opted to not talk about their collective cold night.
"We're going to talk on the plane," Parker said, "and at [Monday's] film session."
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- San Antonio Spurs
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- Tim Duncan
- Miami Heat