NBA Finals | Spurs reserves

San Antonio Spurs’ role players perform, but stars disappoint in Game 2

 

Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard played big, but Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili shot a combined 10 for 33.

bjackson@MiamiHerald.com

The Spurs’ supporting cast certainly did its part Sunday. There were five three-pointers and a perfect shooting night from Danny Green, 14 rebounds and stout defense from Kawhi Leonard. Heck, even Gary Neal outscored LeBron James in the first half (no joke).

But that wasn’t enough, not nearly enough, certainly not on a night the Spurs’ Big 3 played as poorly as it did, and not on a night the Spurs were so careless with the ball.

“We have no shot of winning a game against them if none of us play good,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said of himself, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.

Ahead 62-61 with 3:50 left in the third, the Spurs were buried under a Heat avalanche — a 33-5 run that turned a competitive game into a 27-point runaway early in the fourth.

“You need to shoot well and take care of the ball, and if you turn it over the way we did tonight and don’t shoot well, it’s a bad combination,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Miami did a hell of a job.”

After committing just four turnovers in Game 1, the Spurs turned it over 17 times, leading to 19 Heat points. And the Spurs shot just 41 percent — a robust 10 for 20 on threes, but just 22 for 58 on two-pointers.

“You don’t want to come out and perform like this,” Ginobili said. “In the second half, they just ran us over. Their pressure got us on our heels. Rotations were late. It was their whole team just killing us. Offensively, they did everything they wanted.

“Very poor second half. It’s disappointing. You’re in an NBA Finals. You don’t want to play like this. You don’t want to give them that much confidence.”

During that 33-5 Heat stampede, Ginobili was 0 for 2 with a turnover, Parker 1 for 3 with a turnover and Duncan 0 for 1 with a turnover.

That was quite appropriate, considering all three had subpar nights.

Duncan closed with nine points, missing 10 of 13 shots, though he did corral 11 rebounds. “I played awfully,” he said.

Parker had 13 points, shooting just 5 for 14 with as many turnovers (five) as assists (five).

“We tried not to let him get comfortable with one matchup,” said Mario Chalmers, who outscored Parker 19-13 and defended him for a good chunk of the night, with James and Norris Cole also sharing the defensive load.

“They played great defense tonight, were very aggressive on the pick-and-rolls and all our drives,” Parker said. “Turnovers were the biggest thing, and that starts with me.”

Meanwhile, Ginobili shot just 2 for 6, with three turnovers on a five-point night.

“Tony, Manu and Timmy were 10 for 33,” Popovich said. “I’m not going to put that on the bench.”

Surprisingly, it was Green who led the Spurs in scoring with 17, on 6-for-6 shooting. Green, who was 5 for 5 on threes, set a Finals record for most three-pointers made without a miss.

So who is Danny Green?

At North Carolina, he became the only ACC player in history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists, 150 three-pointers, 150 blocks and 150 steals.

Drafted 46th in 2009 by Cleveland, he was waived by the Cavs, then signed and cut twice by the Spurs before Popovich and North Carolina coach Roy Williams convinced him to ratchet up his intensity.

Green responded, finished ninth in Most Improved Player balloting last season and earning a three-year, $12 million contract last season. He took another step this season, shooting 44.7 percent from three-point range.

Green said his strong game “didn’t really matter. They were a lot more aggressive, rotated faster.”

For the second consecutive game, Leonard did excellent work early on James, who shot 1 for 4 in the first half when defended by Green after shooting 2 for 8 against Green in Game 1.

Leonard had another monster game on the boards, but shot just 4 for 12, and James eventually broke through.

“The supporting staff did very good,” Ginobili said. But “we struggled. Tim, Tony and me need to step up and play better.”

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