As LeBron James struggled to find his shot in the first three quarters of Sunday’s game, the Heat needed help from those around him.
With Mario Chalmers leading the chase, Miami’s role players came to the rescue.
Although the Heat’s Big3 had a say in Sunday’s 103-84 win over San Antonio in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, players such as Chalmers, Mike Miller, Ray Allen and Chris Andersen were a big reason why the Heat head to Texas all tied up.
“That’s why they are a great team,” San Antonio’s Tony Parker said. “They are the defending champs and they have great role players who played great. We’re going to have to make some defensive adjustments. Give them credit; they played great basketball.”
Said James: “I knew those guys would come through for me. They made some big shots.”
After three quarters, the Heat led by 10 despite only getting eight points off 3-of-13 shooting from James and a combined 22 from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Chalmers made 5 of 10 shots from the field for a team-leading 17 points to that point. Andersen brought his usual energy and had seven; Miller and Allen combined for 14 by hitting 4of 5 from three-point range.
“I try to make the most of my opportunities,” said Chalmers, who has had big games for the Heat in the Finals before. Last year, Chalmers scored 25 in Miami’s Game4 win against Oklahoma City.
“You hear how hard it is to get to the Finals. I don’t want any look-backs.”
The Heat turned Sunday’s close game into a rout by going on a 33-5 run fueled in great part by Chalmers, Miller and Allen.
“This is a game of runs,” Parker said, “and they made one hell of one.”
With 3:17 left in the third, San Antonio took a one-point lead. The Heat closed on a 12-3 spurt with Chalmers scoring Miami’s first points of the run and its final points of the quarter. Allen and Miller also made three-pointers to close out the third.
Miami continued its dominance and outscored San Antonio 19-2 to open the fourth.
Of those 19 points, the Heat got: three from Miller and Allen and two from Chalmers and Andersen. James scored the remaining nine points as the run ended when he drained a three-pointer with 7:13 left to give Miami a 94-67 advantage.
“That’s when they are at their best,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “That’s when every team is at their best. When the perimeter is making shots, when the bench is playing well, when you have a lot of contributors, that helps you win games.”
Those three ended the night with 31 total points; Chalmers ended with a team-high 19. James finished with 17 points. At halftime, Andersen’s seven points were three more than James’ total. Andersen ended with nine.
“This is such a competitive series,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “One of the things we talked about was contributing in any way you can. Even if it’s small minutes or big minutes.
“This series is probably defined by the little things. LeBron couldn’t get into a rhythm early on and other guys stepped up.”
Chalmers also took stopping Parker as a personal mission after Parker’s heroics in Game 1. Parker was held to just 13 points Sunday.
“My main focus was to stop Tony Parker, that was the key to the game,” Chalmers said. “The offense, for me, we’ll take it as it comes.”