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2014 NBA Finals: Heat beat Spurs 98-96 to tie the series at 1-1

Miami Heat even up the series to 1-1 with the Spurs as they head back to the American Airlines arena for pivotal game 3.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat were successful in evening the series at 1-1 by defeating the Spurs in game 2, 98-96.  James responded from his game 1 cramps like a boss, and proved to the NBA universe that nothing can stop him. James finished with 35 points, and 10 rebounds including a dominant stretch in the 3rd where he hit nearly everything he tossed at the rim. Chris bosh added 18 points including a 3-pointer to give the Heat their final lead that they would not relinquish. Wade and Lewis combined for 28 points.

Tim Duncan finished with a double-double by scoring 18 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, which makes it his 157th playoff double-double, and to tie Magic Johnson for most all-time. Parker added 21 points, and 7 assists. However, it was not enough to overcome the foul trouble of Kawhi Leonard, who fouled out with only 9 points and 2 rebounds.

In the 1st quarter, James only had two points, while the Spurs were moving the ball with a high amount of accuracy, assisting on nine of its first 10 buckets to step out into a 26-19 lead. Duncan was marvelous in the first quarter, ending with 11 points, whereas James, Wade, and Bosh combined for 9 only.

As the second quarter began, the Spurs took the lead by 11 points and looked ready to blow out the Heat, but it did not last as the Heat maestro, scored or assisted on 11 points during a 15-3 run, that shifted the Heat back into the game. After that point, the game started being back and forth throughout the quarter and the teams landed at halftime knotted at 43-43. James finished the half with 13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.

In the 3rd quarter James really started cooking, knocking down 6 of his 7 shots (all contested jump shots), and attacked the Spurs by himself in 51 seconds with a 8-0 run. Despite LeBron's great 3rd however, the Spurs matched him nearly shot for shot and actually finished the quarter with a 1 point lead.

The 4th quarter featured both teams answering each other. Boris Diaw knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game with 4:39 minutes left, and Parker hit a huge one as well with 2:26 minutes to go. However, Parker's shot was the last meaningful shot that the Spurs would make the rest of the game. On the other end, Bosh hit his huge 3-pointer to give the Heat a 1 point lead when James found him in the corner with 1:17 to go.  Miami sealed the game with a great offensive set that ended with Bosh feeding Wade for an open layup to put the Heat up by 5 with 9 seconds to go.

What was, overall, the main reason why the Heat won?

Lebron James.  He carried his team all the way to the end. He got his teammates ready and set them up for any pass they needed. More importantly, he gave his team a defensive focus they were missing at the end of game 1.  Without James, the Heat have no chance to stop the Spurs. With James, they are a team that has a chance to win any game.

What does this game mean to the Heat and Spurs going forward?

This game means a lot to the Heat, as they finally tied the series. Game 3 and game 4 will take place in Miami. Therefore, if the Heat can take advantage of their home court, and win both games, then this will put them in a 3-1 lead in the series and the first chance to close it out in game 5.