June 11, 2007
Marty Burns' Finals Fast Breaks
Game 2: Spurs 103, Cavs 92
First Impression
Bill Frakes/SI
First the Spurs dominated. Then they survived. Now they're headed to Cleveland with a 2-0 series lead in the NBA Finals. Led once again by their Big Three -- and some more tough defense on LeBron James -- San Antonio racked up a huge lead then held off a furious Cavs rally for a 103-92 victory Sunday night in Game 2. "We're not doing anything special," said guard Tony Parker, who scored 30 points to once again lead the way for San Antonio. "I just think we're doing a better job to take turns [offensively], and we're moving the ball great and we're just taking great shots." For the second straight game, the Spurs also did a number on James defensively. Slowed by early foul trouble and the usual Velcro defense of San Antonio's Bruce Bowen, the Cavs' phenom struggled much of the night before finally getting untracked in the fourth quarter. James finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 38 minutes, but made just 9-of-21 shots and committed six turnovers. "I got two quick fouls and it definitely didn't work in our favor," James said. While James struggled, the Spurs soared. Parker once again was unstoppable. Tim Duncan drove right around Zydrunas Ilgauskas and the other Cavs big men. Manu Ginobili once again looked like a kid playing in his backyard. At one point early in the game Parker drove in only to get his layup attempt blocked by Drew Gooden. Undaunted, the little Frenchman scooped up the loose ball and laid it in while drawing a foul. As the crowd roared in delight, the normally placid Duncan ran over and slapped Parker on the chest and head. Moments later Parker dug out a rebound at the defensive end and blasted off downcourt, racing past Cavs defenders for a layup and a 16-6 Spurs lead. Cavs coach Mike Brown quickly leapt off the bench and called a timeout. Cleveland did show some pride in the fourth quarter, rallying from 27 down to cut the Spurs lead to eight in the final minutes. But Parker hit two big shots, one on another drive inside the lane, and Ginobili came up with a four-point play after getting fouled by rookie Daniel Gibson, to rescue the Spurs. The only question was did San Antonio let the Cavs up off the mat? "We're definitely still confident," James said. "We have to find a way to bring the intensity we did in the fourth quarter tonight and carry it on to Game 3."
Making The Grade
San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker, G
36 min., 30 points (13-20 FG, 1-1 3PT, 3-4 FT), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Once again led the way, getting into paint with ease and hitting big shots. If he keeps it up, Duncan's run of Finals MVPs might be in jeopardy.
Michael Finley, G
15 min., 2 points (1-4 FG, 0-3 3PT, 0-0 FT), 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal
Followed lackluster Game 1 with another quiet night in limited minutes. But, hey, he's getting closer to that long-sought ring.
Bruce Bowen, F
41 min., 3 points (1-9 FG, 1-6 3PT, 0-0 FT), 5 rebounds, 1 steal
Proud Papa did new son proud, delivering defense on LeBron for second straight game. Only ugly shooting night kept him from better grade.
Tim Duncan, F
36 min., 23 points (9-16 FG, 0-0 3PT, 5-7 FT), 9 rebounds, 8 assists
Scored at will over Cavs defenders, hit the boards and protected the rim on defense. Oh yeah, he also dished out a team-high eight assists.
Fabricio Oberto, C
20 min., 4 points (2-3 FG, 0-0 3PT, 0-2 FT), 4 rebounds
Argentine big man did his usual solid job in limited minutes. Helped shadow James and slithered inside twice for layups.
The Bench
92 min., 41 points, 23 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 blocks
Ginobili wreaked his usual havoc (25 points, six rebounds, three steals, two assists) and Robert Horry (five points, nine rebounds, five blocks in 26 minutes) came up with another one for his scrap book. Even Francisco Elson (3-of-3 shooting) and Jacque Vaughn(defense) contributed.
Gregg Popovich, Coach
Once again had his team ready to play, and decision to play bench early (10 guys in the first quarter saw action) paid huge dividends. But he took blame for late collapse, so we'll take his word for it.
Cleveland Cavaliers
Larry Hughes, G
20 min., 0 points (0-5 FG, 0-1 3PT, 0-0 FT), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Deserves credit for playing on sore foot, but once more didn't get much done on court. Maybe he should have taken that pain-killer shot.
Sasha Pavlovic, G
22 min., 10 points (4-11 FG, 2-3 3PT, 1-2 FT), 4 rebounds, 1 steal
Scored in double figures for second straight game, indicating he might be out of slump. Had nice steal and dunk in fourth-quarter rally.
LeBron James, F
38 min., 25 points (9-21 FG, 0-2 3PT, 7-11 FT), 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal
Played better than in Game 1, at least in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't the bounce back game he wanted. Early foul trouble might have hurt him.
Drew Gooden, F
24 min., 13 points (6-12 FG, 0-1 3PT, 1-1 FT), 6 rebounds, 1 block
Once again shot the ball efficiently and chipped in on backboards. But had some mental lapses on defense and didn't do enough to stop Duncan.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, C
22 min., 9 points (3-8 FG, 0-0 3PT, 3-3 FT), 4 rebounds, 1 block
For the second straight game, the 7-foot-3 giant shot the ball poorly and couldn't stop Duncan. At times looked almost as if he has lost confidence.
The Bench
109 min., 35 points, 19 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal
Where would they be without Daniel Gibson (15 points on 6-of-12 shooting)? The rookie point made the most of his increased playing time, helping the Cavs rally in the fourth. Anderson Varejao (eight points, 10 rebounds) and Damon Jones (six points, three rebounds) also chipped in, but it wasn't enough.
Mike Brown, Coach
Hard to argue with his decision to keep 'Bron on the bench in early foul trouble, and did keep his team calm despite the lopsided first half. But whatever adjustments he made from Game 1 didn't work.
Courtside Confidential
Unlike in Game 1, there was no sea of white at the AT&T Center as the Spurs didn't hand out T-shirts to fans. ... In the fourth quarter Horry crashed into Popovich while trying to retrieve a loose ball along the sidelines, spilling the coach onto his side. "I don't know what Rob was thinking," Duncan said after the game. "He was thinking he was Defensive Player of the Year." ... Before the game Ginobili spent a few minutes doing a group interview with Spanish-language media. He often does interviews as well in Italian, since he was a former two-time MVP of the Italian League. ... Inside Duncan's locker stall, right next to a copy of the Cavs scouting report, was a copy of the NBA Officials Media Guide. No word on whether it was autographed by Joey Crawford. ... Terrell Owens was spotted beside the Cavs team bus after the game chatting with players. The NFL star is a friend of Cleveland guard Jones. ... Eva Longoria, sporting a fashionable black hat, was overheard before the game complaining about a sore throat as she walked through an arena tunnel. "I think Tony got me sick," she said to her bodyguard. Her fiancée certainly left the Cavs feeling ill.
Quote Of The Night
"It was irresponsible from us. We've really got to learn from that and we've got to finish the game. ... We can't allow ourselves to do that in Cleveland because they're going to kill us."
- Manu Ginobili on his team letting the Cavs trim a 29-point second-half lead to eight in the final minutes.
Looking Ahead
The Cavs face some tall odds now in addition to the 7-foot Duncan. Since the NBA Finals went to the present 2-3-2 format in 1984, only one team has ever come back from an 0-2 deficit to win the series -- last year when the Heat beat the Mavs. Cleveland has reason to believe it can follow Miami?s script. The Cavs lost the first two games in Detroit in the last round, only to sweep the next four games. Plus, the Cavs figure to get a huge boost from the home crowd when the series shifts to Quicken Loans Arena for Tuesday night?s Game 3 (9 p.m. EST/ABC). Now they just have to find a way to slow Parker and Duncan.

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