SAN ANTONIO — This has been a very even NBA Finals, outside the final five minutes of Game 1.
Game two has played out that way — San Antonio raced out to an 11 point lead early in the second quarter behind Tim Duncan getting shots at the rim, but the Heat came back as LeBron James attacked the rim himself.
The result is a 43-43 tie at halftime of Game 2.
Tony Parker has 12 points to lead the Spurs. LeBron had 13 points, Chris Bosh 10 for the Heat.
Early on the Spurs were sharp with their interior passing, they seemed unbothered by the Heat pressure, and the ball kept finding Tim Duncan. He was throwing down dunks, and once again getting his shots in the paint.
LeBron James started 1-of-4 shooting with a couple turnovers and came out with more than two minutes left in the first (early for him). With him out the Spurs stretched out their lead (thanks to Heat turnovers, they had 10 in the first half) and it was 26-19 after one quarter.
When LeBron came back in he was aggressive and just attacked the rim — 9 of his 11 first half shots came inside 8 feet. The Spurs continue to play up on him, not going under picks but trying to pressure him.
The game got a bit physical and chippy — it started to really feel like a playoff series — and the referees did a poor job trying to control it. They gave Duncan a technical, and Manu Ginobili picked up his third foul on a flop by Dwyane Wade that should earn a fine.
Kobe Bryant reflected, told stories and showed his emotions.
For nearly 25 minutes, the Lakers star talked about his pending retirement. It was pretty cool.
DeAndre Jordan‘s free-throw problems – 38.7% this season, 41.5% for his career – are mental.
You can’t watch this trip to the line and convince me otherwise.
Nene hurt his calf. Drew Gooden is banged up. Martell Webster is out for the season.
Those are three players the Wizards expected to play power forward this season.
So, Washington – which has lost four straight – will bring in another big man: Ryan Hollins.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Wizards have a full roster of 15 players. They don’t qualify for a hardship exemption, which a team gets if four players have missed three straight games and will continue to be out. Only Webster and Alan Anderson definitely fit that bill. Gooden, who has missed five straight, might. But it’s unclear both how many of those absences were due to injury and when he’ll return.
So, Washington will have to waive someone to sign Hollins now. It’ll probably be Webster, whose $5,845,250 2016-17 salary is just $2.5 million guaranteed. If he’s out for the year and the Wizards plan to drop him by the summer to clear cap space, why not just do it now?
Hollins is more center than power forward and doesn’t appear to fit well with Marcin Gortat. But at this point, Washington just needs big bodies. Hollins – a nine-year veteran who plays decent interior defense, lacks offensive skill and rebounds poorly for his 7-foot frame – is at least that.
Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.