x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

NBA finals: Veterans for San Antonio Spurs may have taken a nap too soon

NBA Finals shift to San Antonio and it appears the Spurs were pretty content with a split in Miami, writes Steve Dilbeck.

San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker, left, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili combined for only 27 points in a Game 2 loss to Miami Heat. Joe Skipper / Reuters
San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker, left, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili combined for only 27 points in a Game 2 loss to Miami Heat. Joe Skipper / Reuters

Maybe they thought their work was done.

The San Antonio Spurs opened the NBA finals with a victory in Miami, stealing the home-court advantage. The cagey old veterans – Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili – had stunned the defending champions in Game 1.

In Game 2 on Sunday, they just looked old. Not even a little cagey. Certainly not competitive. The trio scored 27 points in aggregate. They had nine turnovers against seven assists and made only 10 of 33 shots.

"No matter how you slice it, it's 10-for-33," an irate Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Missing shots and not shooting well and turning it over is a bad combination."

Beyond looking old, San Antonio's big three did not seem interested. The Spurs were carried for three quarters by the youngsters Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, who played like they cared. Clearly, they did not take their cue from their veteran leaders, who perhaps figured gaining a split in two games in Florida was enough.

As flat as their key players seemed, the Spurs had a one-point lead in the third quarter when the Heat appeared to realize they were playing against disinterested opponents. In short order, the Spurs were down by 27.

They go back to San Antonio for Game 3 with the series tied 1-1, which must have been their plan. But now, LeBron James & Co have awakened, finding their rhythm and fresh confidence.

The Spurs better hope all they lost was Game 2.

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