MIAMI — The
They came to
It would be completely understandable if the Spurs continued to struggle here for the foreseeable future, so deep were the wounds left by what happened in Games 6 and 7 of the
The Spurs lost a five-point lead in the final 28.2 seconds of Game 6 amid a tragicomedy of errors and couldn't recover two days later in Game 7, forward
That left the Spurs to dust the confetti off their shoulders while the Heat hoisted the Larry O'Brien Trophy for a second consecutive year.
The Spurs are back for Game 3 of the Finals on Tuesday, intent on forgetting as much as they can about the last time they were here on this stage.
"For me personally, I'm definitely not going to think about that the next two games," San Antonio guard
The Heat and Spurs are in a similar spot to where they were last year, the series tied after two games. The difference is that the next two games will be in Miami as part of the new 2-2-1-1-1 series format instead of in San Antonio for three games as part of the old 2-3-2 alignment that ended last year.
It seemed pretty clear what fixes the Spurs needed to make after another unhappy ending doomed them in Game 2. They led by a point after Parker made a three-pointer with 2:26 remaining before their final four possessions went like this: missed
San Antonio's demise was not solely a one-man operation, though.
The Spurs missed eight of 20 free throws in the game, including four in a row in the fourth quarter. They continued to receive virtually nothing from forward
"It's a 48-minute game and we didn't move it enough of those minutes, basically," San Antonio Coach
"That puts a lot of pressure on everything else. It means we're going to have to be perfect on defense, we can't miss four free throws in a row, those sorts of things. You move it or you die."
The Spurs scored one small victory Monday when Miami's
Players were not made available for interviews as part of a mandated travel day, probably a good thing for the Spurs who wanted no further reminders of what happened here a year ago.
"Definitely, it's going to be a great challenge for the team to play in an arena like that and having to win," Ginobili said. "We'll see how it goes."