|07 June 2013|
EUROPEANS IN THE NBA
|Tony Parker finished off Miami with a buzzer-beating shot to give San Antonio a 1-0 series lead|
Tony Parker scored 10 of his game-high 21 points, including the most crucial basket in the encounter, in the final quarter of Game 1 of the NBA finals to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 92-88 win over Miami Heat on the road.
On San Antonio's last possession, whatever play Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had called quickly got forgotten, as the reigning champions threw everything they had on them in an immense defensive effort.
The Spurs however still had Parker taking care of the ball.
The French point guard spun around trying to get an open look, almost fell down on two occasions, but never lost control of the ball.
With 5.2 seconds left to the final buzzer he shook off Lebron James, who was guarding him all this time, just enough to fire off a shot a nano-second before the 24-second buzzer sounded.
Not without a considerable dose of suspense, it dropped in off the glass and gave the Spurs a golden four-point cushion.
It was the final blow to Miami, who knew there was little left to do on the last possession in the game and misfired, losing the home-court advantage to the western conference champions for the rest of the best-of-seven series.
"Need to get a shot up," Parker said on TV in his post-game flash interview when asked what was going through his mind during that balancing act that ended with the winning basket.
"I was going down and I was just trying to stay composed and get a shot up."
The modest French superstar also explained how the Spurs managed to give up just 16 points to their hosts to in the final quarter.
"Obviously Lebron is unbelievable, [Dwayne] Wade also played great, we just tried to contain them, tried to pack the paint and make sure they just take jump-shots."
Parker added six assists to go with his 21 points, while French national team captain Boris Diaw had two points, one rebound and one assist for the Spurs.
Veteran power forward Tim Duncan rolled back the years once again in this post-season and finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds for the winners.
Game 2 of the NBA finals is on Sunday night, also in Miami.