Yes, the Spurs did not make it easy on themselves. Green actually fouled Allen on a three-point attempt instead of getting in his grill with 1:28 left.
Those three throws cut it to 88-86. But the Spurs kept their cool, calmly working the ball around for on the next possession.
The arena shook and everyone stood when Duncan received the ball inside and drove hard to the rim.
He was met by Chris Bosh, who fouled him, and a trio of others. The 37-year-old coolly stepped to the line made both.
Parker, Duncan and Ginobili combined for 54 points, outplaying their younger and more celebrated counterparts, who combined for 48, at key stretches.
It’s not often when the game outdoes the hyperbole. But then, it’s not often when a team coming off nearly two weeks of not playing finds its rhythm and its range on the road in the NBA Finals.
Duncan was relentless after picking up two first-quarter fouls. His tip with less than six minutes left gave the Spurs an83-79 lead.
For a while, this clearly looked like Miami’s night. In fact, it was almost Wade’s game.
He scored 17 points, raining down jump shots as if it was the 2006 finals and he had found a special zone. But he went scoreless in the fourth quarter. And it wasn’t enough to disrupt San Antonio. The Spurs took Game 1 because they never got rattled.
Miami’s defense forced just four turnovers. They moved the ball like a piece of hot coal, distributing to Danny Green for four three-pointers, waiting for Ginobili to cut to the rim.
Parker was the maestro and Duncan was the hammer.
Calm and cool won over chaos.
It’s a long series, of course, and many good, veteran teams have snuck away with Game 1 of the NBA Finals only to go down to the best team in basketball eventually — see the Jazz of Stockton and Malone in 1998.
But something about the way these Spurs refused to panic felt like a bad omen for LeBron and the defending champions on Thursday in their home arena.
No team in American sports is supposed to win or else like the Heat. That pressure seemed front and center on the first night of the Finals.
For previous columns by Mike Wise, visit washingtonpost.com/wise.