The Miami Heat won the second game of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, tying the series at one win each. The Heat’s victory was an ensemble performance, and the team did not rely heavily on its three most dominant players, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh:
Instead of another James virtuoso act with his teammates falling in line, the four-time most valuable player followed the lead of point guard Mario Chalmers and the boundless energy of Chris Andersen. James then set up three-point shooters Mike Miller and Ray Allen until he was ready to provide the finishing touches — a thunderous dunk and an emphatic block — in the fourth quarter. . . On an unusual night in which role players switched roles with superstars, the Heat had the decided edge as Chalmers scored a game-high 19 points and Allen chipped in with 13. Wade declared the game a “must-win” since no team had ever lost the first two Finals games at home and recovered to win the series. James had 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, but Wade and Bosh were both on the bench during a decisive, 25-2 second-half run that allowed Miami to head to San Antonio for Tuesday’s Game 3 with its pride and confidence intact.
Columnist Mike Wise writes that the series is a competition between the teams’ benches, not their best players:
The Spurs’ role players are all younger than most of the Heat’s role players. If they are decidedly better the next week and a half, San Antonio probably hoists the trophy after it’s over. That’s why Miami’s role players finally had to rise to the challenge in Game 2. If that was a harbinger of their play to come, it’s a good sign this series is going at least six games. “I think the supporting cast is really why both teams are here,” James said. “They feel like their supporting cast is better. We feel like our supporting cast is better. It’s who goes out and do it every night to help seal wins.”
One of those on Miami’s supporting cast who played well in the second game of the series was Mario Chalmers:
Chalmers scored a game-high 19 points but also helped harass [the Spurs’] Game 1 hero Tony Parker into a forgettable, five-field goal, five-turnover performance. “I think Rio more than anybody kept us aggressive, him getting into the paint, him getting those and-ones and making a couple of threes. It allowed me to sit back and wait for my time,” James said of Chalmers. “Rio, he has to play big for us in multiple facets. Defensively he’s guarding arguably the best point guard in the league. But I think he also has to make Tony work on the defensive end. He can’t be passive. He has to attack the paint. He has to shoot his shots when he has them.”
See statistics from the game here.