SAN ANTONIO — NBA Finals
SAN ANTONIO 2, MIAMI 2
(Best-of-7; x-if necessary)
Game 1: San Antonio 92, Miami 88
Game 2: Miami 103, San Antonio 84
Game 3: San Antonio 113, Miami 77
Thursday: Miami 109, San Antonio 93
Sunday: at San Antonio, 8 p.m.
Tuesday: at Miami, 9 p.m.
x-June 20: at Miami, 9 p.m.
LeBron James scored 33 points while playing with the aggression and ferocity that everyone expects of the four-time MVP, leading the Miami Heat to a 109-93 victory against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night that evened the NBA Finals at two games apiece.
James also had 11 rebounds and four assists and finally got much-needed help from his struggling All-Star teammates. Dwyane Wade scored 32 points, Chris Bosh had 20 points and 13 rebounds and the defending champions made sure the series will head back to South Beach.
Tony Parker had 15 points and nine assists while playing through a sore right hamstring for the Spurs, who were trying to move one step closer to their fifth championship.
Game 5 in the best-of-seven series is Sunday night in San Antonio.
Ray Allen scored 14 points for the Heat. Miami had 50 points in the paint after managing 32 in a 36-point loss in Game 3.
Tim Duncan scored 20 points, and Kawhi Leonard added 12 points and seven rebounds for the Spurs, who turned the ball over 19 times. After setting a finals record with 16 3-pointers in Game 3, San Antonio was 8 for 16.
James was an abysmal 7 for 21 for 15 points in Game 3, and he promised to be better in Game 4. He delivered on that the only way he knows how, hitting 15 of 25 shots and putting the team on his shoulders to set the tone early.
Every time James snatched a Spurs miss off the glass he thundered up the court, attacking the back-pedaling defense for easy layups that haven’t been there for him this series.
He made six of his first seven shots, controlling the tempo and responding when the Spurs threatened to run away with the game in the first six minutes.
Pistons introduce Cheeks
Nearly two months after Lawrence Frank was fired, the Detroit Pistons introduced their new coach — Maurice Cheeks.
Cheeks becomes the franchise’s fourth coach in six seasons — following Frank, John Kuester and Michael Curry. He is the ninth since the 1999-2000 season.
He inherits a team with solid young players in Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. But the Pistons went 54-94 in two seasons under Frank and attendance dropped.
This is the third head coaching stop for Cheeks. He had a 284-286 record with Portland and Philadelphia.