When it comes to the NBA playoffs, conventional wisdom says that for teams forced to open a series on the road, getting a split on an opponent's home floor is a great accomplishment.
Maybe that's how San Antonio players felt after a hard-fought, close win in Game 1. But after the Heat countered with a dominant showing in a 103-84 win over the Spurs on Sunday, it was tough to find a Spurs player happy to head home with a win in hand.
They had the opportunity head to San Antonio with a commanding 2-0 series lead and instead, watched Miami use an all-around team effort to take the momentum and tie the series at a game apiece
"If you would have asked me before heading to Miami, I would say 'Okay, I'll take it.' Winning one and losing the other by 20, not a big deal," said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili. "But once you win the first one, you forget about that. Odds are over and you face a new game as if it's a Game 7 and you want to win it too…If you look at the result, being 1-1, it's not bad. But you don't want to play like this in an NBA Finals. You don't want to give them that much confidence, and you feeling bad about yourself."
As well as San Antonio played in its 92-88 Game 1 victory on Thursday, with just four turnovers, things got ugly late Sunday.
They allowed the Heat to go on a 14-3 run late in the third quarter, sending the defending champions into the fourth with a 75-65 lead that kept growing.
"We got outside of ourselves. We didn't stick to the game plan offensively. The biggest key against them is not to turn the ball over, and obviously, last game, we did a good job of that," said Green, who finished with 17 points. "As a group, we didn't execute the way we wanted to offensively. Obviously, we'll remember this and use it as a learning lesson to move forward, but Game 3 is a new game and hopefully we can come out like a new team."
Despite the series shift to San Antonio, NBA Finals history isn't on the Spurs' side.
Since the Finals went to a 2-3-2 format in 1985, there have been 12 Finals that started 1-1. The home team's record in Game 3 is a 3-9 after that. And the winner of those Game 3's has won 11 of the 12 series.
"It's going to be a quiet plane," Spurs guard Gary Neal said of the flight home. "The object is not to win one game. It's to win four. That's how we look at it."
Splitter laughs off block
Sunday night, Splitter joked about the moment.
"I didn't think it was going to be on the news," he laughed. "I'm kidding. I tried to do a good play, and he did an even better [play.]"