Miami's LeBron James. Photo: Reuters
The NBA champion Miami Heat, boosted by LeBron James' 35 points, defeated the San Antonio Spurs 98-96 in the NBA Finals on Sunday to level the best-of-seven series at one game each.
The Heat were trailling 93-92 with 2:25 remaining then scored the next six points to take a 98-93 lead before a three-pointer by the Spurs' Manu Ginobili at the final buzzer ended the scoring.
Showing no effects from the leg cramps that forced him to miss most of the fourth quarter of Game One, James hit 14 of 22 shots, including all three from beyond the arc, and had a team-leading 10 rebounds.
James worked inside in the first half but then scored from the perimeter in the second.
"Just play," he said. "I just try to put teammates and myself into position to succeed and I live with the results after that."
Tony Parker led San Antonio with 21 points, followed by Ginobili's 19 and Tim Duncan's 18.
"LeBron with the ball did a great job at his end and we had to be really pretty perfect at the other end and we (weren't)," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
"We didn't take advantage of things, we made bad decisions."
San Antonio won the first game 110-95 and the series now moves to Miami for the next two games, with Game Three set for Tuesday.
Duncan had all 11 of his first-half points in the opening period, which saw the Spurs race to a 26-19 lead. San Antonio extended the lead to 30-19 before Miami fought back and tied the score at 43-43 at halftime.
James hit just one of his first four shots, while committing three turnovers in the first 10 minutes.
By halftime though, the four-time NBA MVP had 13 points and seven rebounds.
James scored 12 points of a 13-2 third-quarter Miami run, turning a six-point deficit into a 69-64 lead before the Spurs regrouped and took a 78-77 lead heading into the final period.
The electrical outage that caused the air conditioning to quit at the AT&T Center on Thursday was repaired and there were no heat issues on Sunday.