Parker’s dagger leaves everyone floored
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — The first pick-and-roll didn’t work for San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker. The second pick-and-roll didn’t work either. Finally, with the shot clock running down, Parker needed to make his move.
He did, and it was not a thing of beauty, until it was.
Miami Heat forward LeBron James recalled the play, even though he didn’t want to.
“Tony did everything wrong and did everything right on that possession,” James said, chuckling at the absurdity.
Parker made his move to basket. He nearly lost the ball not once, not twice but three times — maybe even four time, possibly five — before falling to the ground. Somehow, he managed to maintain his dribble and control of the basketball.
With James defending, Parker spun, faked his shot, got separation from James and began to shoot. James even got his hand on the ball. Parker released the ball just — seriously, just — before the shot clock expired.
One-tenth of a second before the shot clock hit 0.0? One-hundredth of a second?
In time either way — the referees double and triple checked — and Parker’s 16-foot shot hit the backboard and went it, giving the Spurs a 92-88 lead, which turned out to the final score in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
Parker had nothing, found something and pushed the Spurs to a 1-0 series lead.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the play felt like 26 seconds.
“That was the longest 24 seconds that I’ve been a part of,” James said.
Parker echoed both.
“It felt like forever, too,” Parker said. “It was a crazy play. I thought I lost the ball three or four times. And it didn’t work out like I wanted it to. At the end I was just trying to get a shot up. It felt good when it left my hand. I was happy it went in.”
Parker found his classic clutch form in the fourth quarter after a fine but unspectacular first half. He scored 12 of his game-high 21 points in the second half.
Parker had 10 of San Antonio’s 23 points in a dominant, 23-16 final quarter. … [For more on Tony Parker's Game 1 dagger leaves everyone floored, click here.]