Back with a blowout, and, no, the Miami Heat didn’t need to lean on LeBron to get it.
Not when Mario Chalmers and everyone else came through.
Chalmers led the charge, James broke out to finish it with a flurry and the Heat used a 33-5 run to blow away the San Antonio Spurs 103-84 on Sunday night to even the NBA Finals at one game apiece.
James missed 10 of his first 13 shots and the Heat trailed by a point late in the third quarter before unleashing the lethal brand of basketball that led them to a franchise-record 66 wins this season.
Chalmers finished with 19 points, and James had 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while shooting only 7 of 17 from the field.
“I know my shooters only need a little bit of room to get the shot off,” James said. “For me, I struggled offensively, but the shooters made some good shots.”
The Heat made 10 of 19 3-pointers and got 13 points from Ray Allen, and 12 points and 10 rebounds from the previously slumping Chris Bosh.
Danny Green made all six shots, including five 3-pointers, and scored 17 points for the Spurs. They host Game 3 on Tuesday night.
Tony Parker had 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting for the Spurs, who were so precise in their 92-88 victory in Game 1 but threw the ball all over the white-surrounded court Sunday, committing 17 turnovers that led to 19 Miami points.
“In the second half they just run us over,” the Spurs’ Manu Ginobili said. “We didn’t move the ball at all. Their pressure really got us on our heels.”
Tim Duncan shot 3 of 13 and finished with nine points and 11 rebounds.
James insisted he wouldn’t force himself to do more after he had a triple-double in Game 1 but never seized the opportunity to take control of the scoring as the game was slipping away from the Heat.
He didn’t need to. Not with Chalmers making big shots, the Heat’s defense forcing the Spurs to look shaky all over the floor, and a barrage of second-half 3-pointers.
James finally got some openings late, hanging from the rim an extra second not long after a sensational blocked shot freed him up for a fast break.
The often-maligned Chalmers is frequently found in Heat highlights being yelled at by James or another Miami veteran. But he’s as cocky as any of the superstars in Miami.
The point guard sparked the Heat late in the third, after San Antonio had taken a 62-61 lead. He converted two three-point plays, Allen and Mike Miller nailed 3-pointers, and James made only his third field goal of the game during a 14-3 finishing spurt that sent Miami to the fourth with a 75-65 advantage.