A three-point bombing raid by Patty Mills failed to inspire the San Antonio Spurs to victory as LeBron James emphatically shrugged off his cramping controversy.
James’s Miami Heat beat the Spurs 98-96 on Sunday to level the NBA Finals series 1-1.
James was back to his dominating best, grabbing 35 points and 10 rebounds in San Antonio’s air-conditioned AT&T Center.
“When we get stops and don’t turn the ball over, we are a very dangerous team,” James said.
The Spurs’ game one victory on Thursday was mired in controversy when the AT&T Center’s air-conditioning shut down, the indoor arena’s temperature climbed to 33C and James sat out the final four minutes of the fourth quarter with severe cramps.
With the temperature at a pleasant 21C for game two, James was almost superhuman.
Australian point guard Mills did his best to get the Spurs going, coming off the bench late in the third quarter.
With his team down 71-66, Mills hit his first three-pointer.
A minute later, Mills sank another to give the Spurs a 74-73 lead.
But Mills, veteran Tim Duncan, who finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds, and Tony Parker, with 21 points and seven assists, could not counter James.
“LeBron with the ball did a great job,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said.
“We didn’t do it as a group.
“We tried to do it individually and we’re not good enough to do that.”
Mills finished with eight points from 15 minutes on the court, while Australia’s other Spur, forward Aron Baynes, did not leave the bench.
Games three and four will be played in Miami.