MIAMI (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs made 19 of their first 21 shots and hit 75.8 percent in the best-shooting half in NBA Finals history, racing to a 71-50 lead over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.
Kawhi Leonard made his first six shots and scored 18 points for the Spurs after two quiet games in San Antonio. Danny Green added 13, going 6 for 6, as San Antonio finished 25 of 33.
The previous best half was by the Orlando Magic, who went 24 of 32 (75 percent) against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009.
LeBron James scored 16 points for the Heat, who made 56 percent but were at risk of getting blown out of their own building because of the Spurs’ ruthless execution.
Returning to the arena where they were oh-so-close to winning a fifth championship last year, the Spurs came out playing like they were trying to build a lead that was impossible to blow.
They shot 13 of 15 in building a 41-25 lead after one, then hit their first six shots in front of a stunned crowd in Miami while going ahead by as much as 25.
Leonard scored only 18 points in the first two games, looking frustrated while getting into foul trouble trying to defend James in Game 2. But he had his outside shot working early, and the effect on the Spurs’ offense was obvious.
The NBA Finals were back along the shores of Biscayne Bay for the fourth straight year, as much a part of the late-spring scene in Miami as beaches and boats. The last three NBA seasons ended right in this building, the last two followed by championship parades.
The local fans were being forced to watch a clinic by the Spurs, who closed the first half with a 9-2 burst after Miami tried to get back into it by closing to a 14-point deficit.
Coach Erik Spoelstra said he would keep communicating with James in Game 2 to make sure there were no lingering problems from the cramps that forced him to miss the final minutes of the opener.
But there was no way he could rest James early because James was the only one keeping the Heat in the game. He had 14 of their first 20 points, but even James couldn’t keep up with the Spurs’ pace.