Basketball / Sports

Spurs focus on negatives after Game 1 victory

SAN ANTONIO -- Leave it to the San Antonio Spurs to find imperfection in a 15-point victory.

Even after their 110-95 win against the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Spurs spent the day after picking at mistakes. Friday's practice was more about dissecting what went wrong instead of right.

The film session had Spurs coach Gregg Popovich especially concerned. He said the team didn't play particularly well on the defensive end.

"I thought we made a good number of mistakes," Popovich said. "I thought (the Heat) missed some wide, wide open shots that they had, that scare you to death once you watch the film. That's not just blowing smoke or an exaggeration. There were about seven or eight wide open 3s they had that just didn't go down."

Offensive execution was another area that caused uneasiness among the coaching staff. The normally efficient Spurs committed an uncharacteristic 22 turnovers. Only a hot-shooting fourth quarter and an injury to Heat forward LeBron James prevented them from perhaps facing a deficit entering Sunday's Game 2 at AT&T Center.

"Well, both teams were a little bit sloppy in that regard for sure, and it's always frustrating to a coach with turnovers," Popovich said. "Some were forced, some unforced but the unforced ones are the ones that drive you really crazy. As I said yesterday, for us, that's always a bad sign. We escaped last night by shooting the ball the way we did, I guess."

Popovich said the Spurs will have a "big problem" if the trends continue. There was little satisfaction in the locker room after the victory. It was more of a fortunate feeling.

"I still feel lucky because when we have 20-plus turnovers, we lose those games," guard Tony Parker said. "We definitely have to take care of the ball; that's one of the keys. Don't get me wrong, we have to give credit to Miami's defense, and I think we have to play a little bit better. And if we want to win Game 2, we have to take care of the ball."

The Heat led 86-79 after center Chris Bosh made a free throw with 9 minutes, 37 seconds remaining. Then it was a combination of James being sidelined with cramps and the Spurs going 14 of 16 from the field, including 6 of 6 on 3-pointers, in the fourth quarter that changed the game.

The late push made the Heat feel as if they blew a chance at a road victory.

"I wouldn't say they stole it," Heat forward Rashard Lewis said. "The game was there for us to take, but they played well in the last six minutes of that fourth quarter and we made some turnovers and didn't execute on the offensive end. ... We just lost focus the last five or six minutes of the game."

Still, the Spurs are well aware they need to play better. They referred to the series-opener as a "feel-out" game.

"We don't play them four times a year," guard Danny Green said. "We only play them once or twice a year. We don't know each other's tendencies that well. It seemed as if we did."

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