MIAMI — A day later, Tony Parker’s shot was still the talk of the NBA Finals.
With good reason.
The shot that sealed a Game 1 victory for the San Antonio Spurs was one that people will talk about for years, especially if Parker’s club goes on to beat the Miami Heat in this title series. His amazing sequence — dribble left, dribble right, keep dribbling right, dribble to the corner, spin, fall down, keep dribbling, get up and shoot a bank shot underneath LeBron James’ outstretched arm, watch ball bounce off rim twice and fall into net — seemed to impress everyone.
“It was a crazy play,” Parker said Friday after the Spurs practiced in Miami. “I never panicked. I tried to recover the ball, because as soon as I tried to drive (on) Chris Bosh, I was already losing the ball. And after that it was chaos, and I tried to recover the ball. When I was on the ground, I had time to look at the clock, and I knew it was 1.7. So I had time to pump-fake and get a shot up. It was definitely a little bit of luck.”
Or a lot of luck.
He was guarded by four different Heat players — James, Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Mike Miller — at times in a mere 13-second span. He appeared to dribble the ball off his leg twice. He could have easily lost the ball when he tumbled to the hardwood.
Instead, he made a shot that capped the scoring. Spurs 92, Heat 88, final.
“He bobbled it, he backed up, he tripped, he fell and he got up and went under my arm and made a tough bank shot,” James said. “That’s not why we lost the game. That’s a huge shot, but it’s not why we lost the game.”
Parker is clearly savoring the moment, though is cautioning his friends and family to not make too big a deal of the shot — at least, not yet. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich didn’t have a film session on Friday, so Parker just watched the highlight of his shot, which he’s already putting down as one of the biggest in his career, and understandably so.
“You have to put it in my top three, for sure,” Parker said. “Maybe No. 1, because it’s the NBA Finals. It will only mean something if we win the championship. And so that’s why like all my friends, my family, they were going crazy. I’m like, you have to stop going crazy. We only won one game. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just one game. But if we go all the way, yes, that shot, you can put it No. 1.”
One of the best reactions to the shot on Thursday night came from Spurs forward Matt Bonner, who just put his hands on his head and stared blankly, almost in disbelief.
He was asked Friday if he could make a shot like that.
“If my knee did what his knee did, that would probably be the end of my career,” Bonner said. “That was my first reaction. ‘Oh, that had to hurt.’ If it didn’t, he must do a lot of yoga in the summer or something.”
FLOP STUDY: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is taking on flopping, and one of his companies is putting up more than $100,000 to study the problem.
Researchers at Southern Methodist University say that Radical Hoops Ltd., a Cuban-owned company, has awarded a grant to fund an 18-month “scientific study of the unsavory practice of player flopping in basketball and other sports.”
“The issues of collisional forces, balance and control in these types of athletic settings are largely uninvestigated,” said SMU biomechanics expert Peter G. Weyand, who leads the research team. “There has been a lot of research into balance and falls in the elderly, but relatively little on active adults and athletes.”
Researchers will investigate the forces involved in typical basketball collisions and look at how much force is required to cause a legitimate loss of balance, among other flopping-related matters.
The NBA has been fining players who are deemed guilty of flopping in order to try and trick an official into making a certain call, and the matter will be discussed more next week when the league’s competition committee meets.
BATTIER’S SLUMP: Heat forward Shane Battier played only 6:11 in Game 1, which was 6:11 more than he played in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against Indiana.
Battier’s playing time has been steadily declining for the last two weeks. The Pacers’ big lineups were partly to blame last series, but a shooting slump certainly isn’t helping his case, either. Battier went 0 for 3 — all of them 3-pointers — against the Spurs on Thursday night and has made just 2 of his last 19 shots in the postseason.
Battier is shooting 21.9 percent in the playoffs and hasn’t cracked double digit minutes since Game 4 against Indiana.
“I’m at a point now where it’s not about percentages. I could make every shot from here on out and my percentage is still going to be bunk,” Battier said with his trademark sense of humor. “So I’m past percentages. That’s the good news. I’m buying low on myself at this point. I’m buying low. And if I’m worthless after this series, that’s life.”
Battier said that it’s his job to give Heat coach Erik Spoelstra “nightmares and make him stay up at night and say, ‘How can I sit Shane?’ That’s my task. That’s it. Make his life miserable by playing well. Everything else, that’s on him.”
That can be hard to do when you’re playing just six minutes a night.
“Everyone wants to harp on the shooting. The shooting’s only been a sliver of what I do,” he said. “I haven’t lasted this long in the NBA by only being a shotmaker. I impact the games in different ways, and that’s what I need to do.”
UP NEXT: Miami will host Game 2 on Sunday, trying to avoid its first two-game home losing streak since the 2011 NBA Finals against Dallas. The Heat are 83-14 at home since the start of the 2011-12 season, including playoffs.
AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report.