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Heat Beat Spurs, Lynx Win, Rubio in Italy

The Miami Heat evened the Finals at one game a piece with some key plays down the stretch.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Down one with just over a minute left following a huge Tony Parker three pointer at the other end, LeBron James drove off a high pick and roll and has help came found Chris Bosh in the corner. Bosh buried the three to give the Heat a two point lead that they would not relinquish, as a turnover on the following Spurs possession led to a James free throw and the Heat were able to see the game out from there.

James had a monster game yet again, scoring 35 points, 22 in the 2nd half as he got hot from the perimeter after attacking inside in the first half. It's clear that the struggle to guard him has limited Kawhi Leonard, as he has missed big chunks of both games with foul trouble (and fouled out of this one) and has been unable to find his offense.

This was a close game throughout, tied at halftime after the Spurs had a modest lead through most of the first half. Both offenses got rolling in the third quarter, scoring over 30 points, but neither team could gain a real edge.  James went on a jump shooting tear midway through the quarter, but the Spurs were able to respond with some threes of their own from Patty Mills and Danny Green.

Tonight it was the Heat shooting over 50% from the floor, while the Spurs struggled a bit though did make 46% of their threes. The Spurs were effective on the offensive glass and only committed 11 turnovers after 23 in game one, and that gave them a chance late.

Ultimately it came down to the last few minutes, as the game was tied at 90 with three minutes to play. The Heat just made one more play than the Spurs, and that was the difference.

The series shifts to Miami for game three on Tuesday night.

The Minnesota Lynx bounced back from their first loss of the season with an 85-72 win over the talent-laden Los Angeles Sparks in L.A. yesterday afternoon.  The win breaks a five game losing streak to the Sparks in Los Angeles, where they haven't won since 2011. It was a familiar pattern for Lynx fans, as they got off to a fast start and led 30-16 after the first quarter, but the Sparks edged back into the game as the Lynx starters tired and their lack of depth was exposed.

Today, however, the Lynx were able to pull away in the fourth quarter behind a big game from Seimone Augustus, who finished with 26 points.  Rookie Damiris Dantas had a career high 15 points along with 11 rebounds, and Lindsay Whalen finished with 19 points and seven assists. It was a tough shooting game for Maya Moore, who went 5-17 and finished with only 12 points, but also collected 13 rebounds and played all 40 minutes.

Which is becoming something of a problem, as she has hardly come out of the last few games, and the rest of the starting crew are also being forced into much heavier minutes than is ideal.  Augustus and Dantas played 35 minutes and Whalen 33 in this one, and that isn't a recipe for long term success later in the season.

The Lynx bench was outscored by the Sparks reserves 25-2 for the game, and that is far too common. Nonetheless, the Lynx move to 8-1 on the season and 5-1 on the road, so overall things are looking good.

Ricky Rubio's appearance at the adidas eurocamp has generated some news, as he spoke to reporters for the first time this summer. Basketball Insiders has a video of Rubio that's worth watching (he doesn't sound particularly enthusiastic about his new coach, but it's always hard to draw conclusions when someone is speaking in their 2nd language).

Meanwhile, he makes it clear that he likes Minnesota and plans to stay there (not that he has a lot of choice), but that he wants Kevin Love to stay as well. He plans to call Love when he returns to the States next week (to work with a shooting coach in Los Angeles!).

Phoenix sort of re-emerged as a possible destination over the weekend after a tweet from Marc Spears of Yahoo suggested that they would be willing to part with Goran Dragic or Eric Bledsoe (not possible) to acquire Love. I really like Dragic, but he only has a year left on his deal, so it would be very difficult to view him as the centerpiece in a trade.

The usual suspects--Chicago, Boston, Golden State, still appear more likely destinations, and I have become more convinced over the last few days that he will in fact be traded, likely on draft day.  Flip Saunders' radio comments subtly calling him out sounded a lot like the comments you get when a superstar is on his way out of town.

In draft news, Draft Express has the measurements from the eurocamp if you are interested in that sort of thing. Lots of other news from the camp is also available at their site.

The Wolves were supposed to hold a series of workouts starting Wednesday, but I can't find anything out about whether it's happening or who might be involved.

Today in history

68: Roman emperor Nero commits suicide to avoid execution by flogging
1456: 23rd recorded perihelion passage of Halley's comet
1534: Jacques Cartier reaches mouth of St. Lawrence River
1732: Royal charter for Georgia granted to James Oglethorpe
1790: First book copyright granted under U,S. Constitution: "Philadelphia Spelling Book"
1802: Academy at West Point founded
1869: Charles Hires sells his first root beer in Philadelphia
1891: Gauguin arrives in Tahiti
1934: Donald Duck makes first screen appearance. What an actor. 
1954: Joseph Welch to Sen. Joe McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" 
1969: Warren Burger confirmed as Chief Justice
1970: Harry Blackmun sworn in as Supreme Court Justice
1980: Richard Pryor suffers burns freebasing cocaine
1983: Maggie Thatcher's Conservative Party win elections

Today's musical birthday is Cole Porter, born in 1891 (d. 1964). Here's Ella Fitzgerald singing one of his most famous songs.

It's Monday. Strap in.  What's going on?