MIAMI -- LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, but he still hasn't beaten Tony Parker and the Spurs in an NBA Finals game.
Parker hit a ridiculously tough bank shot in the closing seconds to clinch the Spurs' 92-88 Game 1 win over the defending NBA champion Heat Thursday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Game 2 is Sunday night here.
With the Spurs clinging to a two-point lead, Parker dribbled around, seemed to lose the ball, fell to one knee and got up. With James overplaying him, Parker ducked under one of the NBA's best defenders and banked in the shot from the right wing just before the 24-second shot clock expired. The clutch basket with 5.2 seconds left closed out the scoring.
"It felt like forever," Parker said. "It was a crazy play. I thought I lost the ball three or four times. It didn't work out the way I wanted it to. At the end, I just trying to get a shot up. It felt good when it left my hand. I was happy it went in.''
Said James, "Tony did everything wrong and he did everything right . . . That was the longest 24-second possession I've ever been a part of.''
Parker -- the MVP of the 2007 Finals as the Spurs swept James' Cavaliers -- finished with 21 points, 10 of them in the fourth quarter. He also had six assists and no turnovers.
Tim Duncan had 20 points and 14 rebounds. Ginobili added 13 points and North Babylon's Danny Green scored 12, including a huge three-pointer with 2:12 left to put San Antonio up by seven.
James had a triple-double of 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists but shot 7-for-16. Dwyane Wade had 17 points, only four in the second half. Chris Bosh had 13 but was 6-for-16 from the field and missed a big three-pointer with the Heat down four with 1:02 left.
The Spurs showed little rust from having nine days off. When the game was on the line, they looked much fresher and executed better than the Heat, which went seven games in its Eastern Conference finals series against Indiana.
The Spurs didn't commit a turnover in the fourth quarter and had only four in the game. Miami totaled nine, but five came in the fourth period, when the Heat shot 5-for-18 and scored 16 points.
"Our offensive inefficiency going down the stretch probably hurt us more than anything," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The Heat led by nine in the first half and seven in the third, but San Antonio kept coming at Miami and went ahead 81-78 when Parker spun and scored inside with six minutes left.
The Heat went nearly four minutes without a field goal in the fourth quarter before James' putback with 3:09 left made it 85-81. Green gave the Spurs an 88-81 lead after knocking down his fourth three-pointer.
Later, with the Spurs up five, Green fouled Ray Allen as he attempted a three-pointer. He hit the three foul shots to put Miami within 88-86 with 1:28 to go. After two foul shots by Duncan 20 seconds later, Bosh misfired on a three-pointer.
After Parker's missed jumper, James sank two foul shots with 31.3 seconds left to cut it to 90-88. But he couldn't stop Parker from hitting the clinching basket.
"It was an unbelievable shot,'' Manu Ginobili said. "He had LeBron on him and almost was blitzed. So he really had to step through it and jump forward to be able to let it go."
Said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: "He stuck with it. He kept competing. He gained control of it again and got it up there on the rim. Great effort by Tony. We were fortunate."