When the San Antonio Spurs defeated the defending champions the Miami Heat 114-104 in game 5 of the NBA finals Sunday it was a big game and a must win game. It was almost predictable who would win game five, because the only formula anyone needed to know was which team needed the game the most, and that was the San Antonio Spurs.
Neither the Miami Heat nor the San Antonio Spurs have been able to win a must win game when the must win game is the opponents. Each of the five NBA final games have unfolded with the must win team delivering the knock out punch. Now that is no longer the case, it takes two, back to back wins to secure an NBA championship title!
The Spurs were walloped by the Miami Heat in game 4, 109-93 and a loss in game 5 at home would have sent them on the road to Miami for the final two games, down 3-2 in the finals. The Spurs wanted nothing to do with that scenario and they came out playing the type of defense they faced against Miami in game 4. The Spurs were able to keep Miami from starting game 5 with the defensive and offensive aggression they ended game 4.
San Antonio started game 5 with their version of the Big Three with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker in tack, while starting Manu Ginobili for the first time in this series. By starting Ginobili in place of Tiago Splitter the Spurs were implementing their version of Small Ball.
Miami employed Small Ball by starting Mike Miller in game 4. Miami has been utilizing multiple versions of this Small Ball lineup in game 4 and 5 with Chris Bosh @ center, Lebron James at power forward, Miller at small forward, Dwayne Wade at the shooting guard and Mario Chalmers at the point. Miami has made some of their biggest runs in the playoffs utilizing various combinations of Small Ball.
The San Antonio Spurs shot a blistering 60 percent from the field during periods 1 and 2, but were only able to secure a nine point lead at half-time. In the third quarter, the Miami Heat answered all of the Spurs runs staying within striking distance, as the Spurs began to make turnovers that Miami was quickly converting into points on the fast-break.Going into the fourth quarter the Heat were able to get the Spurs lead down to one, but the energy it took to do so after trailing the Spurs all game may have taken its toll on the Heat. With the score down to a one point lead and the Miami Heat turning up the heat, the Spurs went to another dimension in effort and execution, with Danny Green leading the way. Danny Green’s historic shooting night helped his team put the Miami Heat in their rear-view mirror.
The Spurs went on a 19 to 1 run in the fourth quarter, game over. Danny Green broke Ray Allen’s NBA final record of 22 3-pointers by a new NBA Finals record 23 three point shots made.
The San Antonio Spurs’ table is set to double up and knock out the defending champion, in game 6, winning their fifth NBA championship title. It does take two and they only have one going to Miami.
The defending champions, The Miami Heat, have two games to win at home to secure their second championship in a row, but the road is littered with former champions who can smell the finish line.
Miami has been unable to win back to back games going back to their series with the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs. The Miami Heat are 6-0 winning games after losses. The Heat has won many of these recovery games by double figures. The Heat’s six game winning streak began after their playoff loss against the Chicago Bulls in the second round. The Heat recovered from the three games they lost in their Eastern Conference series against Indiana and the two losses against the Spurs. If Miami stays true to their formula they should secure a game seven by beating the San Antonio Spurs in game six. Of course game 6 is a must win game for Miami, but now it takes two.
I have been waiting for one of these teams to rise up while digging down inside to overcome an opponent whose back is against the proverbial wall of do or die, no tomorrow, this is it, even though they have another chance to win.
San Antonio has already arrived at this battle of wills that will take place in game 6. Can the Spurs knock out the Heat under these severe conditions? Can they match the Heat’s heat though they still have a tomorrow? This is exciting stuff! These are the games I love to watch. How about you?
For Miami it is double or nothing! For the Spurs it is one to make two. Whoever delivers the two is our true Champion. The teams are so close, but it takes two. I love it! Let the games begin!