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5 things to note from Game 5 of NBA Finals
MANU THE MAN: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told Manu Ginobili on Saturday that he would be starting Game 5. And how did Ginobili respond? By putting up just the second 24-point, 10-assist game of his entire career, that’s how. Ginobili spent Saturday talking about the possibility of retirement. A day later, he was brilliant, making 8 of 14 shots from the floor, 7 of 8 from the foul line, and looking very much like the star that he’s been in San Antonio for so many years. The Spurs absolutely had to have Ginobili at his best, or else going back to Miami trailing the series 3-2 would have been a real possibility. He responded, and now San Antonio has two cracks to win one game for the title.
HEAT FINISHES: The end of the first quarter and end of the third quarter spelled the end of Miami’s chances in Game 5. The Heat were terrible to finish both quarters, while the Spurs just couldn’t miss, and the margins created in about 8 combined minutes were way too much for the reigning NBA champions to overcome. The real damage came in a 15-2 San Antonio flurry to end the first quarter, one that gave the Spurs a 13-point lead and set the tone of Miami fighting its way upstream for the rest of the evening.
TREND CONTINUED: If it wasn’t obvious before (and it should have been), it has to be crystal-clear now. Miami’s entire season hangs on the Heat putting together a winning streak. Sounds funny for a team that won 27 straight games, but it’ll take a two-game streak _ which hasn’t happened in a month _ for the Heat to defend their NBA title. The good news, both of those games would be in Miami. The bad news, the Spurs have already won one game in South Florida during this series, and have plenty of momentum after rolling past the Heat twice in the three games at San Antonio. The Heat have alternated wins and losses in 12 straight games.
GREEN IS GOLDEN: Danny Green’s Finals is now the stuff of NBA records. He has made 25 of his tries from 3-point range in this series, including a 6 for 10 showing in Game 5. The record is his and it’s his by a sizable margin already; Ray Allen, now a reserve guard for the Heat, had the Finals record by making 22 3-pointers for Boston in 2008. “With any record, there is always opportunities that come along the way for someone to break it,” Allen said.
COMING UP: The teams get settled again in Miami on Monday, but neither is expected to practice. (The NBA, however, will go through rehearsal for the trophy presentation _ just in case.) Both teams have shootarounds scheduled for Tuesday morning.
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