=== Pivotal Game 5 awaits Heat, Spurs ===
(Sports Network) - With the NBA Finals knotted 2-2, Sunday's Game 5 between
the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs will be huge in determining the next
For the defending champion Heat, they carry some momentum after a 109-93
victory Thursday night in Alamo City, but no one in a Miami uniform will be
taking Game 5 lightly.
"We need to play with the same sense of urgency as if we were down 2-1 or
whatever the case may be tomorrow night," LeBron James said on Saturday. "We
are excited about the opportunity. We have another opportunity to win on
someone else's floor."
The Spurs appear to be in a slightly more desperate situation. A loss on
Sunday sends them down 2-3 with the remaining two games back in South Beach.
"It is a must-win," stated Tim Duncan. "We don't want to go back down there
down a game with two games remaining at their house. It is a must-win
situation. Obviously we lose this game, we're not giving up or anything, but
we want to go back up with a chance to finish there. Huge pressure if we have
to go back there and try to win two."
In Game 4, Miami fans were treated to the Big Three they expected every night.
James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 85 points, 30 rebounds, nine
assists, 10 steals and five blocks.
It was a somewhat unexpected performance considering the inconsistent play of
both Wade and Bosh during this postseason.
"We would love to do what we did last game every game. But every game is
different," said James. "Every game presents different challenges. We haven't
been able to string games like that for the Big Three in this postseason. But
we're still here. We're still in a position to win an NBA championship, and
that's what's most important."
James was the high scorer with 33 points on Thursday, but the catalyst was
Wade. He finished with 32 points and set the tone with his aggression in the
first half. Then, when the Heat began to pull away, it was Wade at the center
"My team needed a better performance out of me. And mentally I had to change
my mind," said Wade, who has battled a knee injury during the playoffs. "But
as I said at the beginning of this series, I felt better in this series than I
felt in the Indiana series. It's been a plus."
With due respect to Wade's knee, the majority of health news in this series
has focused on the hamstring of Spurs' All-Star guard Tony Parker.
He was a game-time decision for Game 4 on Thursday with a grade 1 hamstring
strain. Parker suited up and scored 15 points and handed out nine assists in
Parker benefited more than anyone from the two days off between Games 4 and
"The doctors say it will not change anything if I rest two more days. My
hamstring can tear any time now," acknowledged Parker. "So if it was the
regular season, I would be resting like 10 days. But now it's the NBA Finals.
If it gets a tear, it's life."
Another concern for the Spurs is the regression in the game of Manu Ginobili.
He hasn't scored in double figures since Game 1 and is averaging just 7.5 ppg
during the Finals.
And Spurs skipper Gregg Popovich was effusive as always when asked Saturday
about two of his best players struggling.
"I'm not worried about anything that you just mentioned; they're fine," opined
Game 6 will be back in Miami Tuesday night.
06/16 10:03:34 ET