The San Antonio Spurs are one win away from their fifth NBA title and the Miami Heat need a series-saving victory when Game 6 of the NBA Finals is played Tuesday. San Antonio took a 3-2 lead with a 114-104 victory Sunday behind a season-best game from Manu Ginobili and another superb performance from 3-point shooter Danny Green. Miami is vying to become the fourth team to rally from a 3-2 deficit with two homecourt victories.
The Heat watched the Dallas Mavericks celebrate on their home floor two seasons ago and would like to avoid seeing another such scene involving the Spurs. Miami won 27 consecutive games during the regular season, but is finding the playoffs to be much tougher, having gone 5-6 in its last 11 games with no back-to-back victories since winning Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against Indiana on May 22. Ginobili had 24 points and 10 assists in Game 5 and Green made six 3-pointers to set an NBA Finals record with 25. San Antonio knows there is more work to do. “Obviously, you want to finish in the first opportunity you get,” point guard Tony Parker said. “We understand that Miami is going to come out with a lot more energy, and they’re going to play better at home.”
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ABOUT THE SPURS: Green is the clear-cut Finals MVP if San Antonio closes out the series in Game 6. The player previously cut by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Spurs has made five or more 3-pointers in three games while averaging 18 points. Superb ball movement by San Antonio has presented Green with numerous unguarded looks and he has answered by making 65.8 percent of his 3-point attempts. “My teammates have done a great job of finding me and getting me open,” Green said. “Luckily, it seems everything is going right for me.” Parker scored a game-high 26 points in Game 5 despite playing through a hamstring injury while power forward Tim Duncan had 17 points and 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the series.
ABOUT THE HEAT: Forward LeBron James is aware he will receive a lot of criticism if Miami falls short, but he isn’t running from it on the eve of Game 6. James is averaging 21.6 points and 10.8 rebounds and has reached 20 points just twice in the series. “I have to come up big for sure in Game 6,” James said. “But I believe we all have to play at a high level in order to keep the series going. So me being one of the leaders of this team, I do put a lot of pressure on myself to force a Game 7 and I look forward to the challenge.” Guard Dwyane Wade has put together back-to-back stellar games of 32 and 25 points and veteran guard Ray Allen had his best game of the series with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting in Game 5.
1. The three teams to rally from a 3-2 deficit with two consecutive home victories are the 1988 Los Angeles Lakers, the 1994 Houston Rockets and the 2010 Lakers.
2. San Antonio is shooting 44.2 percent from 3-point range in the series with G Gary Neal (12-for-24) joining Green in shooting superbly.
3. James is shooting 43.6 percent in the series, well below his regular-season mark of 56.5.
PREDICTION: Heat 105, Spurs 101