The San Antonio Spurs got their swagger back as they put the Miami Heat in a world of hurt with a 114-104 win in a pivotal Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Sunday.
Veteran Manu Ginobili and three-point specialist Danny Green led a potent Spurs attack, while the Heat failed once again to string two wins together as the Spurs now head to Miami with a chance to close out the series in Game 6 today.
Ginobili, who started on Sunday after coming in off the bench in the first four games of the series, finished with 24 points and 10 assists on eight-of-14 shooting from the field at the ATT Center.
Green had 24 points and went six of 10 from three-point range to set an NBA Finals series record by raising his overall total to 25. Ray Allen, of the Heat, held the old record of 22 three-pointers, but he needed seven games.
“I’ve been getting lucky,” said Green, who scored a playoff career-high 27 points in Game 3. “I was moving around a lot. Our transition helps us. Tony [Parker] penetrating and Manu penetrating, making the defense collapse is the reason why I’ve been getting open. Luckily, a couple have dropped for me.”
Heading into Game 5, Green needed three more three-pointers to tie Allen’s record of 22. He got all three in the first half as he shot three of four from beyond the arc. Green nailed a 26-foot three-pointer five minutes into the second to tie Allen, who ironically was guarding Green on the shot. Allen was on the bench when Green hit the record-setting three in the second half.
“He has been unbelievable,” Duncan said of Green. “Especially on this stage.”
Ginobili, who had been playing so poorly up to Sunday in the playoffs he was hinting about retirement after the season, came into the game averaging just 7.5 points.
“I really didn’t expect a 24-point game,” he said. “I needed to make a couple of shots. I just had a better overall offensive game. I needed to feel that.”
Ginobili’s brilliant performance helped take some of the load off of All-Star guard Parker, who was playing with a strained hamstring.
“Because Manu was great, I didn’t have to be super aggressive,” Parker said.
Of the previous 27 times the NBA Finals have been tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has gone on to win the series 20 times.
Miami’s Dwyane Wade said it is tough to overcome a team that gets off to a hot start like San Antonio did on Sunday.
“We just dug ourselves in a deep hole very early,” Wade said. “We kept fighting, we kept feeling like we had a chance, but they continued to make shots. So credit to the Spurs.”
The Heat are now in the difficult position of having to win both Game 6 and Game 7 at home to take the series.
James said they would be a much better team on their home floor in today’s Game 6.
“The most important game is Game 6,” James said. “We can’t worry about a Game 7. We have to worry about going back home, being confident about our game, being confident about getting a win, which we are.”