2014 NBA Playoffs: San Antonio Spurs versus Miami Heat Game 5 Preview

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Is this the end for the Heat? Can the Spurs complete their comeback tour? Read on for our Finals game 5 preview!

Seeds: Miami Heat no.2; San Antonio Spurs No.1

Pounding the RockHot Hot Hoops

Finals Series: Spurs leading 3-1

  • Schedule for Series: Game 5, Sunday, June 15, 8:00 PM. EST(ABC)

Game 6, Tuesday, June 17, 9:00 PM EST(ABC)

Game 7,  Friday, June 20, 9:00 PM EST(ABC)

(If necessary)

***

The San Antonio Spurs were dominant against the Miami Heat in game 3 and 4 to lead the series by 3-1, winning by a combined 40 points on Miami's home court. This puts Miami in a precarious position because no NBA finals team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit since the championship series began in 1950. If the Heat want to win this series, they will have to do something that has never been done, and it will require 2 wins in San Antonio.

The Miami Heat are still alive, but barely. Yes, they do have the best player in the world recently, but no matter what he does, he cannot lift the team by his own if the rest of his teammates don't assist him.

The BIG THREE has turned into LeBron and a bunch of other guys. Will Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh finally play up to the moment?

What must the Heat do to win game 5?

The Heat should speed up their offensive tempo in order to have an impact offensively. They have not been able to force turnovers or get fast break points. Their slower pace also has given the Spurs extra time to get their defense set. The best way for them to speed up the game is to get other players involved early with their passing. Their offense has been messy so far, but they are one of the league's best passing teams and they still have that attribute.

The Heat defense has been their biggest disappointment, however. The Spurs play like they have solved it. Miami needs to change something with it, but what? The Miami squad should put more effort in playing tight on the Spurs guards, and challenge them to make the plays instead of Boris Diaw, who has killed the Heat's defense. Miami should also be willing to let the Spurs' offense run through Tim Duncan more and hope that he gets into one-on-one play instead of being a pass distributor.

Bosh and Rashard Lewis have the ability to get hot from 3-point range, but thus far have not had many opportunities.  Lewis is a 3-point specialist, but in game 4 he was 0-2 from the 3-point line, and scored 2 points. Regarding Bosh, he drained every shot he attempted during game 3, but that only included 4 field goals. His touches have been fewer and fewer as the series has gone on. He may be the Heat's best chance to improve their offensive output.

How Can The Spurs Counter the Heat and win the championship?

The Spurs put forth two flawless performances in game 3 and 4. Is it possible for them to replicate it one more time?

The biggest threat to their success is going to be the danger of getting into foul trouble. The Spurs can endure fouls, but two players that must stay clean are Kawhi Leonard and Boris Diaw. Leonard is being left on an island to guard LeBron, and so far he is content to give up long range jumpers in order to prevent the dribble penetration. It is unlikely the Spurs will double team James even if he gets hot. They know that he cannot lift the entire team with his jump shots throughout the full game. We witnessed that in game 4, as James was tremendous in his shooting, yet he couldn't grab a victory for his team due to poor performance from his teammates. Popovich knows that if they start double teaming him, Miami guards will get open to either shoot a 3-point or be open to drive towards the lane.

Miami is in a tough spot now because very little of what they have built their success on has worked in this series. Unless they get career-defining games from key players like Bosh and Chalmers, the Spurs should be celebrating in the end tonight.

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