What a crazy and spectacular NBA Finals we’re having so far. The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat have put on a series that would have even the causal fan sitting on the edge of their seats. After the first 5 games have been said and done, the Spurs lead this series 3-2. Each team has had an impressive blowout-type win in this series. Now that the Heat completed their 3 games they’ve had to play in San Antonio, they get a much-needed trip home to defend their title on their home floor. One more loss though and it’ll be all over for the 2012 Champions.
San Antonio has had typical production from the All-Star Point Guard, Tony Parker. Parker’s Game 1 winning shot will be something that NBA fans will remember for years to come. During game 3, Parker sustained a hamstring injury but it hasn’t seemed to hamper him too much other than the second half of Game 4 when he went scoreless. The convenient 2 days off San Antonio had between Games 4 and 5 helped Parker rest up some and return to his regular form in Game 5, as Tony put up 26 points with 5 assists. If Tony will be able to keep playing this way on a sore hamstring should be interesting; but far more interesting of this whole series has been Danny Green. Green broke Ray Allen’s NBA Finals record of most 3-pointers converting 25-38 so far throughout the series. If San Antonio wins the Championship, he’s the fans’ leading candidate to receive the MVP trophy. Tim Duncan has had his moments in the series where he’s been vintage Duncan, and where he’s shown his age. In all of the Spurs wins, Duncan has put up a Double-Double in points and rebounds. On the flip side, in each loss he hasn’t had those types of numbers, either scoring single digits in points or rebounds. Another player that has shown his age has been Manu Ginobili. Before Sunday’s game, the most points Manu had put up in a game was 13 and it was the only time he reached double digits. In Game 5 though, Manu was being Manu, and was the key to the 114-104 victory with 24 points and 10 assists. If San Antonio plans on winning either Game 6 or 7 on the road, they’ll need a big performance from each member of their big 3.
The Miami Heat couldn’t get home fast enough. LeBron James had a rough Game 1 and 2, as well as a horrible Game 3 in San Antonio, but has stepped it up since. James had 33 points in Game 4 with 11 rebounds, 4 assists. He then followed that performance by having 25 points in Game 5 with 8 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals. The surprise for the Heat the last two games has been the return of “Flash” as Dwyane Wade is making his presence known. He energized the team in their Game 4 victory with 32 points, 6 rebounds, 6 steals, and dropped 25 points with 10 assists in the Game 5 loss. If he and James continue to put up 25 a game with the steals and assists they’ve been having of late, it’s going to be really hard for them to lose at home. The third member of Miami’s big 3, Chris Bosh, has been playing a little better recently as well. The first 3 games, Bosh looked to be having a lot of trouble playing against Duncan but has showed more intensity and aggression in Game 4 and 5. If Miami is going to win a repeat title, they’re going to need Bosh to win on the boards as well as put up at least 15 a game. Udonis Haslem has been playing good defense in the series but a lot of fans are wondering why Chris “Birdman” Anderson has been a no show on the court of late. Anderson, who has been seen so far throughout the playoffs as the man who gives the Heat life off the bench, hasn’t gotten 1 minute at all the last 2 games. Erik Spoelstra’s best asset is that he makes proper adjustments when it’s needed. I’m thinking after the Heat won Game 4 the way they did, that Anderson was just a part of whatever adjustment Spoelstra made and that’s why we didn’t see him at all in Game 5 either. The Heat will need their role players to play their roles, and their stars to be just that if they want to hoist that trophy again.
Neither team has won back-to-back games in the series so far. That’s what Miami is going to need though in order to pull this series off. There are a few pluses for the Heat. The fact that they’re at home is one, and the fact that they were still in the game after San Antonio played an impeccable 48 minutes of Basketball in the Game 5. If it wasn’t for a few whistles, the Heat had a chance to cut the deficit to 5 points or fewer with less than 3 minutes left in the game. San Antonio was throwing haymakers left and right, but Miami still being in the game was very impressive to me. It shows me that they aren’t thinking negatively or getting down on one each other, even though they’re close to elimination. If Miami does lose Game 6 or 7, it’s going to have two types of outcomes. One will be solidifying the San Antonio Spurs as one of the best Dynasty’s in NBA history. The other will be tons of rejoice from everyone who dislikes LeBron James, followed by an offseason full of scrutiny.