San Antonio wins series 4-1 (Game 5 of 5)

San Antonio wins series 4-1

Game 1: Thursday, June 5th
Game 2: Sunday, June 8th
Game 3: Tuesday, June 10th
Game 4: Thursday, June 12th
Game 5: Sunday, June 15th

Heat 87

(54-28, 22-19 away)

Spurs 104

(62-20, 32-9 home)

    Coverage: ABC

    8:00 PM ET, June 15, 2014

    AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIA 29 11 18 2987
    SA 22 25 30 27104

    Top Performers

    Mia: L. James 31 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Blk

    SA: K. Leonard 22 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Heat-Spurs Preview

    SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Early Sunday evening, LeBron James will gather his Miami Heat teammates around him and offer a few final words of wisdom before they try to extend their reign as NBA champions.

    James never rehearses the speech, but already knows what the gist will be.

    "It would be in the range of, `Why not us?" James said Saturday. "Why not us? History is broken all the time. And obviously we know we're against the greatest of odds."

    Against the greatest of odds, against maybe the greatest of San Antonio Spurs teams, too. Both are very much against the Heat now, and both are winning. The Spurs are a victory away from their fifth championship, and will go for it at home Sunday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

    The Spurs are the 32nd team in NBA history to hold a 3-1 lead in the finals. All 31 of the previous teams have won the title.

    "History is made to be broken, and why not me be a part of it? That would be great," James said. "That would be a great story line, right? But we'll see what happens. I've got to live in the moment, though, before we even get to that point."

    The Spurs have the same way of thinking.

    They took command of the finals in stunning fashion by not just winning in Miami, but winning twice -- and winning big. San Antonio won Games 3 and 4 on the road by a combined 40 points, never trailing by more than two in either contest and running out to 25-point leads in each.

    "We've got to act like we're coming into it like it's a road game," Spurs guard Danny Green said. "It's a mentality thing. We have to come up with the same mentality we do on the road and try to protect home court and play with desperation."

    There was no talk from the Spurs on Saturday about closing in on a title, or anything remotely close to that topic. They thought they had it wrapped up with 28 seconds left in Game 6 last season against Miami and saw it slip away -- so even with a 3-1 lead and being at home instead the road for this potential clinching situation, it's pretty clear that San Antonio isn't willing to leave anything to chance.

    "They're going to come out and give us their best punch possible," Spurs star Tim Duncan said. "We know that they're back-to-back champs and they've been in this situation before and they have all the confidence in the world that they can win these games. So we have to do just the same. Come out there and say, hey, we're going to take it little by little, quarter by quarter, and see what happens."

    That all sounds good, and he meant every word.

    Thing is, the Heat -- these Heat, anyway -- haven't been in this situation before. Since James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh teamed up, the Heat have never trailed 3-1 in a series.

    Until now.

    "We're not so entitled or jaded that we're above having to fight for it, and that's what it is right now," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It's competition. So we've got to find a way to fight and get this next game, and that's what it's all about."

    Miami took a day off Friday. Mario Chalmers played with his son, James watched some film and rested at home, Udonis Haslem tried to relax with family. Wade, who missed nine of his first 10 shots -- raising questions about his health -- went a different way.

    He went into the gym, by himself, looking for answers.

    "I have very good reason that everything could change," Wade said. "As I continue to say throughout the season, it's a game-to-game thing."

    Wade was down 2-0 in the 2006 finals, and trailed by 13 points in the fourth quarter of Game 3 of that series against Dallas. The Heat won that championship in six games.

    "You have to pull from your experiences," Wade said, "and know where you came from to know where you're trying to go."

    That also applies to the Spurs.

    Losing the last two games of the finals last year still stings San Antonio. That series was portrayed widely as the Spurs' last hurrah -- an aging team with old stars, there's no way they could come back from something as devastating as letting the 2013 championship slip away, right?


    The Spurs finished with the best record in the regular season, and are one win shy of just being the best team, period.

    "Whatever success anyone has is due to a lot of factors," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Some of it is not even your doing. Sometimes things just happen. So success is a pretty complicated thing."

    So are comebacks.

    But James is eager for the chance.

    "For me, it's like you either don't make the playoffs or you win a championship," James said. "There's no in-between."


    Research Notes

    San Antonio's reserves, which led all teams in the regular season with over 45 points per game, is now doing it on the biggest stage, outscoring the Heat's second unit by 14 points per game. In terms of plus-minus, the Spurs' bench players are a whopping +91 while the Heat's are -81.
    LeBron James is averaging 35.4 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists over his last 5 elimination games. And two of those games came against the Spurs in last year's NBA Finals.
    From Elias: If Tim Duncan wins MVP, he would be the 2nd-oldest NBA Finals MVP since the award was first handed out in 1969. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was just 3 days older than Duncan at the time he won the 1985 Finals MVP award.
    The Spurs have outscored the Heat 119-81 in the first quarter this series.
    Ray Allen is taking Mario Chalmers' place in the starting lineup tonight. Entering Game 5, the Heat lineup of Allen-Bosh-James-Lewis-Wade was -9 in 9 minutes. The Heat starting lineup in Games 1-4 was -9 in 46 minutes.
    The Spurs are shooting 54.2 percent from the field this series (154-284), a mark that would set a new Finals record in the shot-clock era.
    From Elias: If the Spurs win the title, it would be a 15-year span between Tim Duncan's first (1999) and last NBA title (2014). That would be the 2nd-longest span in NBA history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (17 years) among players that played in both NBA Finals series.
    Of the 18 teams to lose a Game 7 of the NBA Finals (including the Spurs last year), 12 actually made it back to the Finals the following season. And 5 of them went on to capture the title (the last to do so were the Pistons, who lost in 7 games in the 1987-88 Finals and then won the following season). The last 3 teams to lose a NBA Finals Game 7 (2009-10 Celtics, 2004-05 Pistons and 1993-94 Knicks) each failed to make it back to the NBA Finals the following season.
    No team in NBA Finals history has overcome a 3-1 series deficit (prior to this series, 31 teams trailed 3-1). Only 2 teams have forced a Game 7 after trailing 3-1. The 1950-51 Knicks, which actually fell behind 3-0 to the Rochester Royals - and the 1965-66 Lakers, who lost to the Celtics in 7 games after rallying from a 3-1 deficit.
    From Elias: Tony Parker is averaging a team-leading 17.5 points per game this postseason. That would be the fewest playoff PPG by a championship team's leading scorer in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55).
    LeBron James is averaging 27.5 points on 60.0 percent shooting this series. Only 2 players averaged at least 25 points on 60.0 percent shooting in an NBA Finals series - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice) and Shaquille O'Neal (twice). The only instance in which a player lost while posting those averages was O'Neal in 2004 when his Lakers fell to the Pistons.
    Gregg Popovich is looking to become the 5th head coach in NBA History to win 5 titles.
    Dating back to when the NBA Finals MVP was first awarded in 1969, there have been just 5 players that won the award in a season in which they weren't selected to the All-Star Team. Chauncey Billups was the last to fall under that category.
    Ray Allen is just 3 three-pointers away from passing Robert Horry for the most in NBA Finals history.
    Chris Bosh is averaging 10.5 PPG over the last 2 games after putting up 18.0 PPG over Games 1-2.
    The Spurs have 40 more assists and 6 fewer turnovers than the Heat this series. Miami has turned it over 67 times and totaled just 62 assists.
    From Elias: Tim Duncan is seeking to become the second player in NBA history to win an NBA title in three different decades. John Salley is the only player to accomplish that feat, winning with the Pistons in 1989 and 1990, with the Bulls in 1996 and with the Lakers in 2000.
    Kawhi Leonard registered 20 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks in Game 4. He's averaging 24.5 points and 9.0 rebounds over the last 2 games - and should he win MVP honors, he'd be the 4th-youngest recipient of the award since it was first handed out in 1968-69.
    Kawhi Leonard is only the fourth player in NBA Finals history to score at least 20 points in three consecutive games before turning 23 years old (ELIAS).
    In what may be a testament to the Spurs team philosophy, Tony Parker led the team in scoring this postseason with just 17.4 points per game. According to Elias, that's the fewest playoff points per game by a championship team's leading scorer in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55).
    The Spurs outscored the Heat by 14 points per game in the 2014 NBA Finals, the largest points differential in a single series in Finals history.
    The Spurs and Heat relied on drives this season as both teams ranked in the top 10 in drives per game, according to player-tracking data. In the NBA Finals, the Spurs exploited drives to get shots for teammates, something the Heat were unable to do as effectively. The Heat shot 2-of-9 when LeBron James drove to the basket and passed in the NBA Finals (1-of-7 from 3-point).
    LeBron James created 48 assist opportunities (passes that directly led to shots) in the 2014 NBA Finals, most on the Heat and second most in the series (Boris Diaw, 50). The Heat shot 41.7 percent (20-of-48) off James' passes in the series, second worst of any player with at least 10 assist opportunities. - James scored 23 points in transition in the Finals. The rest of the Heat scored 20 points in transition. - James led all players with 58 paint points in the Finals. He and Wade had 36 paint points through the first three games, but Wade shot 2-of-15 in the paint the last two games (James 11-of-15). - Chris Bosh went 2-of-11 on catch-and-shoot field goals the last three games of the series after going 6-of-12 the first two games.
    LeBron James is the fourth player in NBA history to have at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in a game in which his team was eliminated from the NBA Finals (ELIAS).
    The Spurs' passing in the 2014 NBA Finals kicked into a higher gear over the last three games of the series. The Spurs averaged 3.0 passes per play in the half-court offense in each of the last three games of the series, something they failed to do the first two games.
    Leonard's defense on James in the series was key. James shot 57.6 percent against him, but he wasn't always able to get his shot off or even get the ball. - 19 percent of James' touches against Leonard in the Finals resulted in a James field goal attempt. Against all other defenders, that rate jumped to 33 percent. - James was held without a touch on 33 percent of the Heat's possessions when he was guarded by Leonard. Against all other defenders, he was held without a touch 23 percent of the time. - When Leonard did find himself on someone other than James, his defense was still strong. The rest of the Heat shot 27.8 percent (5-of-18) against Leonard in the Finals.
    The Spurs averaged 118.5 points per 100 possessions and had an effective field goal percentage of 60.4 in the 2014 NBA Finals, both the highest in any Finals series since the 3-point line was introduced in the 1979-80 season.
    Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs in scoring the final three games of the series after scoring nine points in each of the first two games. - Leonard also led the Spurs in 3-point shooting this Finals, shooting 57.9 percent. Leonard was a team-best 10-of-18 (55.6 percent) on catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts. - Leonard shot 65.0 percent (13-of-20) when guarded by LeBron James in the series.

    ESPN Stats & Information