After the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Miami Heat 114-104 in Game 5, there was one thing that was clearer than anything else that has happened since the beginning of the NBA Finals—the Heat’s backs are up against the wall—again.
Miami is down 3-2 to the Spurs. One loss and Miami is out. The Heat will need to win two straight games at home in order to win their second straight championship. If this series has been indicative of anything, it’s that it won’t be easy.
Just when it looked like the Heat had control of this series in their Game 4 blowout victory, which saw Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen all step up to lead the Heat to victory, Game 5 saw more of the same inconsistency that has plagued both teams throughout the series.
Although the Heat had strong performances from Wade, Bosh and Allen—all scored at least 16 points, with Allen contributing 21 off of the bench—LeBron had a terrible game, shooting 8-for-22 from the field, while shooting 1-for-8 when guarded by the Spurs’ Boris Diaw.
This was a game after he had scored 33 points on 15-of-25 shooting, while grabbing 11 rebounds en route to the Heat’s 109-93 victory over the Spurs.
And so, here we are again, with a familiar story line only the Heat know how to regularly embrace—Miami is on the brink of elimination.
They responded to adversity in Games 6 and 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals versus a Celtics team they were supposed to easily dispose of. Down 3-2 in the series, Miami responded by winning both games at home to grab a spot in the NBA Finals, where they would go on to win their first championship of the ‘Big Three’ era.
They responded to adversity a year later in the Eastern Conference Finals, this time versus the Indiana Pacers, where through a grueling seven-game series, they blew out the Pacers in Game 7 to advance to the NBA Finals for the third straight season.
The Heat have responded well to adversity, going 6-0 this postseason after losing a playoff game.
If the Heat are to have any chance of winning the NBA Finals for the second straight season, they’ll have to continue to be undefeated in that category by winning Game 6.