Game 5 - San Antonio takes a 3-2 finals lead led by Ginobili’s 24 points and 10 assists. This was his first huge game of the finals and it definitely provided the Spurs with the lift they needed to get the win. San Antonio also had big games from Tony Parker with 26 points and 5 assists and Danny Green also contributed with 24 points, along with shattering Ray Allen’s 3 pt FG finals record of 22 3 pt FG made.
Miami had its usual production from the big three with Dwayne Wade leading the way with 25 points and 10 assists. Lebron James contributed with 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists but also shot 8 of 22 from the field and Bosh contributed with 16 points. Ray Allen also had a huge game with 21 points off the bench.
San Antonio came roaring out the gate with a lot of energy to give them the early 13-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
Miami missed 21 of their first 29 shots and the Spurs were able to build a 17-point lead in the 2nd quarter.
Miami then came roaring back with a late 12-0 run in the 2nd quarter to cut the lead to 5 points, then came out early in the 3rd to cut the lead to 2 points. Miami eventually cut the lead to 1 point, 75-74, in the middle of the third quarter.
San Antonio then responded with a 19-1 run to put the game out of reach and claim the victory.
No team has managed to win more than one game in a row. With San Antonio up 3-2, the series now shifts to Miami where Games 6 and 7 will be played.
The key factor of the finals so far has been the 3rd quarter. Except for Game 1 where San Antonio and Miami scored the same amount of points, every game has been determined by which team takes the third quarter.
Game 2 - Miami wins the 3rd quarter 25-20, goes on to win 103-84.
Game 3 - San Antonio wins the 3rd quarter 28-19, goes on to win 113-77.
Game 4 - Miami wins the 3rd quarter 32-27, goes on to win 109-93.
Game 5 - San Antonio wins the 3rd quarter 26-23, goes on to win 114-104.
In every one of these games, the winning team seized control of the game in the 3rd quarter and was able to keep the momentum going into the 4th quarter. Expect this trend to continue going into Game 6 and Game 7 (if necessary).
For San Antonio to win Game 6, they’re going to need another huge game from Manu Ginobili. Inserting him into the starting lineup to take some of the pressure off of him was a good move by Popovich and I expect him to start Ginobili again for Game 6. When Ginobili comes off the bench, he automatically becomes the main guy when playing with the 2nd unit and because of that, he tends to do too much. With Ginobili starting, there’s not as much pressure on him because he’s playing with Parker and Duncan. This allows him to play his game and play much more under control. Also San Antonio is going to have to play a half court game and slow the game down. When Miami is able to run, especially at home, they are very tough to beat. San Antonio is going to have to weather the early storm, take control of the game, take care of the ball, and have Miami play at their pace.
For Miami to win Game 6, they need someone else to step up besides the big three. Ray Allen provided that extra pop they needed in Game 5, but it wasn’t enough to get past the Spurs. Miami really needs Mario Chalmers to step up, whenever Chalmers steps up, the Heat becomes that much harder to beat. Also Lebron has to find a way to live in the post whenever San Antonio has either Leonard or Green on him. Neither player can defend Lebron in the post and it will most likely draw a double team where Lebron can use his passing skills and find wide-open teammates. Whenever San Antonio puts Diaw on Lebron, he has to use his aggressiveness to beat him off the dribble and get to the basket.
I expect Game 6 to be a hard fought game. Miami is going to come out with a lot of intensity to force a Game 7 and Spurs will be looking to end the series. Game 6 should be very entertaining, can’t wait!