The Spurs missed an opportunity to take full control of the series by only shooting 44% from the field and had another game in which they too careless with the ball having 18 turnovers. Led by Tim Duncan’s 20 points on 6 of 10 shooting and Tony Parker’s 15, who later admitted that he felt his hamstring could have torn at any moment, but they were let down by another sub-par performance by Manu Ginobili who only scored 5 points on 1 of 5 shooting and had a +/- of -22. For all the concerns being had on whether Wade had lost a step and best days were behind him, the same questions may need to be asked if Ginobili, who has yet to really get it going this playoffs at all, let alone the finals. If it weren’t for unexpected contributions by Kawhi Leonard,Danny Green and Gary Neal, who will now from this point be called “the young guns,” this series could have easily been over.
What the Spurs must do in Game 5:
Past the torch: while many has been a staple for the past 11 years, in this series he has been a step slow on both ends and maybe it’s time for coach Popovich to give some of his minutes to guys who have been playing better. Unlike when the questions came up with Wade being done, the Spurs do have far better options in “the young guns” and we saw in Game 3 what they are capable of.
Protect the rock: Just like protecting the Alamo was a pivotal part of Texas Revolution, the Spurs have to channel the local history and do a better job keeping their “rock” safe and not be willing to relinquish it so often while under attack by the Miami defenders. In the two games they have loss in the series they have 34 total turnovers but in the games they won only 16, so its apparent that if the ball is handled better they are in a better position to win.
What the Heat must do in Game 5
3 the hard way: Continue to be emulate the 70’s Blaxpoitation movie and allow James, Wade and Bosh inflict pain on the court in their own individual unique way. James did a much better job being a catalyst of the offense on in Game 4 because he had the ball in his hands more and once he builds up a head of steam it is hard to slow him down so the Spurs will have to pick their poison allow him to keep driving to the basket or help on defense, thus giving open looks to Ray Allen and Mike Miller. Wade ability to finally hit a mid range jumper, which the Spurs had been giving him most of the series, made them tighten up defensively and while he isn’t as explosive as he once was when Heat fans called him “flash” he still has enough left in the tank to get to the rack with ease. Bosh finally decided to spend some time closer to the paint and it resulted in not only better shots for him but also gave the Heat an additional offensive rebounder to account for.
Keep the intensity high: This team has no problem playing well when their backs are against the wall but they seem to struggle dealing with any type of success. After the dominant Game 2, in which they felt the pressure of not wanting to go down 0-2 in the series they laid an egg in Game 3. In Game 4, staring down the possibility of having to overcome a 1-3 deficit they ramped it up again and responded with perhaps one of their best games in the playoffs. Someone for the Heat has to get them out of this lull because while the series wouldn’t necessarily be over if they lose, it’s never a good thing being on the brink of elimination… but you never know that may be what this team needs to in order to win the final two games at home.
After watching four games in this series, it has not gotten any easier predicting how things will play out. It would be almost unfair to expect the Big 3 to put up another herculean performance like they did Game 4, if nothing but for the fact that Coach Popovich of the Spurs will have adjustments to his game plan set in place to combat the easy looks that the Heat were able to get. With the Spurs, it rests on a sensitive muscle in the leg of their best player and while Parker played in Game 4 he wasn’t able to get to the bucket as freely as he did before and I just think it will be hard for him to protect the ball because he will be forcing it more than before. With that Game 4 was more of the norm instead of the exception for the Heat and while it wont be that big of a gap in the score they still come away with the win and get one step closer to back to back NBA Championships. Heat 97 Spurs 90