There are a lot of heroes in the performance the San Antonio Spurs are putting on in the NBA Finals, with Danny Green and his three point shooting probably being the most obvious of them, but the key to their wins has always been about the man making the decisions with the ball, which was Tony Parker in the first two games and finally getting Manu Ginobili to join him in the last one.
When you want to get down to the fundamentals of it all, it might be all about Gregg Popovich, who gave Ginobili the confidence he needed after being trashed by everyone following his first four games of the series. Ginobili got to start, and responded with his best game of the season: 24 points and 10 assists, while being in charge of the best run the Spurs had during the game, opening the 20 point lead with a 21-2 run when it looked like the Heat had caught up.
Tony Parker? He pulled off a similar magic trick of putting the terrible second half of game 4 behind him. Parker scored 24 points, adding 8 assists, being the one to keep the Heat from another late charge as they brought the lead down to 8 with two minutes remaining. Miami finally got their offense going, but Parker kept finding the mismatch he liked in order to drive to the basket, before putting a final exclamation mark with an isolation move on LeBron James.
While Danny Green scoring 26 points with another six-three-pointer night was huge in the final outcome and putting the Spurs on the verge of winning a fifth NBA title, he hardly creates anything for himself, although those shots he takes from two-three feet beyond the arc deserve only crediting him, it’s been about the shots Miami have been giving him deliberately, not learning their lesson, and what Parker and Ginobili set him up with.
Teams haven’t won two in a row in this series because of the quality of the teams. Each game is a separate story, and its sequel has always been a case of adjustments. The only tight and close game was in game 1, and since then we’ve had two double digit wins. The Heat always picking up their defense in the even numbered games, while the Spurs going on an offensive onslaught in game 3 and 5.
Fatigue is going to be an issue. No team appreciated three-day rests more than the Spurs, and it’s going to be interesting if only two days and a flight to Miami is going to have a serious effect on Tim Duncan’s ability to battle with Chris Bosh in the paint (grabbed 12 rebounds last game, 3 offensive), and both Parker’s and Ginobili’s ability to remain dominant whenever it’s up to them to make a big decision.
No use thinking about maybe giving up on game 6 in order to be fully fresh and prepared for the final one on Thursday. No one thinks like that except those diving into statistics, like no team winning two in a row, that don’t point at any real factor on both teams, but just an aggregation and summarizing of results.
The Spurs have forced the Miami Heat to play their kind of basketball, and even 18 turnovers, which might be expected from such a fast pace offense, didn’t hurt them at the end, thanking the layup misses by both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade at the most crucial of stages. Danny Green can’t miss and Tim Duncan has been doing amazing work on both ends of the floor, but if Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili don’t keep up their form from game 5, it’s going to be very difficult clinching the title in six games.