SAN ANTONIO, Texas: The San Antonio Spurs got their swagger back as they put the Miami Heat in a world of hurt with a 114-104 win in pivotal game five of the NBA finals on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
Veteran Manu Ginobili and three-point specialist Danny Green led a potent Spurs scoring attack while Heat failed once again to string two wins together as the Spurs now head to Miami with a chance to close out the series in game six on Tuesday.
Ginobili, who started Sunday after coming in off the bench in the first four games of the series, finished with 24 points and 10 assists on eight-of-14 shooting from the field at the ATT Center arena.
Green had 24 points and went six-of-10 from three-point range to set an NBA finals series record by raising his overall total to 25. Ray Allen, of the Heat, held the old record of 22 three pointers, but he needed seven games.
“I’ve been getting lucky,” said Green, who scored a playoff career high 27 points in game three. “I was moving around a lot. Our transition helps us. Tony (Parker) penetrating and Manu penetrating, making the defence collapse is the reason why I’ve been getting open. Luckily a couple have dropped for me.”
More than his share and more than Allen in 2008 when Allen played for the Boston Celtics.
Heading into game five, Green needed three three pointers to tie Allen’s record of 22.
Green got all three in the first half as he shot three-of-four from beyond the arc. Green nailed a 26-foot three pointer five minutes into the second to tie Allen, who ironically was guarding Green on the shot. Allen was on the bench when Green hit the record-setting three in the second half.
“He has been unbelievable,” Duncan said of Green. “Especially on this stage.”
Said Allen, “With any record there is always opportunities that come along the way for someone to break it.”
Ginobili, who has been playing so poorly up to this point in the playoffs he was hinting about retirement after the season, came into Sunday’s game averaging just 7.5 points per game.
“I really didn’t expect a 24-point game,” he said. “I needed to make a couple of shots. I just had a better overall offensive game. I needed to feel that.”
Ginobili’s brilliant performance helped take some of the load off of all-star guard Parker, who is playing with a strained hamstring.
“Because Manu was great, I didn’t have to be super aggressive,” said Parker.
Of the previous 27 times the finals have been tied 2-2, the winner of game five has gone on to win the series 20 times.
Miami’s Dwyane Wade said it is tough to overcome a team that gets off to a hot start like San Antonio did Sunday and then shoots 60 percent from the field overall.
“We just dug ourselves in a deep hole very early,” Wade said. “We kept fighting, we kept feeling like we had a chance. But they continued to make shots. So credit to the Spurs.”
The Heat are a perfect 6-0 in the post season after a loss, but they now have 12 alternating wins and losses in these playoffs as neither team has won two in a row in the finals. San Antonio won the first, third and fifth games while the Heat won two and four.
The Heat are now in the difficult position of having to win both games six and seven at home to take the series.
They haven’t lost back-to-back games since early January, and James said they would be a much better team on their home floor in Tuesday’s game six.
“The most important game is game six,” James said. “We can’t worry about a game seven. We have to worry about going back home, being confident about our game, being confident about getting a win, which we are.”