Everyone knows that the fifth game in a best-of-seven series is pivotal to determining a winner. All the stats say that the team that wins Game 5, should go on to win the series. So it’s safe to say that tonight’s Game 5 between the Spurs and the Heat is pretty important.
After a thriller in Game 1, the other three games of this series have been blowouts. Just about every player in the series has been extremely inconsistent too.
So the reality is that no one really knows how tonight’s game is going to pan out, but here’s how I see it going.
Let’s start off with Miami. The “Big 3” finally showed up in Game 4 after going M.I.A. for the first three games of this series. LeBron played extremely well, but it was Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh who really stepped their games up.
While I don’t expect Wade to score 32 points again, I am expecting him to have another very good game. It appeared that Wade has regained his confidence, and that’s all he needs.
Look for Bosh to play well again also. Bosh finally stopped shooting so many jump shots and got into the paint a lot more in Game 4. Bosh is very skilled around the rim, and if he can just get into the paint, he’ll find a way to score.
Miami’s bench only scored 16 points in Game 4, so look for them to contribute more in Game 5.
On San Antonio’s side, Tim Duncan has to continue to dominate in the post. The Heat don’t have anyone that can really guard Duncan on the block, so look for Coach Popovich to go to Duncan down there early and often in Game 5.
If Tony Parker’s hamstring isn’t fully healthy, the Spurs don’t have a chance in this series. Parker is a warrior though, and is going to give them everything he’s got tonight. Look for the Spurs to continue to put Parker in pick-and-roll situations to try to get the Heat to switch on the perimeter. If they can get a favorable switch, look for Parker to put his head down and get to the rim for a layup or a kick out to an open shooter on the perimeter.
The biggest wildcard in this series has been Manu Ginobili. He was atrocious in Game 4, scoring 5 points in 26 minutes of playing time. If the Spurs are going to win, he is going to have to play better. Look for Pop to put Ginobili in more pick-and-roll situations as well, and use him as more of a facilitator than a scorer. This would allow Parker to play off the ball and run off baseline screens, resulting in more switches and cross matches in Miami’s D.
Gregg Popovich is the best coach in the league at making adjustments from game to game, so one thing is for sure; the Spurs will be ready for Game 5.
It isn’t a secret that the Heat play their best basketball when their backs are against the wall, and Game 5 is very close to a must win game for both of these teams. I think both teams will come out and play very good basketball, but Miami will be just a little bit better. I could definitely see San Antonio winning, but I think the Heat squeak out a W tonight.
I picked the Heat to win this series in 6 games and I’m standing by my pick.
Heat 101 Spurs 96
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