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Continued: Heading into a pivotal Game 5, a look at how the NBA Finals between Spurs and Heat stacks up

  • Article by: JON KRAWCZYNSKI , AP Basketball Writer
  • Last update: June 15, 2013 - 4:20 PM

—Game 5 is in San Antonio: The Spurs have the early advantage in this best-of-three by getting the first one at home in front of their loyal fans. It's a crucial one for them so they don't have to go to Miami needing to win two in a row.

—They have already won in Miami: Winning Game 1 last week gives the Spurs the confidence to go to South Beach and get the job done. They played almost flawlessly in Game 1, with only four turnovers and holding James to 18 points. So they know what it takes to go in there and come out on top.

—They have had success against LeBron: Prior to Game 4's monster line, the reigning MVP was completely flummoxed by Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and the paint-clogging Spurs defense. In the first three games, he averaged 16.7 points and shot 39 percent. Rediscovering the LeBron antidote would bode well for the Spurs' chances.

___

WHY THE SPURS ARE IN TROUBLE:

—Manu Ginobili has disappeared: Not just in the finals, but for almost the entire postseason. He is averaging 7.5 points on 34 percent shooting in the series and has played with a tentativeness and hesitancy that just hasn't been there for most of his outstanding career. If the Spurs are going to have a chance, they have to get him going.

—Tony Parker's health: The one player the Heat have no answer for is Parker, the shifty point guard who carved up Miami's defense in Game 1. But he has been slowed by a strained right hamstring that he said "could tear any time now." If it does, the Spurs are sunk.

—They've been sloppy: Since tying a finals record for fewest turnovers in Game 1, the Spurs have given it up 47 times. Miami's defense certainly deserves a lot of credit, but the precision and cohesion that have been hallmarks of San Antonio's offense for years were nowhere to be found in Game 4. All the mistakes allowed the Heat to get out in transition, and they turned 19 turnovers into 23 points.

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