Giving up huge runs to close 1st, 3rd quarters doom Heat in Game 5 of NBA Finals

  • Article by: TIM REYNOLDS , AP Basketball Writer
  • Updated: June 17, 2013 - 5:30 AM

SAN ANTONIO — Until Tuesday night, the Miami Heat will be lamenting 8 bad minutes.

Eight very bad minutes, actually.

So bad that they took away any realistic chance of winning Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night. So bad that they put the reigning champions on the brink of elimination. So bad that they ensured the Heat season can only be saved by winning two games in Miami, or else they will face the indignity of watching an opponent celebrate a title on their floor for the second time in three years.

San Antonio closed the first quarter on a 15-2 run, then wrapped up the third with a 12-1 burst. And those flurries generated more than enough cushion than the Spurs would need on the way to a 114-104 win that put them one win away from their fifth championship since 1999.

"We haven't really gotten beaten like that in a long time," Heat guard Mario Chalmers said. "It just happened tonight, so something's got to change."

In those two bursts, the Spurs shot a combined 10 for 12. The Heat, 1 for 11.

More than anything else, those two stretches will be the ones that cause the Heat to cringe when they watch the tape Monday.

"We're going to have to look at it and we're going to have to answer that question," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "There's no doubt about it. ... Can we put together our best game on both sides of the floor in Game 6? We do feel good that we're going home, but we've got to earn back that home court."

Game 6 is in Miami on Tuesday. Game 7, if necessary, would also be there Thursday.

It was 17-17 with 4:45 left in the first after LeBron James it for Miami with a 3-pointer. Score at the end of the first: Spurs 32, Heat 19, and it wasn't just the ending that was bad for Miami. The Heat shot 30 percent in the period, their third-worst performance from the field of the entire season — while the Spurs sizzled away at 63 percent.

Slowly, things moved toward evening out. And an inspired start to the third by Miami cut what was a nine-point deficit at intermission to just 61-60 in the first 1:17 of the second half. Then with 3:05 left in the third, a jumper by Dwyane Wade, followed by a free throw by Shane Battier on the same play (he was fouled while setting a screen) got the Heat within one again, 75-74.

That's when the bottom fell out — again.

"Once we got it back to one, we felt that we'd weathered the storm," Spoelstra said. "Then we missed a couple shots that we normally are accustomed to making, and it just snowballed downhill from there."

Danny Green made a 3-pointer to start the San Antonio surge to close the third, and Manu Ginobili scored seven more points before the end of the period to help push the Spurs' margin to 12 at 87-75 entering the fourth.

By then, the Spurs had more than enough space to weather Miami's last rally. The Heat cut it to 109-101 with just inside of 2 minutes to go, which surely made getting outscored by 24 combined points to end the first and third quarters hurt that much more.

"We kept fighting. We kept feeling like we had a chance," Wade said. "This was a game that it was like we could steal it. But they continued to make shots. Credit to them. Their starters played big tonight. All of them made shots. They shot 60 percent from the field in a tough game."

For their part, the Spurs said they weren't doing anything special — which is pretty much the standard Spurs explanation for just about everything.

But those runs to end the first and the third, they had a marked effect on the scoreboard, on the Heat sideline psyche and on the San Antonio crowd, which cheered its team for the final time in a home game this season.

Now they'll wait and see if the Spurs will be coming home for a parade.

"We cleaned up a couple of mistakes," Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. "We're just trying to make their life as hard as possible. There are three incredible players that obviously have gotten their team to this point for three years in a row. They're some of the best players in the league. All we can do is try to do the best we can to make their life as hard as possible."

Mission accomplished on that front in Game 5.

After playing uphill basketball all night, the Heat had enough gas left in the fourth to make things interesting late, but not hardly enough for a miracle comeback. So it's the Spurs one game away from the title.

And now, Miami's task is simple.

Win Tuesday, then win Thursday — or else.

"Ain't got no choice, now," Heat guard Mike Miller said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
UCLA 57
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close