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Continued: NBA Finals all even, though games haven't been, and Wade expects good Game 5

  • Article by: BRIAN MAHONEY , AP Basketball Writer
  • Last update: June 14, 2013 - 3:59 PM

But the team that sustained its excellence for 27 straight victories during the regular season hasn't even been able to do it for consecutive games lately. Double-digit victories in Games 3 and 5 of the Eastern Conference finals were followed by losses, as was their first victory in this series.

"Well, Game 5 is going to be a big game," Bosh said. "I think we just have to stay in the place that we're in."

As usual, that may depend on James. After taking unusually long to get going in Games 2 and 3, he was out quick Thursday, making it clear the game was not going to be played on the Spurs' terms.

"I gave it everything I had," James said. "I was just playing as hard as I could until the tank was empty and that's how it's going to have to be for the rest of this series."

Of the previous 27 times the finals were tied at 2-2, the Game 5 winner went on to take the series 20 times. The Heat lost in this situation two years ago in Dallas, and the Mavericks finished them off in Game 6 in Miami.

Wade has never gone the distance in his three previous NBA Finals, but kept mentioning Thursday that there were three games left, as if expecting this series to reach a Game 7.

The Heat could make that less likely with a victory Sunday.

"It's going to be hard, the hardest thing we're going to do as a group is to try to repeat," Wade said. "And this team over here is not going to quit, no matter what. So we have to prepare for their best effort."

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