Manu Ginobili came out of nowhere to play his best game of the season during Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Spurs coach Greg Popovich made a bold move prior to Game 5 of the NBA Finals; putting Manu Ginobili in the starting lineup for the first time all season. The result, Ginobili scored a season high 24 points to go along with 10 assists, and the San Antonio Spurs won the game 114-104 to take a 3-2 series lead.
The Spurs are now one win away from the title with the Finals shifting back to Miami.
Through the first 4 games, Ginobili was a non-factor averaging 7.5 points, 3 assists, and shooting 35 percent from the field. He went off in game 5 giving the Spurs a huge spark, something Miami wasn’t prepared for.
Danny Green was brilliant scoring 24 points on six three pointers, breaking Ray Allen’s previous mark of 22 three’s set in 2008. Green has now hit 25 three’s in the finals and is shooting an un-worldly 65 percent from behind the arc.
Tony Parker bounced back big time from his forgetful 2nd half of game 4. In game 5, Parkers had a game high 26 points on 10/14 shooting. More importantly for the Spurs, Parker showed no ill-effects of his hamstring injury that plagued him in the previous game and was repeatedly serenaded with chants of “MVP”. San Antonio shot 60 percent from the field for the game.
Ginobili wasn’t the only Spurs player to come alive in the game, Boris Diaw showed up and was huge defensively playing a series high 27 minutes. When matched up with LeBron James who finished with 25 points, Diaw limited him to just 1/8 shooting. When guarded by someone else, James was a much more efficient 7/14 from the floor. Kawhi Leonard was solid scoring 16 points, and Tim Duncan had 17 points with a game high 12 rebounds.
Dwyane Wade did all he could for the Heat each scoring 25 points. Ray Allen added 21, and Chris Bosh had 16 points and 6 rebounds. No one else on Miami scored more than 7 points. Mike Miller was held scoreless for the 2nd straight game, and Mario Chalmers was just 2/10 from the field scoring 7 points.
It was a game of runs for the Spurs who ended the first quarter on a 15-2 run to lead 32-19 at the end of one. The Heat were able to cut the deficit to 9 at the break despite shooting 42 percent.
With 3:04 remaining in the 3rd quarter, the Heat trailed by one 75-74. The Spurs responded by going on a 12-1 run to end the quarter, which was part of a combined 21-2 run that gave San Antonio a commanding 20-point lead. Miami came back to trail by 8, but Danny Green put the Heat away hitting a dagger 3 to give the Spurs a 114-101 lead.
This game was all about Manu Ginobili finally becoming a factor in this series, Tony Parker looking healthy, and Danny Green being once again being unconscious from 3, but more importantly the Heat getting production from only 4 players. It’s going to take much more of a team effort for Miami to beat a tough Spurs team. The Heat especially need more production from the point guard spot with Chalmers and Norris Cole giving Miami next to nothing, and Tony Parker eating up both offensively.
The trend continued for the Heat in this one of winning a game big, to coming back the next game and falling flat. Miami’s bounced back all post-season and are 6-0 following losses winning each time by double digits. The Heat’s 27-game win-streak looks like a distant memory now, and Miami has gone 11 straight games without winning 2-straight.
If the Heat don’t bounce back for Tuesday’s night’s game 6, Miami’s season won’t end the way almost everyone in the NBA expected, with a 2nd straight championship. Tip-off for that one is set for 9pm from American Airlines Arena.