2013 NBA Finals Game 6 Preview
Series: Spurs lead 3-2
Date: June 18th
Time 9:00 p.m. EST
Location: AmericanAirlines Arena (Miami, FL)
With a big win in Game 5, the San Antonio Spurs are only a game away from their season-long goal of winning another NBA Championship. But to do it, they’ll need to win a second game in Miami. Despite a 3-2 series deficit, the Miami Heat still have home court advantage and have the remaining games in their arena.
The big catalyst behind the Spurs’ Game 5 win was, of course, guard Manu Ginobili. The reserve guard got a surprise start (his first of the season) and tallied 24 points and ten assists. The question remains: will Ginobili start tonight? As of Monday, it was unclear if he will. But with the result in the last game, it’d be pretty hard to sit him.
Ginobili had plenty of help in that Game 5 win with all of the starters scoring at least 15 points. In particular, Tony Parker and Danny Green scored a total of 50. San Antonio didn’t play a perfect game as evidenced by their 18 turnovers, but the Spurs shot so well that it didn’t matter. The team shot a blistering 60% from the field.
The one unit that didn’t thrive for the Spurs in Game 5 was the bench. Boris Diaw and Gary Neal ate up 48 minutes of action, but finished with only three points and four turnovers. Tiago Splitter added four points in ten minutes, but also had three turnovers. Someone from the bench should be ready to step up in Game 6 since expecting all of the starters to again go gangbusters against Miami is too much to ask.
Despite trailing in the series and on the brink of elimination, there’s reason for optimism for Miami. The team’s Big Three have by and large played well over the past two games, sparked by some big performances by the trio. Mired in an offensive slump, Lebron James has broken out the past two games, averaging just under 29 points a game. Same goes for Dwyane Wade whose 57 total points put him only one behind James’ 58. And even Chris Bosh has played extremely well, averaging nearly 20 points and ten rebounds per game in the last two contests.
As long as the three players show up, Miami won’t be an easy out – especially at home. The New York Knicks were the only team to beat the Heat more than once in Miami in the regular season. And in one of those games, they needed 50 points from Carmelo Anthony to win. The Heat lost only four times in the regular season at home and twice in the playoffs. San Antonio won there once in this series, but can they do it again?
The Heat also could use more from their backcourt as a whole. While Wade and Ray Allen have played spectacularly in the past two contests, Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller have struggled lately. Since being inserted into the starting lineup, Miller has been scoreless in 46 minutes of action in those two games. And starting point guard Mario Chalmers hasn’t been much better, either. Over the past three games, Chalmers is only 4-19 from the field and has averaged just over four points a game – less than half of his season average. Miami needs a bit more from those players despite the strong performances of James, Wade, and Bosh.
One thing is for certain – at the end of the night, we’ll either be taking in a fifth title for Duncan and the Spurs or will look forward to a historic Game 7.