Road Ends For Miami, Title Quest Continues

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Heat-Spurs: Finals Hub

SAN ANTONIO – The road trips end for the Miami Heat on Sunday night when, win or lose in Game 5 of the 2013 Finals against San Antonio (8 p.m. ET, ABC), the Heat will fly and unpack as a group for the last time in 2012-13.

It wasn’t a winding road for the defending champions as much as it was a bumpy road with one big right turn: After going 11-11 in away games through Feb. 1, Miami went 18-1 the rest of the regular season. It is 6-3 on the road so far in the playoffs.

“Our guys have confidence winning anywhere,” coach Erik Spoelstra said at the team’s shootaround session Sunday morning at The Episcopal School of Texas on the northern outskirts of San Antonio. “That’s never really been a concern. Some of our best games have been on the road. You need veteran poise, experienced leaders to be able to do that.

“Now the challenge is, can we play our best game of the series on the road versus a worthy opponent who’s going to come in desperate?”

The Heat players and coachs are tired of the win-one, lose-one pattern into which they have lapsed since the start of the Eastern Conference finals. Several members of their group have said “Enough is enough” to the defensive lapses and slippages in effort or concentration that have turned them into a .500 club for most of the past month.

Yes, the competition has gotten more keen but that’s when champions are supposed to dial up their games, too.

That’s what happened in February after Miami churned along at a .500 pace through its first 22 road games. Focus understandably was a challenge for a team whose season would be defined by what it did in May and June, but the 11-11 start included double-digit road spankings from New York, Memphis, Indiana, Milwaukee and even Detroit.

Defensive letdowns – of the sort that allowed for San Antonio’s 113-77 rout in Game 3 Tuesday – were cleaned up as Miami began to sense the finish line even before it could see it, and the quality of play necessary to repeat. So instead of giving up 97.4 points as they had in those first 22 road games, they limited opponents to 90.7 over their final 19.

Not coincidentally, the Heat’s 27-game winning streak began with a 15-point victory over the Raptors at Toronto. They were just as good on the road as at home (19-1) after that. Miami’s 29-12 road record is as good as or better than any Finals team since the 2008 Boston Celtics. Its 6-3 playoff mark is an improvement from the first two springs of the “Big Three” era, when Miami went 5-5 on the road while splitting a pair of Finals.

“We knew to defend our title, playing on the road was a huge part of it,” forward Chris Bosh said after the regular season of the turning point back in February. “We stopped making excuses and got the job done.”

Through the 11-11 stretch, there were several things that Miami needed to fix and clean up before it could turn the road in its favor. But now, after four-and-a-half months in which they have gone 24-4?

“Hotel food gets old,” backup Shane Battier said, laughing. “That’s all I got. You want something deep and philosophical? Hotel food gets old.”

One more thing about road work in The Finals: San Antonio, which was 23-18 and 7-2 in the playoffs away from home, shouldn’t count on winning Games 6 and 7 in Miami, if it comes to that. No road team has in the 2-3-2 format.

43 Comments

  1. Filipino Idiot says:

    @Heat is Money…Sometimes

    what about that elbow Mario Charmers threw at Diaw’s neck, and Refs called foul on Diaw. That’s one of those bs calls you’re talking about right

  2. josiferg says:

    trade bosh. he is VERY INCONSISTENT. not cut for a superstar role. it should be BIG 3 only. he never carry a team even when he was so called “franchise player ” in toronto. he runs like mautbol

  3. GangstaP says:

    It’s sad that articles about the Heat’s struggles even have to be written. They are the best team in the NBA, yet they struggle so hard against well equipped teams like the Spurs. If the Bulls were healthy, Miami wouldn’t have made it this far or won a title last year.

  4. Arnel says:

    that was a good game 5. i am a HEAT fan but sad to say SPURS deserved that win. my guess was right about Manu.. he will show up and makes it hard for MIAMI. Good job on Green for breaking Allen’s 3 point final record. well deserved. game 6 or if it goes to 7 will be very tough for MIAMI although they are at their home. We heat fans better remember that SPURS beat us at home the first game.., that means SPURS is capable of doing it again. The only problem i can see for MIAMI is that they are over-thinking everything. i noticed the way they play during regular season is way different from what they do on this post season. They were more dominant on regular season..now.., it seems like they are sometimes scared of taking the shot thinking that they might get blamed. i hate to bring this up but Michael Jordan never had that feeling. He is always taking the risk when the team is in the verge of loosing. That is one heck of heart of the champion. that i think is what the MIAMI needs to do especially LeBron. Dwade in my opinion played way better than LeBron in game five.. they continue doing this procrastination… SPURS will win it… and i am a MIAMI fan saying this… sad.

  5. Heat is Money...Sometimes says:

    Heat in 7, win or lose I just hope the Refs. stop calling bs calls and let them play a little bit. Manu better get fined for that weak flop he did.

  6. Art says:

    Do you mean that LeBron & Wade go high again? Where is your ‘bird’ anyway? Overdose?

  7. Michaelp says:

    If le bron wills his might and lead the heat to win the title then definitely le bron has attained immortality. The quest to be a repeat champion is arduous and difficult. But if the heat will win then Miami has proven itself worthy of calling themselves champion of champions.

  8. W/E says:

    Heat will own in game 6, game 7 will be a close one…I HOPE..

  9. J says:

    who cares where u play they win no matter where
    heat in 7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Awesome win in gm 5 Spurs-yet still need to stop/cut way down the turnovers. I knew Ginobiliiiiiiiiiii would get hot-now he’ll stay hot-making plays is when he’s @ his best. TP & TD can just keep being themselves & everyone else Leonard, Green, Neal & the rest all have the confidence & fortitude to finish the job & win the next gm!
    NOW GO TAKE GM 6!
    GO SPURS!
    SPURS ALL THE WAY!!!

  11. Wii says:

    I knew Heat will lost G5 when I saw who the referees were. Heat lost 7 games in playoffs. 3 of them were officiated by #25 Tony Brothers and #13 Monty McCutchen. Heat fans, please pray no these 2 , #9 Derrick Stafford or #49 Tom Washington in G6 and G7. Otherwise, game is over.

    • jonny says:

      thats rubbish the heat are being outplayed, its not refs fault its lebron and the heats fault.

    • typicalheatfans says:

      what a surprise, a heat fan complaining about the refs, much like king baby james, who looks to the referee after every single play to complain. this is the finals, it’s for men not boys.

  12. REFS

    DONT ARGUE CUZ IT´S IMPOSSIBLE.

  13. Alex Swede says:

    why wont spoelstra play BIRDMAN!?!?!?!?

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      Because Spoelstra doesn’t know what the **** he is doing. He stopped playing Birdman, he started Mike Miller the last two games and he is being overall out-coached by Popovich, The heat need to fire Spoelstra and hire Doc Rivers or George Karl.

      • Carlos Segovia says:

        Too little too late.Doc Rivers is going to the Clippers.Just face it.Spurs is a better more experienced talented team,and WILL WIN the series for Manu,Timmy-,whoever is retiring- with the trophy in their hands,and most of all for Spurs fans and the glorious city of San Antonio.Quote me!

    • Marco29 says:

      Good question. He will probably ajdust in the next games coz Miller isn’t binging anything.

      • 34yr fan says:

        Miller is excellent off the bench and pretty bad as a starter……
        Birdman was pulled when they went to the smaller lineup…..

  14. Onin says:

    It will be game 7 in Miami…game 5.it will be all San Antonio…

  15. Lebron isnt Jordan says:

    Heat lose again. 8==================> Bend over Miami. ANYONE BUT THE HEAT in 2013

  16. Eric says:

    it’s funny how every article i see is about how the HEAT can do better, how the HEAT can win this, do that, defend this, make that play better. In almost every single playoff so far. Articles on how they can win vs what the other team should do is in a skewered ratio like 4-5:1. I mean if NBA wants to give miami the trophy just do it already, why keep dragging on? jeezalou.

    • Truth Teller says:

      Exactly! you ever notice 90% of all heat comebacks are whistle inspired. Even today! up 20, then the refs got hot from all over the court. 7 point game. It’s sad really. But hopefully it doesn’t matter.

      • Marco29 says:

        Again, the way they referrees whistled fouls in this game was odd. Some obvious fools commited on LBJ were missed and other unexisting fouls were called on Manu and Duncan. The Heat rally when they were down 20 was really akward. Calls were really strange and that foul called on Manu against Battier is a really joke. Battier should have been called an offensive foul on that one.
        Lets hope things don’t get worse once the Series goes back to Mami and that the results of this series will notbe decided by the whistles blows.

  17. Rob K says:

    The Heat in 6? Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. There’s no way the Heat can win 3 straight against San Antonio. Miami may get to be the champ but it’ll go all the way to 7 games.

  18. James says:

    Not a problem for the spurs, they will win game 5 then game 6 if not game 7 is going to be a tough one for them, but if I was going to bet on one team to win a game 7 on the road it would be the spurs. Miami had given them plenty of compatetion but I just feel likeas long as they win game 5 they will win the series but if Miami wins that makes it very hard. That’s why Spurs wil take care of business in game 5. Go Spurs Go!!!!!

    • Ur predictions are accurate, friend. Spurs chances for taking the O’Brian statue back to San Antonio looks promising. We will know Tuesday, for sure.

  19. gerald29 says:

    i can see the heat winning this one,,,backs against the wall attitude,,,,,its time for back2back..

  20. AJ says:

    These nba.com blogs slay me. Every day, they’ve got five different guys writing five versions of the exact same column.

    • DEAL WITH THE TRUTH says:

      In the middle of the Finals, do you expect writers to write five articles about Derrick Rose coming back? NO.

  21. HeatOn says:

    “Enough is Enough”!!! I think this is the most strange Play Off overall for Miami “Win-Lose” Win-Lose” is not what we are talking about in this series, The Miami Heat is more than a roller Coaster type of thing. Miami HAS to come out tonight to end this Joke and give San Antonio a well deserved rest!!! Miami in 6!!!!

    • Heat-N-6 says:

      Same here, if Miami wins sunday’s game this series is over in 6, I think the Heat can get it done if they play excellent defense like they did in game 4. Lebron even said in his last practice interview “enough is enough, its time for us to win two straight”, so I expect nothing less than a MVP game from Lebron, but if Wade and bosh have a game at least half as good as they did in game 4, and if the three point shooter step up, Miami should destroy the Spurs tonight!!!!!!!

      • guess what…your heat just got burned…and the spurs are gonna win it…so…bye :)

      • Deadpan Guy says:

        The moment your main man’s shooting % is down, you lose. Very different to SA who play as a true team.

      • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

        @ Don’t ever CLICK MY NAME!!!! You Have been warned:

        Sorry buddy, but the heat are going to win in a game 7 – get off the Spurs bandwagon now, because when Miami wins their 2nd title and back to back championship you will have nothing left to say! LOL

        #GOHEAT

      • Marco29 says:

        After loosing that Game 5, Miami has no other choice than winning 2 in a row. Since they don’t lose 2 in row either, it could mean, everything will come down to game 7.
        Even if Spurs loose in the end, there will be things left to say: congrats for a great season and for making this is a great series. I think they will have proven thier point to those who called them “old” and said they did not deserve their spot in The Finals (honestly, they are a much interesting opponent than OKC last year) and to the Miami bandwagonners who said they will be swepped.

      • GangstaP says:

        @LBJKIN6JAMES just asked someone to get off a bandwagon. What a joke. The Miami Heat “fans” have the biggest bandwagon in the world. The Spurs are gonna win it all so keep riding that bandwagon while you have the chance. You’ll be on another bandwagon in the next 2 years. Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7 championships will NEVER happen for LeBron. He’ll be lucky to leave the league with 3.

    • HEATFANSINCEWADE says:

      Agreed! Heat nation stand up!

    • Heat got burnt! LOL…@HeatOn…In Your Dreams, Loser! The Joke was when u actually thought they were gonna steal gme 5 in San Antonio from Duncan, Ginobli, Parker, and Green?