Game 6 Pressure High On Both Sides



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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Based strictly on what we’ve seen from these two teams thus far, Game 6 of The Finals should include plenty of drama and a Heat win by a comfortable margin. That would force a must-see Game 7 for the 2012-13 NBA championship, the ultimate stage for deciding a champion.

But it’s like LeBron James said, “the most important game is Game 6. We can’t worry about Game 7.”

The only game to worry about for both sides is Game 6, as the pressure on both sides will be sky-high. The Heat are in desperation mode to keep the series alive for a Game 7 while the Spurs need to avoid Game 7 at all costs.

Down 3-2 w/ final two games at home (since ’85)
Year Team Opponent Result
1985 Boston L.A. Lakers Lost in 6
1988 L.A. Lakers Detroit Won in 7
1993 Phoenix Chicago Lost in 6
1994 Houston New York Won in 7
1998 Utah Chicago Lost in 6
2006 Dallas Miami Lost in 6
2010 L.A. Lakers Boston Won in 7
2011 Miami Dallas Lost in 6

The basics:
Game 6 tips off Tuesday night at 9 ET on ABC.

The Heat have no room for error tonight on their home floor, and the atmosphere at AmericanAirlines Arena should reflect that tension. A team that won a NBA-best 66 games during the regular season (and a whopping 27-straight at one point) has to win the next 48 minutes to keep their season alive. The Big 3 experiment and legacies for all involved are on the line. The Heat are in survival mode, fighting for the right to utilize home-court advantage in a Game 7.

Meanwhile, the Spurs are 14-2 in road close-out games since 2003. And they don’t want any part of a Game 7 in the Heat’s house. The pressure is on for them to end this thing tonight and claim their fifth title in their championship era. The Spurs didn’t need the validation of what they’ve done over the years, but No. 5 puts Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich and both Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili (neither of whom were around for the first title in 1999) onto the hallowed list of the NBA’s greatest champions.

The narrative:
Did the Indiana Pacers expose weaknesses in the Heat that the Spurs have continued to exploit? It certainly seems that way, especially defensively. The Heat surrendered 113 points and 114 points, respectively, in the two games they lost in San Antonio and allowed the Spurs’ shooters to go wild. They’ve been unable to scramble effectively on the perimeter to cover all of the shooters and couldn’t find their way in transition.

It’s not about role players doing the dirty work either. James and Wade have struggled as much as anyone on the Heat roster on defense. Neither one of them has shown any defensive consistency and both could be spotted jogging down the floor in Game 5 as the Spurs converted fast-break opportunities.

Their activity level, on both ends, in Game 4 was the difference in the Heat’s lone win in San Antonio. They’ll need to bring it again to keep this series going. If the Heat are truly at their best when they’ve been punched in the face and when their backs are against the wall, so to speak, then they should be outstanding tonight.

The subplots:
Every game James plays is a referendum on his career, of some sort. So this Game 6 crucible will be no different from all of the other supposed watershed moments he’s played the past decade. But this game does take on added significance because it serves as the second time in his three Miami seasons that he’s expected to lift the Heat with a championship on the line. He failed to do it against Dallas in 2011, an effort that haunted and then inspired him to erase the memory in 2012.

If role players do indeed play better at home, then Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers or someone else on that Heat roster not named James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh needs to step into the void in Game 6. The Spurs’ outliers did their duty in San Antonio, (see Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Gary Neal).

Wade’s busted right knee hasn’t been an issue the past two games as he’s played through whatever pain there is and looks like the Wade of 2006 that powered the Heat to a title. If he has another Game 4 effort in him, the Heat need it now. As much as James dictates the mood for the Heat, Wade is the one player in this series capable of delivering a similar whirlwind impact on any given night.

Xs and Os:
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra played his Miller card in Game 4 and the slight tweak worked wonders for the Heat, who got off to a great start early with their small-ball lineup. The change seemed to wake Bosh up and he’s been active and assertive in the paint ever since.

Popovich countered in Game 5 with Ginobili in the starting lineup and the veteran swingman’s presence and impact changed the Spurs’ on-court dynamics. He attacked the Heat from all angles and sparked the Spurs with his best game of the season.

Now that those chips have been played, it’s hard to see either team tweaking their lineups again. Spoelstra could opt to go big again and start either Udonis Haslem or Shane Battier, both much better defenders than Miller. But the Spurs are one of the few teams capable of countering whatever move Spoelstra makes, which forces him into an impossible predicament either way.

Bottom line? The Heat cannot be as loose and lazy as they have been at times throughout this series and expect to do anything other than pack up for the summer after Game 6. Their energy, effort and discipline on defense will have to trigger whatever they do offensively.

Who’s hot?
After the Spurs’ Game 5 win, Parker admitted to being stunned that Green is still getting open looks against the Heat’s vaunted perimeter defense. Join the club, Tony, because no one expected Green to continue shredding the Heat the way he has through these first five Finals games.

Green already has the record for 3-pointers made in The Finals and is shooting a staggering 66 percent (25-for-38) from deep. Lost in the haze of his sizzling shooting effort in this series is the solid defense he’s played against James and Wade. Again, you can’t get any hotter than Green has been to this point.

Whatever happened to…
Chris “Birdman” Andersen? The Heat’s human energy drink has been missing in action in this series. A game-changer for the Heat with his activity and force around the basket, Andersen has fallen completely out of the rotation with the Spurs going to their small-ball routine.

Andersen has played just 38 minutes in this series, and not a single second in the past two games. If the Heat crank up the energy and get the game going at their preferred tempo in Game 6, the Birdman might be the ideal energy-booster.

Bottom line:

It’s win-or-go-home time for the Heat and win or face the daunting image of a road Game 7 for the Spurs.

42 Comments

  1. jonas says:

    It’s funny these guys are thinking way too much. Conditioning their minds that if the Spurs lose, it’s someone else’s fault. And there’s DIGITIOLI who seemed to be so drunk that he’s making a fool of himself with his predictions. If you think that the refs have a hand on these games, why are you still watching? Doesn’t makes sense. I admire you for having such great minds, why not create your own league, maybe you can make a difference. Just relax, enjoy the games. If the Spurs win then go ahead and celebrate. If the Heat win, go back to the drawing board and try to think of new issues to throw at them. It’s that simple. Don’t think too much, it may blow your brains out..lol

  2. katina says:

    May the best team win tonight… I am hoping it be the spurs!!!!!

  3. katina says:

    I hope the Spurs win tonight

  4. digitioli says:

    JimD54 sorry to say I think you’re right. Crawford is a completely in the tank from YEARS of watching him.
    If the refs can just call a fair game, the Spurs will win. Unfortunately, that is a VERY large if, and most likely a complete and total no-go.
    I predict:
    1 of the Spurs’ big 3 has 2 fouls early in the first quarter, and
    Miami gets no less than 6 calls in their favor in the first quarter.
    It’s an old, predictable pattern, not so cleverly disguised by the announcers as the “officials are setting a tone in this game, or “it appears the officials are calling this game more closely than the other games.”
    Seen it 20 times at least in these situations – probably more like 50 times.
    Prediction # 4 lebro will slap his defender on at least 5 shots he takes in the first quarter,
    5) he will commit at least 3 fouls via that action, moving screens or something else, and he won’t have 1 foul called against him in the first quarter.
    Prediction #6 james will get 12-15 foul shots in this game.
    Pay attention tonight, and read this again tomorrow. I’d bet a LOT of money that 4 of 6 of my predictions come true tonight.
    J Crawford is very predictable.

  5. Look out for the Bleh Bleh Bleh says:

    Pressure high on both sides? No. Pressure is only on MIA. Being down 3-2, and fighting the best playoff team for the year, the San Antonio Spurs, the Heat have no chance!

  6. Kal says:

    i’ve been saying it all along, only one guy that there is pressure on in this series: LeBron James.

    he’s the only one with something left to prove and a legacy up in the air. and he’s had a lackluster series at best, lowlighted by a pair of terrible games in San Anton. D-Wade has stepped up his play, amazingly, so now it’s all on “The King”…

    and maybe Spoelstra. but at the end of the day, LeBron has got to find a way to be truly great in these last two games. he is, after all, the four time MVP…

  7. Miami Heat Fan says:

    Miami Heat will win this Game 6. And for Game 7, so far it’s 50-50 because it will depend on how the adjustment made by the HEAT in Game 6. :-)

  8. JimD54 says:

    The Heat will be unstoppable tonight because of the Man, the Greatest of all time, the king of the NBA universe, the most game changing man in the game today………..Joey Crawford, the Spur Hater…..

  9. The Hammer says:

    IN fact the Miami Heat is a dysfunctional team because they can’t play team ball. I expect some crying to start tonight and finish on Thursday when San Antonio will dish the Heat a painful and well deserve defeat. As for the Two times champiom sneekers they can donate them to a charity group overseas. The Heat will cry uncomforted because fans across the NBA are tired of all of this elite team business and the NBA provisions to keep it going. Go Spurs Go.

  10. Series says:

    Its amazing Birdman hasn’t been given one minute in two games, He plays at 120 percent, other players see that and spark up, secondly he pays close attention to Le Bron on offence, he’s often in great position for a hand off or an offensive rebound. This does two thing 1,) obviously the points, 2) It makes things go well for LeBron even when they are not going well for him, and as we have all come to realise, an unconfident LeBron is an not a pretty thing. I can’t believe Birdman can’t even get a few minutes even when San Antonios bench players are on. Miami have to win this series because 2 out of three aint bad, but 1 out of three IS.

  11. the future says:

    I know spo will start ray instead of miller…mark my words…spurs in 7!!!

    has t-mac scored a single point in 2013 finals…?

  12. SM says:

    Miami is the world favorite basketball team. It is not only Miami favorite team. People outside USA also are supporting Miami Heat
    Miami is a better team than Saint-Antonio and any other team in NBA.
    So winning game 6 and 7 is a must.
    Go Heat.

    • The Hammer says:

      Wrong there Hamurabi! San Antonio is the most watch team around the world with 9 overseas players. I guess you just didn’t know that! Basketball fans in Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Germany, France and Australia will be watching. That is the benefit of having a cool team instead of a bunch of elitest star players.

      • sbfern805 says:

        CORRECTION! the LAKERS are the most watch team in the world. CHINA has a HUGE Kobe fan base and Of course Gasol from Spain.

  13. Give It A Rest says:

    The fear of losing and having to play a game 7 does not trump the fear of losing the series. For this reason the Spurs should have a little less stress going into game 6 then the Heat.

    Now let’s watch and see who the NBA picked to win this series.

  14. Why was Joey Crawford allowed in?

  15. reynol pers says:

    I am a Miami Heat fan but if they don’t stop the driving in the lanes like Dallas did with Jose Barrea that opened up the shooters on the sides. Miami Heat has to go at full speed all game and do not let the throttle go for the whole game and like Pop said take the stuffing out of them and let them know this is your time now they had theirs years ago

  16. theholyspectator says:

    this is soo intense…i honestly dont see spurs losin two in a row..however these are home games for miami..oh man somethings got to give in order for someone to win the title…will spurs break the cycle tonight and be crowned or will miami break the cycle of win one lose one by winnin tonight and thursday?..im pretty sure wit miamis back against the wall tonight theyll win, wont be a pretty win, as far as game 7 goes, i have no idea, youd think it would be spurs since its been goin back and forth, but it is a game 7..its the last game of the season, and with miamis crowd/energy oh man i just dont know

    • Stonewall says:

      I expect the Heat to win tonight but it won’t be easy. Bosh need to be active around the basket and stop lingering on the perimeter. Both LBJ and D-Wade will be great and if Ray hit those 3 pointers as in game 5 and a contribution from Miller and Chalmers then Miami will win. I believe Spurs will play hard to win and will burn out for game 7.

  17. George says:

    Just u wait, I know that the Heat will come back to beat the ridiculous spurs team and win the title!!

  18. george says:

    Spo has to start being more open minded in adjustments and decisions. I cannot understand the constant playing time for the starting five; if you see that a player is not responding, then probably is better to bench him. We have to see Birdman tonight, he is a better pick n pop player than Haslem and I don’t see much difference when defending. Bring Miller of the bench, that is proven he is more efficient rather than having him starter. Time to shuffle the cards, time to move to ball inside out, time for the guards to move without the ball. I don’t really understand why Lebron or Wade pick the ball at the high post making the Spurs’ defence to adjust; the ball has to keep moving.

  19. Mladen says:

    It would be so bad if officials decide Game 6. Miami’s 2013 post season is already marked with complains every time officials don’t make a Danny Crawford call. And with all the help they have from officials, they hardly beat the Pacers and now are bad with the Spurs. It is interesting that Heat played worse against the Pacers than in the Finals, yet now Spurs look so much better overall.

    • PARKERfakingHamstring says:

      Keep crying thinking that makes you an expert In sport that you have no clue of.

  20. ivysaur23 says:

    we’ll see about that..the odds are against the heat But i smell something or someone will explode tonight..prepare spurs..sit and watch..

  21. Dorothy says:

    Well so far,all the statistics seem to heavily favor the spurs…14-2 in clinchers? thats the best. Its going to be very tough for miami,although they may win this game,i dont see the spurs dropping 2 straight, they are too smart for that…but then again,when you’ve got the best player in the league, anything can happen.

    • Rose says:

      you mean the best player on the planet who failed a few times to win the games for his drama team? HA! NO SUCH PLAYER EXISTS ON THE HEAT TEAM! BEST PLAYER ON THE PLANET…SERIOUSLY…. HILARIOUS, HE DOES NOT DESERVE THAT TITLE AND NEVER WILL………………

  22. CC2 says:

    Well Joey Crawford is the head official tonight so there is a lot more pressure on the Spurs to win 5 on 8 than the Heat. The only thing that could be worse is if Danny Crawford was the lead official – no worries I am sure he will officiate game 7. Go Spurs!

    • PARKERfakingHamstring says:

      Are you crying now that its time for your sperms to taste their own medicine.Didnt your team RENT their own officials back in game five!!! NOW IT’S MIAMI,s turn. IT’S NOT FUN to see cowboyzz whining haha!!!

      • The Hammer says:

        At least The Spurs don’t cry when they loose…The Heat? a proven fact. Prior behavior, future behavior! Whiners.

      • Rose says:

        you are disgusting, leave your trashy mouth out of this please. ParkerfakingHamstring…

  23. Willy Spurd says:

    I heard a few comments from HEAT players regarding two games back in Miami? I think they are already looking to game 7 perhaps? Confident team that is down 1 game right now. I just don’t see the pressure on the Spurs, accept for Pop, he is going crazy. He might have to retire or take a season off after this series win or lose. He is ready to kill the reporters. Spurs have their game face on the whole game, Chris Bosh animated monster yells don’t seem to do anything for the team accept make them wet with slober and spit. Can’t wait to hear the silent Miami crowd going home.

    • afterkwiss says:

      We’ll see what happens tonight, Nostradamus.

      • The Hammer says:

        The Heat will start with their crying game tonight. If the refs calls this game right Lebron and company can watch their sub-team fall apart against the best well oil machine in the history of the NBA..

    • CC2 says:

      They are talking about 2 games in Miami because Joey Crawford is the lead official tonight – are you kidding me? The only thing that could be worse is if Danny Crawford refs Game 7. Mark it down he will be the lead official on Thursday.

    • UCantHandleDTruth says:

      Spurs dynasty (Duncan.Parker´Ginobili) rules tonight to earn their fifth NBA championship together over Miami’s dysfunctional and overrated big 3–SWEET!!!!

      • BOSTON FAN ALLDAY says:

        It will be Duncan’s 5th n parker/ginobli 4th

      • Ric says:

        it will be their fourth as a trio, Duncan will have his fifth

      • alp says:

        if you count miami out already your a fool. lebron is too great to count out until the final buzzer

      • The Hammer says:

        Yeah Lebron is an overrated player I agree with this post and with Dennis Rodman. The NBA needs to have a superstar player they labeled LBJ for the positoin the guy is not as great as Jordan, Majic, Dr. J, LByrd. Take it with a grain of salt you Heat lovers.

      • The Hammer says:

        What? LBJ is going to score all their points tonight? He will get about 30+ but the rest of them…will fall short.