Key to Game 6: First 5 Minutes … Maybe


MIAMI – San Antonio has the advantage in games, Miami has the advantage in urgency. And there’s not much Spurs coach Gregg Popovich can say that is going to change any of that, heading into Game 6 of the 2013 Finals Tuesday night (9 p.m. ET, ABC) at AmericanAirlines Arena.

There’s not much that Popovich can say, frankly, that could change much of anything for his team. At least as he tells it.

“This group’s been together for a while now, the core group,” Popovich said after San Antonio’s morning shootaround session. “I kind of have the feeling that by now, when I start to speak, they either roll their eyes or they shut off their ears or, like Timmy [Duncan], he looks at me and says, ‘I got it’ and I don’t have to say anything.

“They’re all pros. As I’ve said a lot of times, they’ve got kids, they’ve got families, they all know what their jobs are. That’s one of the reasons we’re in The Finals. That’s why Miami’s in The Finals. They do their jobs.”

The job for the Heat is clear: Survive, for a chance to do it all again in a Game 7 that would be played Thursday. Flex whatever edge playing at home provides. Beat a savvy opponent that is 3-0 in close-out games this postseason.

The job for the Spurs might be just as daunting: Get it done now. Don’t be thinking about a backup plan for Game 7 while trying to nail down Game 6. Bring that road focus (San Antonio is 29-19 in away games since the start of the season).

Oh, and do it against LeBron James and the NBA’s defending champions at their most desperate and driven.

Facing an opponent that’s facing elimination, the Spurs know the Heat and coach Erik Spoelstra will hold nothing back. Any scheme, any lineup, any gamble will be in play as needed.

“You think about different scenarios that an opponent might use,” Popovich said. “Usually you’re wasting your time because it’s just basketball. We all do what we do. We try to throw in a wrinkle, we try to do this or do that. But basically teams are who they are.”

Who Miami is in Game 6 might be made known real fast, Spurs guard Danny Green said. Green already expects more attentive coverage from the Heat defense – a nod to his 25-of-38 3-point shooting so far in the series, as vowed by Heat forward Chris Bosh at his team’s shootaround. The more defensive resources Miami devotes to him, Green said, the more likely something else in San Antonio’s offense will come open.

Mostly, Green thinks the champs will hit the court hard, in every way possible, in the first five minutes after tipoff. And that, he said ,will be good for both sides.

“I think a lot of guys are tired. Have a lot of butterflies,” Green said. “I think that first five minutes, you kind of settle in and get more of a handle on the game. And how the rhythm’s going to go and how the referees are going to call it. How they’re attacking and how we’re attacking. How well we’re shooting.

“The first five minutes is what we adjust to.”

The first five minutes might be more of an esoteric, “feel” thing – because it has predicted nothing so far between these teams. At 7:00 of the first quarter, San Antonio has led four times and been tied once, with no correlation to winning or losing the game. Even in Miami’s two blowout victories in Games 2 and 4, the Spurs each time led by five after five.


  1. cruzeroHEAT says:

    not first, last 5 minutes.

  2. Isaac says:

    The Spurs team will extinguish the heat in game 6 or game 7 it really doesnt matter everyone on the spurs are very smart vs not so smart aka the heat. I think next year one of the big 3 for the heat will get traded that saying lebron will never get a ring lol. And stop comparing him to MJ this man is nothing like MJ or even close to how he plays. Now Kobe Bryant he is close to MJ all he needs Is one more ring. Im a Huge laker fan since Kobe first was on the lakers.

  3. Jeff says:

    I expect Miami to win both games 6 and 7. Both will be tight and hard fought. All major players from both teams will contribute. I expect the games both to be like Game 1–close. The referees won’t be the difference. The determining factors will be shooting percentage of each team versus its turnovers. I expect both teams to hustle and get offensive boards.

    I really can’t lose in this series–I like both teams. I’m actually a Cleveland fan who has followed Lebron’s career to Miami because I enjoy watching him play.

  4. Juan Luis Martinez says:

    These are the moments where the greatness of a player like MJ make a difference, both teams are excellent, no doubt about that, let’s see if LeBron can throw the team on his shoulder and get ahead, it’s time to show who is ready to win the Championship and who deserves it

  5. fan says:

    It’s funny how many spurs fans there are when they’re in the finals compared to regular season. Both great teams, both huge obstacles to over come for the winner. Every body says you have to beat Lebron cause he’s going to be on the floor all game if they need him to be, thus he needs to be beat.

  6. 34yr fan says:

    I couldn’t agree more…..

  7. UCantHandleDTruth says:

    How about, Keys to Winning Championships: Humility, Efficiency, Discipline, and Poise (SPURS) vs Arrogance, Inadequacy, Negligence, and Intemperance (HEAT). You bet yah–Spurs in 6 and 5th NBA Title!!! Sorry Heat fans, try again next year-Woohoo!!!

  8. Loki says:

    All this overhyping of Lebron James will only make the Spurs look like the greatest franchise in history if the Spurs take the title. These blogs make beating Lebron sound like taking the championship from Jordan in his prime.

    Of course the media will instead chastise Lebron rather than give the spurs any credit.