- Series Hub: Spurs-Heat
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.