The 2013 NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat will last a maximum of three more games, and the defending champions would have home-court advantage in two of them.
However, if the Heat lose Game 5 the AT&T Center on Sunday evening, they will have to win back-to-back games for the first time since May 22.
With how unpredictable this series has been in three of the previous four games being decided by double digits, it's hard to say just what precisely will happen moving forward. What is certain is that it will be a captivating finish featuring some of the game's biggest stars and future Hall of Famers.
Here is the remainder of the Finals schedule, along with predictions as to how each remaining game will play out.
|5||Sunday, June 16||AT&T Center||8 p.m.||ABC|
|6||Tuesday, June 18||AmericanAirlines Arena||9 p.m.||ABC|
|7 (if necessary)||Thursday, June 20||AmericanAirlines Arena||9 p.m.||ABC|
Game 5: Heat 102, Spurs 93
It was precisely why they teamed up in the first place, and Wade felt that it was the best effort they had ever put forth at once—and it came on the NBA Finals stage—per Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD.com:
Dwyane Wade on Big 3: "It's been awhile since we all had performances like that... That's probably our best together all at the same time."— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 15, 2013
Anything reminiscent of that on Sunday will likely result in a Heat win, but what's also hampering San Antonio is the hamstring injury to Tony Parker, which he said is at risk to be torn.
The health issue may have lingering effects far into the offseason, and Parker indicated he would be resting if it were the regular season, as documented by Newsday's Rod Boone:
Tony Parker: "My hamstring could tear at any time." Said if this was the regular season, he'd definitely be resting. #nbafinals— Rod Boone (@rodboone) June 15, 2013
Head coach Erik Spoelstra could scantly hope for a better, more energetic defensive effort from the Heat that even saw Bosh diving for loose balls and becoming far more physical than he had been all series long.
Now that Miami has proven it can establish itself from a physical standpoint, James and Co. should ride that momentum and push San Antonio to the brink of elimination as the series heads back to South Beach.
Game 6: Heat 96, Spurs 84
How do you think the NBA Finals will play out?
Once Miami has the Spurs on the ropes, it's going to take a Herculean effort from the likes of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Parker to even have a chance at thwarting that kind of momentum.
But barring Danny Green and Gary Neal draining a combined 13 three-pointers like they did in Game 3, this contest should go to Miami in rather convincing fashion.
This is just too talented of a team to go almost an entire month without rattling off consecutive games, especially considering it was the same crew that had a whopping 27-game winning streak during the regular season.
With the way the Heat are battling on the perimeter and actively getting into passing lanes, it's going to seem all the more sped up in the hostile road environment for Gregg Popovich's bunch.
Now that Dwyane Wade has awakened after a monstrous 32-point performance in Game 4, he appears determined to capture his third NBA title. CNN's Rachel Nichols revealed what had Wade in a bit of a competitive funk before his recent standout performance:
Sat down w/Dwyane Wade for an interview that will air pre-game - says it's hard playing Spurs bc players are "too nice;" he has to...— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) June 15, 2013
...self-generate that aggression that comes naturally when playing Eastern Conference rivals. Says he doesn't know what some Spurs players..— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) June 15, 2013
.. even sound like because "they never talk out on the court."— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) June 15, 2013
If Parker can't effectively crash the lane and be his typical playmaking self—which is unlikely with a bum hamstring—it would necessitate Ginobili to get out of his funk. Not much suggests that will happen, as he's only averaging 7.5 points per game in the finals on just 34.5 percent shooting.
Popovich can only work so much magic. This is where the Heat repeat and establish themselves as a legitimate dynasty with the series' fourth double-digit outcome.