This series won't be heading to Game 7, as the Spurs will crush Miami's dream of repeating as champions on Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
After the game, there will be two narratives playing out:
- Where does San Antonio rank amongst the all-time dynasties in NBA history with five titles since Tim Duncan arrived?
- How will Miami retool this offseason to keep LeBron James in the long term after failing to win a title in two of three finals appearances?
Miami would appear to have a clear advantage in this contest. With a 37-4 record at home during the regular season and an 8-3 record there during the postseason, the Heat have been tough to defeat in front of their home crowd. Furthermore, Miami hasn't lost two games in a row since January.
But trends always come to an end, and the Spurs are ready to bury Miami's streak six feet under in Game 6.
Tony Parker and Gary Neal are significantly better than Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. Even with a gimpy leg, Parker has been able to maneuver at will into the paint to set up a scoring opportunity for himself or for one of his teammates.
It's Parker who has been the catalyst for San Antonio's incredible three-point barrage thus far. San Antonio has been able to spring Parker loose inside using simple pick-and-rolls on a regular basis. Once Miami's defenders start rotating, that's when the Spurs kick the passing game into high gear.
Danny Green, Manu Ginobili or Neal end up shooting wide-open perimeter shots that have been finding the net more often than not.
Speaking of Green, he's making three-point shots at a pace we've never before seen in an NBA Finals. He broke Ray Allen's record of 23 made three-pointers in a finals series in Game 5, as noted by ESPN's Numbers Never Lie:
With just five more made threes, Green will break Reggie Miller's all-time postseason record of 58, as ESPN's Jared Zwerling noted after Game 5:
Needless to say, Miami has been embarrassed by its lack of perimeter defense. When asked how Green had been consistently shooting open shots, Chris Bosh told David Aldridge, "He won't be open tonight."
So we know Miami will be making a point of guarding Green, but the shift will only make it easier for San Antonio to attack the interior of Miami's defense.
With a concerted effort at stopping the outside shot, Miami will unwittingly fall prey to the greater danger, which is the pick-and-roll game with Parker and Tim Duncan/Tiago Splitter.
It's something we've seen at times during this series when Miami has opted to keep a couple of defenders on the perimeter. Parker will penetrate, then dish out to one of the men outside while Duncan or Splitter dart into the lane.
With all the movement to guard the shooters outside, Duncan and Splitter have been able to score easy buckets inside as the shooters find them wide-open in the paint.
No matter what Miami does tonight, San Antonio will find a way to take advantage of the interior defense of the Heat. The biggest reason the Spurs have had so many open shots outside is because there isn't an enforcer inside.
Thus, James and Dwyane Wade have spent a lot of time in the paint to help Bosh.
Miami simply doesn't have an answer for Parker's penetration. One way or another—whether it's Green and the gang launching threes or Duncan and Splitter pounding the paint—San Antonio will win Game 6.
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