Staying true to script, the 2013 NBA Finals produced another double-digit victory in favor of the team who lost the last game.
In this case, that team was the San Antonio Spurs who now lead the series, 3-2, after throwing yet another haymaker in the Heat’s face, 114-104. “Haymaker” though has become quite the misnomer in the series, as it has become a fool’s game to come out and predict the demise of one team following what had seemed to be a decisive loss.
Perhaps the same could be said about the struggling Spurs star, Manu Ginobili, whose retirement was the word around town in the wake of horrible individual games. But like Wade in Game 4, Ginobili—who had progressively looked creaky than clever—delivered a big, meaningful game after starting for his team for the first time this season.
More than the impressive personal numbers, the result gave his team two chances to close out the Heat at Miami, the first coming in Game 6, Wednesday, Manila time.
Seeing as no team has yet to win consecutive games in the series though, the safest bet is that this thing goes the full seven games—especially taking into consideration both teams’ ability to throw heavy-hitters from wobbly knees.
But before that, here are the numbers that shaped Game 5's outcome:
377: The number of days since Manu was a part of the Spurs’ starting five
The last time Manu was introduced as a starter was on June 4, 2012, when the Spurs bowed out to the then Finals-headed Oklahoma City Thunder. He scored 34 points, but his team lost.
Today, Manu amassed a double-double to the tune of 24 points, and 10 assists, as he helped his team get off to a fast start and thwart several Miami runs.
He even assisted the home crowd with the screaming
From his five-point outing in Game 4, the former Sixth Man of the Year shot 8-of-14 (57-percent) from the field with a classic combination of set shots from the outside, off-balanced floaters, and twisty lay-ups in the teeth of the D.
His performance was a reflection of the abilities of the Spurs’ offense—an offense that tore through the nets with a shooting percentage of 60 percent off of Tim Duncan’s inside play, Parker’s game-leading 25 points, and that Danny dude who happens to be next in this list.
Next-game-notes: After five games, the plot twists are about to run out: Lebron James isn’t about to shrink away from the moment; Tony Parker’s hamstring injury won’t be of any help to the Heat; Dwyane Wade has summoned his inner 2006 Dwyane Wade; Duncan is his usual reliable self; and Bosh has been reliable, if a bit quiet. And, though late, Manu finally graces us with his presence.
Short of Tracy McGrady erupting in the next game or the Heat’s Juwan Howard declaring himself as the missing piece in the Miami puzzle, the next game(s) will be decided by who can will themselves to one more good basketball play.
25 – The NBA record for most threes made in a Finals’ series…
…doesn’t belong to Ray Allen anymore, who once made 22 three-pointers in the 2008 Finals as a member of the championship-winning Boston Celtics.
The feat now belongs to Danny Green who made the record-breaking long range bomb in the third quarter of Game 5 on the way to making 6-of-10 three-point shots and 25 in total for the series.
Next-game-notes: If Green continues this incredible streak and the Spurs go on to win the series, Tony Parker might have found new competition for the Finals MVP trophy. We’re seeing even harder closeouts from Miami in the next game.
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