Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Spurs top Heat to move to brink of NBA title


Spurs 3, Heat 2

TV: Ch. 28

Game 1: Spurs 92, Heat 88

Game 2: Heat 103, Spurs 84

Game 3: Spurs 113, Heat 77

Game 4: Heat 109, Spurs 93

Sunday: Spurs 114, Heat 104

Tuesday: at Miami, 9

Thursday: at Miami, 9*

* If necessary

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — With the old Manu Ginobili back, the Spurs looked like champs again.

One more victory and their Big Three, not Miami's, will be the one that rules the NBA.

Ginobili broke out of a slump with 24 points and 10 assists in his first start of the season, and the Spurs beat the Heat 114-104 on Sunday night to take a 3-2 NBA Finals lead.

Tony Parker, playing with an iffy hamstring, scored 26, Tim Duncan had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Ginobili had his highest scoring game of the season as the Spurs became the first team to shoot 60 percent in a Finals game in four years.

Danny Green smashed the Finals record for 3-pointers with six more and scored 24.

"I never thought in a million years I'd have this record," said Green, who is 25-for-38 on 3s in the Finals. "But there's still some business to be done."

Ginobili trotted out with Duncan, Parker and the starters in what could have been the last Finals home game for a trio that's meant so much to San Antonio. The crowd roared when Ginobili was the last Spur announced and it chanted his name in the second half.

"He's obviously very popular. … He's helped us have a lot of success over the years," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each scored 25 for the Heat, which hosts Game 6 on Tuesday. Miami needs a victory to force the first Game 7 in the Finals since the Lakers beat the Celtics in 2010.

"Our focus is … can we put together our best game on both sides of the floor in Game 6?" coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We do feel good that we're going home."

Miami's Big Three is a loss away from going just 1-for-3 in Finals to start their partnership, while the Spurs could run their record to 5-for-5. Of the 27 times the Finals have been tied at 2-2, the Game 5 winner has won 20 of them.

"We haven't really gotten beaten like that in a long time," Heat guard Mario Chalmers said. "It just happened (Sunday), so something's got to change."

San Antonio shot 42 of 70, right at 60 percent. The last team to make 60 percent of its shots in the finals was Orlando (62.5 percent, Game 3) against the Lakers in 2009, according to STATS.

"At times they were just picking one guy out at a time and going at us mano-a-mano," Spoelstra said. "That's got to change."

Ray Allen scored 21 for the Heat as Green shattered his Finals 3-point record.

The Heat was within one with 3:05 left in the third before Green hit a 3-pointer and Ginobili followed with the stretch that turned the game into the fourth straight blowout. He had been averaging just 7.5 points on 34.5 percent shooting in the series, making only three of his 16 3-point attempts. But Popovich made the Finals' second lineup change in two games, after the Heat inserted former Gator Mike Miller to start Game 4.

"This was a game that it was like we could steal it," Wade said. "But they continued to make shots. Credit to them. Their starters played big tonight. All of them made shots. They shot 60 percent from the field in a tough game."

Around the league: If the Clippers want coach Doc Rivers from the Celtics, they better be prepared to let go of guard Eric Bledsoe, ESPN reported. Apparently, the Celtics want both Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan in a trade for Boston's Kevin Garnett, along with at least one future first-round pick as compensation for Rivers. However, according to ESPN, the Clippers won't part with Bledsoe yet, because they plan to use him in a future trade once they're sure star Chris Paul is committed to staying in Los Angeles long term.

MIAMI (104): James 8-22 7-9 25, Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Bosh 7-11 2-2 16, Chalmers 2-10 1-2 7, Wade 10-22 5-6 25, Cole 0-1 0-0 0, Haslem 0-1 0-0 0, Allen 7-10 3-3 21, Battier 2-6 1-1 7, Anthony 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 1-1 0-0 3, Lewis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 37-86 19-23 104.

SAN ANTONIO (114): Leonard 6-8 2-2 16, Ginobili 8-14 7-8 24, Duncan 7-10 3-4 17, Parker 10-14 6-8 26, Green 8-15 2-2 24, Diaw 0-1 1-2 1, Neal 1-4 0-0 2, Splitter 2-4 0-0 4, Bonner 0-0 0-0 0, Joseph 0-0 0-0 0, De Colo 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 42-70 21-26 114.

Miami 19 33 23 29— 104

San Antonio 32 29 26 27— 114

3-Point GoalsMiami 11-23 (Allen 4-4, James 2-4, Chalmers 2-6, Battier 2-6, Jones 1-1, Miller 0-1, Cole 0-1), San Antonio 9-22 (Green 6-10, Leonard 2-4, Ginobili 1-4, Parker 0-1, Diaw 0-1, Neal 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsMiami 42 (James, Bosh 6), San Antonio 44 (Duncan 12). AssistsMiami 25 (Wade 10), San Antonio 21 (Ginobili 10). Total FoulsMiami 24, San Antonio 21. A18,581 (18,797).

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