Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

June 16, 2013

Heat, Spurs set for pivotal Game 5 of NBA Finals

Spurs' Duncan calls game 'A must win.'

(Continued)

The Heat won only twice in San Antonio in their first 24 seasons, and now can win in back-to-back games, which would give the defending champions two chances to close out the Spurs back home. Game 6 is Tuesday night.

But the team that won 27 consecutive games during the regular season, the second-longest winning streak in NBA history, hasn’t been able to win two in a row since taking the last four games of the second round and the opener of the Eastern Conference finals.

The Spurs haven’t been any better at maintaining momentum, following their two victories in this series with turnover-filled losses by a combined 35 points, and Duncan said their focus has to be sharper.

“That’s what it’s all about right now, is that focus for a longer period of time. Taking care of the ball, understanding what you want to do and less defensive mistakes, and for whatever reason it seems like the team that’s coming off a loss has done a better job of sustaining that for a longer period of time,” Duncan said.

“I hope that’s the case for us tomorrow, but we have to find a way to alleviate that, whether it’s a win or a loss.”

The Spurs have never lost a Game 5 in the NBA Finals, including victories in 2003 and ‘05 when the series were tied 2-2. Sunday’s game could be the last time Duncan, Parker and Ginobili play at home in the finals, and they want go out a winner.

“This game is huge,” Ginobili said. “We don’t want to go to Miami knowing that we have to win both. Going there to win one of the two is a different situation. So Game 5, regardless of where you play, it’s huge for you at 2-2. We’ve seen it too many times. We really want to win this one.”

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