NBA Finals: Spurs, Heat describe tipping points as difference in series
Spurs, Heat both say the Finals have been close until a particular moment, and then one team has broken loose in an unpredictable series.
To a man, members of both the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs said Saturday they're not surprised that there's been seemingly no momentum from game to game in the NBA Finals, and that each game essentially comes down to a "tipping point" of sorts. And there's no real momentum to be found, from game to game, in a series that CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel described as "unpredictable" Friday.
"It seems right now that whatever team kind of gets a little run at the right time, kind of pulls away," Tim Duncan said after practice.
Heat guard Ray Allen wasn't surprised at the trend because of how similar each game has started and noted that "breaking point" as well.
"If you look at it, I'd say at least the last three games were pretty much typical games, and then there's a point where they broke open for one team or the other. It's hard to say why it happens. We just want to create that momentum and carry it forward. "
When asked about how strange it is for the game to shift from team to team with every performance in the third quarter, Tony Parker mused "I don't try to understand the basketball gods since last year, when we won 20 games in a row and then lost four in a row."
For the most part, though, members of both teams just credited how good their opponent is.
"Each team is playing hard each game, " Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard said. "Shots are falling for each team. Each team is playing great defense. That's what leads to those swings. "
"That's how it is when you have two great teams in the Finals," Danny Green told reporters. "Great teams don't just let momentum swing and then let that team have the momentum. They bounce back and try and take momentum. It's easier to predict in other series, but in this series, there's no momentum because every team bounces back."
Udonis Haslem made it clear that neither team can trust in what worked in the game before.
"Each team makes adjustments," Haslem said. "You can't think the things are going to work that worked last game. But your focus has to be the same, your intensity has to be the same, your effort has to be the same."
Game 1, Miami actually led to start the fourth quarter. A Tony Parker steal sparked their 23-16 close to the final frame, and a game 1 squeak-out.
In Game 2, the Heat led by a single point with 3:11 to go in the third quarter. Miami unleashed a hellacious 31-5 run and buried the Spurs.
In Game 3, the Spurs lead 52-46 after a Chris Bosh jumper cut the Spurs' lead to six. The Spurs responded with a 21-8 run. Game over.
And in Game 4, San Antonio actually had the lead 61-60 with 6:43 left in the third. It looked to be a classic game. Instead, Miami went on a 42-26 run and left San Antonio in the dust.
The lack of momentum, the drastic swings, all have created an aura of instability around these Finals, and Game 5 could be the game where everything changes in a dramatic tone. Then again, we've said that after each game and been wrong each time. One superstar thinks that the reality is both teams remain confident, and it's all going to come down to execution in what is now a best-of-three series.
"Both teams believe they can win on each other's floor," LeBron James said. "Both teams feel like they can beat the other team up pretty well if they get to their game. So it's who gets to their game better that particular night and see what happens after that."
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