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NBA Finals Game 5: Ginobili, Green hit every shot it seems, Spurs win 114-104

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SAN ANTONIO — All season long, when the Heat would crank up their defense and make a run, other teams wilted.

San Antonio stood up the the runs, executed, hit open shots and a lot of tough ones, and won 114-104 to take a 3-2 series lead. San Antonio will have two chances on the Heat’s home court to win one game and get a fifth banner for the AT&T Center.

Tony Parker had 26 points on 14 shots, Manu Ginobili started the game and came back to life with 24, and Danny Green also had 24 including six threes. Green is now the all-time three point leader for the NBA finals.

Game 6 is Tuesday night.

END OF FOURTH QUARTER: 114-104 Spurs win, they take a 3-2 series lead back to Miami. They can win one there, they couldn’t have done two.

:10 Fourth Quarter: Spurs fans mock the Heat fans a little with a Seven Nations Army chant.

1:06 Fourth Quarter: Heat got the lead down to single digits but a big driving layup from Tony Parker and another Green three and it is 114-101 Spurs. That three was your dagger.

2:32 Fourth Quarter: Heat make a run to cut the lead down to 11, really pressuring on defense, but Spurs still hitting tough shots. 109-98 Spurs. (Sorry for the slow updates, some serious wifi issues here, lost a couple updates because of it.)

5:18 Fourth Quarter: Tony Parker gets M-V-P chants at the free throw line. Spurs lead still 15.

6:24 Fourth Quarter: Much more active Heat defense, but that can’t stop the Duncan bank and the Manu fadeaway. 102-87 Spurs.

7:23 Fourth Quarter: Chris Bosh dunks and cuts the Spurs’ lead to 13. Pop calls a timeout because there is a whole lot of game left.

8:07 Fourth Quarter: Danny Green driving layup puts lead up to 18, but a Heat three makes it 15.

9:31 Fourth Quarter: No mascot does more costume changes than the Spurs Coyote. I’m not sure Quick Change does this many costume changes.

9:31 Fourth Quarter: Spurs are just executing at both ends brilliantly. 19 point lead and another blowout.

10:31 Fourth Quarter: Haslem is -20 in this game, why not try Birdman in that role? Meanwhile the Spurs just keep executing and have a 17-point lead.

10:31 Fourth Quarter: The commitment to going small by the Heat has meant no Birdman to protect the rim, they are paying a price for that tonight.

10:45 Fourth Quarter: Spurs defense has Heat settling in the midrange again. And they continue to miss. San Antonio just outplaying Heat everywhere. 89-75 Spurs.

END OF THE THIRD QUARTER: All season long the Heat have went on runs and just melted the opponent away. The Spurs do not go away and are standing tough. Heat resorting to a lot of isolation ball.

END OF THE THIRD QUARTER: San Antonio went on 12-1 run to end the quarter, not coincidentally they stopped turning the ball over.

END OF THE THIRD QUARTER: 87-75 Spurs, Manu Ginobili just torched Norris Cole again.

1:01 Third Quarter: Tiago Splitter reverse layup makes it an 11 point Spurs lead.

2:21 Third Quarter: Manu Ginobili with the and-1 on Ray Allen. The Spurs are playing good defense and after another Manu bucket it is 83-74 Spurs.

3:01 Third Quarter: It’s a one-point game on an interesting and-1 Wade hit a midrange and somehow Ginobili got called for a foul when Battier set an illegal screen on him. Green answered with a three 78-74 Spurs.

3:53 Third Quarter: It just feels like there is one more big Heat run left and the question is will the Spurs stand up to it like they have the others?

4:35 Third Quarter: LeBron settles for a three, Tony Parker takes the outlet and goes coast to coast for a layup. 75-69 Spurs.

5:09 Third Quarter: LeBron now blocked on a transition bucket by Danny Green, the Heat are getting the turnovers and shots they want, but not converting. That may well haunt them. 73-67 Spurs.

7:11 Third Quarter: Chalmers picks up his fourth foul. Heat are just losing guys on defense and the Spurs exploit that stuff. Plus Wade just missed a transition layup.

7:47 Third Quarter: Chalmers hits a three, 70-65 Spurs.

9:02 Third Quarter: Danny Green is human, he missed a wide open one.

9:39 Third Quarter: With that 23rd three of this series, Danny Green now holds the NBA Finals record. Early in the third quarter of Game 5. Ridiculous.

9:39 Third Quarter: LeBron and Wade try to close out on a Danny Green three. It doesn’t matter. Green is money. 66-59 Spurs.

10:55 Third Quarter: Heat open second half with LeBron three, LeBron steal leads to Chalmers three, Mike Miller steal to LeBron for foul in transition and suddenly it is 61-59 Spurs. And we have a game.

HALFTIME: Miami Heat shoot 10-15 in the restricted area, 3-14 from the midrange, 4-10 from three. The Spurs were just hot from everywhere.

HALFTIME: Heat shooting 42.2 percent, take LeBron out of that equation and it drops to 38.2 percent. LeBron James has 16 points, Dwyane Wade has 14, Chris Bosh 10.

HALFTIME: Spurs shoot 61.8 percent for the half. Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard have 13 points each, Tony Parker 11, Manu Ginobili 11 and 6 assits.

HALFTIME: 61-52 Spurs. Half ends with Tony Parker attacking off the dribble, getting all the way to the rim with nobody contesting him. Fitting.

1:15 Second Quarter: Duncan didn’t get a call when he was fouled, LeBron didn’t get a call when he was fouled. Things even out like that. Shane Battier just made a stupid foul on Ginobili (Manu sold that a little but there was contact when there shouldn’t have been). 57-47 Spurs.

2:14 Second Quarter: Teams kind of trading buckets for a stretch, but Spurs ran horns then got LeBron on the block against Green. LeBron winst that matchup. 52-47 Spurs.

3:24 Second Quarter: Heat made this little run with a point guard-less lineup. Wade and LeBron the ball handlers. LeBron on Parker 49-42 Spurs.

5:08 Second Quarter: Parker fouls Ray Allen on a made three. Four point play makes it 47-40 Spurs, crowd getting restless here.

5:45 Second Quarter: According to scouting service Synergy sports, Danny Green is making 74% of his catch-and-shoot 3s in the finals.

5:45 Second Quarter: The music played in the two arenas is dramatically different, let’s say. Haven’t heard Def Leopard at a game in a long time… didn’t miss it either.

5:45 Second Quarter: Quick 6-0 Heat run and it is 47-36 Spurs and Pop calls a timeout. Key play was a Bosh block on Dunan.

6:41 Second Quarter: Danny Green’s last three tied the record of 22 made threes in a Finals series. That was a beauty, a catch-and-release right over Ray Allen (ironically). 47-30 Spurs.

7:30 Second Quarter: Heat trying to drive and dish out for open looks, but that only works if you hit them. The Heat are not, Spurs are packing the paint.

7:30 Second Quarter: Another Danny Green three and it is 42-26 Spurs. That is 16 points for those of you not good at math.

8:35 Second Quarter: Great Spurs ball movement to a Danny Green three. 39-24 Spurs

8:59 Second Quarter: Live Mariachi band music between quarters… and they are dang good.

8:59 Second Quarter: Spurs doing it with balance — Duncan, Parker, Ginobili all with 7, Leonard with 9.

9:38 Second Quarter: Spurs are very active on defense, sticking with the shooters at the arc but cutting off driving lanes. Best game they have played this series so far. 36-22 Spurs.

11:05 Second Quarter: Tiago Splitter with a dunk at one end, then a block at the other. Then he fumbled one out of bounds. 34-22 Spurs.

START OF SECOND QUARTER: Looking at the shot chart, Miami took seven midrange shots in the first quarter, hit one of them.

END OF FIRST QUARTER: Spurs hit 12-of-19 in the first quarter, the Heat just 6-of-20. You can measure the Heat by how good their defense on any given night, and the Spurs are destroying them.

END OF FIRST QUARTER: A Kawhi Leonard three makes it 32-19 after one.

1:01 First Quarter: Borris Diaw with the offensive rebound — he beat Chalmers to a loose ball — and a dish to Leonard for the dunk makes it a 12-point Spurs lead. So much for weathering the storm, Miami.

2:29 First Quarter: Spurs on 10-0 run, and 8 of that is Tony Parker just attacking Norris Cole. Spurs also packing paint and Heat settling. 27-17 Spurs.

3:17 First Quarter: Last three Spurs possessions Parker just attacked. Last two LeBron possessions he settled for pullups. 23-17 Spurs.

3:46 First Quarter: Heat open shooting 5-of-13. They are getting points by attacking and fouls but not shooting well. Spurs 8-of-14 to start.

3:46 First Quarter: Parker just blows by Cole again — and there is no help rotations behind Cole, either. 21-17 Spurs.

4:09 First Quarter: Norris Cole comes in and just gets his ankles broken by Tony Parker, then bricks a three. 19-17 Spurs.

4:40 First Quarter: Heat offensive rebound leads to a LeBron three and we are tied 17-17.

5:56 First Quarter: Danny Green in for Ginobili. Great start for a guy who struggled in the playoffs.

6:43 First Quarter: After review Ginobili’s first three, it is a two, he was on the line. 15-12 Spurs.

6:43 First Quarter: This small ball is so much fun to watch — fast paced, guys attacking and others knocking down three. Why does everybody think this is a fad again? You can win this way if you have talent.

6:43 First Quarter: If you’re the Heat, you say that you have withstood the the Spurs initial charge and are only down 16-12 midway through the first.

7:11 First Quarter: That Popovich guy is smart, another Manu three. 16-10 Spurs.

8:54 First Quarter: Ginobili with five points and three assits so far, 13-8 Spurs.

9:57 First Quarter: After a pair of Ginobili free throws, LeBron got the ball and just put his head down and drove the lane. He’s motivated. But then he blew a dunk in transition. 9-6 Spurs.

10:45 First Quarter: Duncan with a nice dunk. Wade has all Miami’s points 7-4 Spurs.

11:36 First Quarter: Ginobili opens the game with a three over Leonard. That might get him going.

12:00 First Quarter: Mike Miller has a pregame ritual of jumping up and grabbing the rim in a dunk like motion where he pulls himself up. Probably will not see that during the game.

12:00 First Quarter: Crowd just goes nuts for Ginobili.

12:00 First Quarter: Darius Rucker — Hootie himself — sings the national anthem. Pretty good version.

12:00 First Quarter: When you hang out in San Antonio and walk around for a week, what you see are more Ginobili 20 jerseys than anything. More than Parker, more than Duncan, more than anyone. This city loves Manu.

12:00 First Quarter: Shirt for the night here in San Antonio is a black shirt with a big Spur on it.

12:00 First Quarter: It’s official, Manu Ginobili will start for the Spurs. Gregg Popovich had said the Spurs were concerned about the Heat’s small ball lineup, looks like this is his answer.

12:00 First Quarter: This is not official, but according to the stats monitors in house here Manu Ginobili is starting for the Spurs tonight. We will see.

12:00 First Quarter: We are still waiting on word of the Spurs starting lineup for tonight and if they change it up to match the Heat, who will again start Mike Miller over Udonis Haslem.

SAN ANTONIO — Welcome to the PBT Live Blog for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The series is 2-2 and it just feels like the winner of this game is going to take the whole thing. 

First — happy Father’s Day to all my fellow dads out there. Give your kids a hug, then grab the adult beverage of your choice and settle in for what should be a great Game 5. I’m Kurt, your host, and I’m going to be updating you throughout on the score, strategy, what is going on here in the arena and making some snide remarks. Let’s have some fun.

Kevin Love steps on referees foot, tweaks knee, sits fourth; expect to play in Game 5

TORONTO, ON - MAY 23:  Rapper Drake reacts in the first quarter of game four of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Toronto Raptors and the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on May 23, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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Once again Monday night Kevin Love struggled — 4-of-14 shooting overall, 2-of-7 from three — and once again he sat on the bench in the fourth quarter in favor of Channing Frye.

However, this time an injury played a role.

Love was limping around by the end of the third and said after the game he stepped on a referee’s foot and tweaked his knee. He also said this was not going to keep him out of Game 5, reports Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“I think Kyrie [Irving] was shooting towards the end of the third quarter, and I stepped on the official’s foot, and it didn’t feel too great,” said Love, who had a total of 13 points and 11 rebounds in Games 3 and 4. “More so the knee [than the ankle hurting]. Will be sore tomorrow, but nothing that will prevent me from playing.”

Love had seemed to find a groove playing with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to start the playoffs, averaging 18.4 points per game and shooting 44.9 percent from three in the playoffs as the Cavaliers opened the playoffs with 10 straight wins. But like a few Cavaliers, his shooting has gone ice-cold in Canada — he also was rejected at the rim by Bismack Biyombo. Frye has played in crunch time because he is hitting shots.

“I had a lot of great shots, I just didn’t knock them down,” Love said. “It’s a simple as that. I had a lot of confidence in shooting the ball, a lot of really wide open 3’s, especially to start that first quarter. A number of them went in and out, so I just need to continue to stay aggressive.”

This series is knotted 2-2, and the Cavaliers need Love to find his shot before Wednesday night’s Game 5 — the Cavaliers have a series on their hands.

Kevin Love shut down at the rim by Bismack Biyombo (VIDEO)

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Once again, Bismack Biyombo was a force in the paint that the Raptors leaned on heavily during their Game 4 win against the Cavaliers.

His biggest play of the night was this clean block of Kevin Love at the rim. Love passed to LeBron James in the post, caught his defender napping and cut the rim, got the pass back from James and… denied.

Biyombo also got LeBron James at the rim but was called for a foul much to the dismay of Biyombo, Raptors fans, and the ESPN broadcast crew (it was the right call — watch Biyombo leap across the lane, he is anything but vertical, he contacts LeBron’s body, that’s a foul).  Either way it’s worth watching.

NBA VP explains decision not to suspend Draymond Green; says very different play than Dahntay Jones

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 22:  Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors drives against Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second quarter in game three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 22, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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All day long NBA Twitter — and the Warriors, and the Thunder — waited for the shoe to drop on a decision about suspending Draymond Green for a kick to the “groin” of the Cavaliers’ Steven Adams.

Everyone just waited. And waited. And waited.

It took that long because the league wanted to be thorough — watching the film, looking at similar incidents (and the punishments there), talking to the players and the referees, and thinking it through. It was a decision with a huge impact on the series (Golden State was not winning Game 4 without Green).

So why did NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe decide not to suspend Green, rather upping the foul to a flagrant 2 and taking on a $25,000 fine?VanDeWeghe talked in some detail to Sam Amick of the USA Today in a piece you should read right now. This is just a highlight.

We have professional investigators that conduct the investigation. They talk to the players, they talk to all the referees, including the replay officials, and they all come back and report to me. I obviously discuss it internally, and especially with referee operations, get their perspective. But at the end of the day … every play is different and that’s the problem. You take into account everything. You take into account t what the referees have said. They obviously went with a Flagrant One last night, and you take into account the comparables. The problem with comparables is they never tell the whole story.

One comparable a lot of people supporting the suspension brought up was the one-game suspension for Cleveland Dahntay Jones just a day before (for a punch to the groin of Bismack Biyombo. Except VanDeWeghe says it was not comparable.

But just to talk about the Dahntay Jones situation, I think that was basically a completely different play. That, you had somebody (who was) tussling for a rebound, and Jones brings back his hand his hand is open. And as he brings his hand back forward and makes contact with Bismack’s (Biyombo) groin area, the fist is closed. And so you have contact with a closed fist, so to me that’s a very different scenario and, to me, a different fact pattern, so it’s very different from what we’re talking about with Draymond, that I viewed as a flail that is becoming, you know, pretty common amongst our players in trying to sell calls. Draymond does it a fair amount, Westbrook does it a fair amount, and a number of other players. Unfortunately, in this particular one, Draymond’s leg connected in the same Adams groin area, the same area, as the Jones one, but everything else about the call, or the play, was really different.

That is what the Warriors tried to sell, and the league came to find — Green was fouled but in trying to sell that call a little he accidentally kicked Adams where men least like to be kicked.

None of this is going to change anyone’s mind — if you’re convinced Green’s kick was intentional, and he should have been suspended, there is no evidence that will get you to think otherwise. This is just context, it helps everyone understand the process and the decision. More information is a good thing.

Raptors race out to lead, hang on to beat Cavaliers 105-99, even series 2-2

TORONTO, ON - MAY 23: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors handles the ball in the fourth quarter against LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on May 23, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Now this is some adversity.

After winning 10 straight games to open the playoffs, the Cavaliers struggled in Game 3 in Toronto last Saturday, but that felt almost like a setback rather than a change of direction in the series. At least it did until Game 4 tipped off.

Toronto again came out with fantastic energy again on defense, scrambling and contesting everything. The Cavaliers were not attacking (well, except LeBron James) and were kicking out for threes — and missing. As a team, Cleveland was 3-of-22 from three in the first half. Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry was hot on the other end, both hitting long threes and setting up teammates. Lowry was 8-of-11 shooting in the first half, 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, and had three assists as well.

Raptors led 57-41 at the half. They needed every point of that down the stretch.

Cleveland started the second half on an 11-0 run and came back behind Kyrie Irving (15 second half points), LeBron, and a more focused defense. With six minutes to go in the game Cleveland even took the lead. It felt like this was when the Cavaliers would assert themselves as the best team in the East.

Except the Raptors out hustled and out executed the Cavaliers down the stretch. Bismack Biyombo was grabbing key rebounds inside (Patrick Patterson had a huge offensive rebound as well), and Lowry and DeRozan remained hot — the guards combined for 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting in the fourth quarter — not taking threes (0-of-1) but attacking and getting to the basket an the line.

The result was a 105-99 Toronto win that evens the Eastern Conference Finals at 2-2 heading back to Cleveland Wednesday for Game 5.

“I thought we come back, had control of the game, was up three points, then we made some defensive mistakes you can’t do down the stretch, and they cost us — each time we made a mistake they made us pay,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said postgame.

This was another game where Toronto played with great defensive energy and the Cavaliers responded by settling — they took 41 threes in Game 3 (hitting 13), Monday they were 13-of-42. J.R. Smith was 3-of-11, Kevin Love 2-of-7 (and sat out the fourth quarter with a potential injury, he was limping). The guys that kept the Cavaliers in it in the fourth (besides LeBron, who was fantastic again) were Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, who combined 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting. But it was not enough.

“We’ve got to be more well balanced,” LeBron said on a night he finished with 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting. “We started the game, we had some great looks, but when they’re not going you’ve got to be able to switch it up and get into the paint and do what you can do. I was able to get into the paint a little bit, Kyrie as well, but we just haven’t shot the ball from the three point line.”

Offensively, the Raptors were carried by Lowry and DeRozan, which was the case all season. Lowry had 35 points on 20 shots and looked every bit the All-Star version of himself.

“He’s made shots,” Lue said. “He’s being aggressive. He’s making shots. Tonight he made some early baskets that gave him some confidence, I thought, in the first quarter, and he carried it throughout the game.”

DeRozan had 32 points on 23 shots and was getting to the spots on the floor he liked. Once in Toronto both Biyombo and Patterson have done a good job of switching up their screen angles on the pick-and-roll, and the Cavaliers get flummoxed by this.

“We’ve got to find a way to be more consistent,” Lowry said. “(He and DeRozan) need to find a way to be consistent throughout a whole series.”

Then again there was Biyombo, the free agent to be making the case he should get paid big this summer. He finished with 14 boards — including a number of key ones late — and three blocks. His presence inside has the Cavaliers hesitant to attack the paint.

This sets up a lot of interesting questions heading into Game 5 Wednesday.

Can Toronto play with the same energy on the road? Can Cleveland adjust to the Toronto defense and get back to attacking the paint? Will Lowry stay hot? Will Love regain his stroke?

The bottom line is this is a series now — best of three. And the Cavaliers are no lock to advance.