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.

Lonzo Ball will never be as good as this fan-made video of him destroying people in 2K17

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Ultimately, nobody has any idea how good Lonzo Ball will be as an NBA player. Franchise cornerstone? All-Star? Above average starter? Rotation player? He will fall somewhere on the scale, but even for NBA teams it’s a guess as to where. (His dad apparently thinks he will end his career compared to Jordan, I seriously doubt that.)

However good he ends up being, he may never be as good as he looks in this 2K17 fan video made by Shady00018. The Lakers should pray he does: Dropping Stephen Curry on a crossover, dunking over Rudy Gobert, throwing no-look passes like beads at Mardi Gras? It’s impressive, if unrealistic.

Then again, reality Lakers fans don’t always intersect.

 

LeBron James on the Finals: “I feel good about our chances. Very good.”

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If there is one team in the NBA that can knock off the Warriors in a seven-game series, it’s the Cavaliers. They are the best team in the NBA at creating mismatches and isolating them, and in Kyrie Irving and LeBron James they have two of the best isolation scorers in the game. Cleveland is strong on the boards and is capable of impressive defense. Also, they have the best player on the planet.

If nobody else is confident in the Cavaliers chances, he is.

Here is what LeBron James said his confidence level facing the Warriors in a Finals trilogy.

What else is he going to say?

And if anyone should be confident, it’s LeBron. He can change a series.

From the outside, we saw a series last year where everything needed to go right for Cleveland to win — LeBron playing the best ball of his career for the final three games, Kyrie Irving hitting big shots, Draymond Green getting suspended, Andrew Bogut getting injured, Stephen Curry being off (due to injury or fatigue or just a slump). And even then took the Cavaliers seven games and heroics at the last minute. Now the Warriors add Kevin Durant, and it’s hard not to see this ending differently.

However, LeBron James is the one guy who can alter that vision. And he’s confident he can do it, he’s done it before.

Steve Alford: LaVar Ball never meddled with UCLA Basketball

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Is LaVar Ball just a harmless loudmouth, or will he actually undermine the team that drafts his son, highly touted guard Lonzo Ball?

The Lakers, who hold the No. 2 pick, are the most likely team to find out.

President Magic Johnson said LaVar won’t affect whether they draft Lonzo, but coach Luke Walton wants the team to ask UCLA coach Steve Alford about LaVar’s involvement.

Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times did just that:

Was LaVar Ball around the team much?

“Zero,” Alford said.

Was he ever at practice?

“Never at practice,” Alford said. “Never at practice; never called me.”

Did he ever try to meddle in your coaching?

“Never,” Alford said.

LaVar has said his other sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, will play for UCLA. So, Alford has incentive to maintain a productive working relationship with LaVar. The players’ high school coach had a much worse experience dealing with LaVar.

Alford vouching for LaVar means something, but the total picture is more complex.

Still, LaVar would hardly be the first difficult parent of an NBA player. He’s just the most public. Even if he’d try to meddle into the Lakers, they might be willing to handle that to get his talented son.

John Wall: Bench was Wizards’ ‘downfall’

Rob Carr/Getty Images
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John Wall left the Wizards’ season-ending loss to the Celtics talking about how badly Washington’s bench got outscored.

Now that he has time to reflect and isn’t just speaking with raw emotion shortly after a devastating loss, how does he feel?

Wall, via CSN Mid-Atlantic

“We need to help our bench,” Wall told CSN’s Chris Miller. “Just to be honest, that was our downfall in each series that we had in the [Eastern Conference] semifinals, our bench got out played.”

It starts from upstairs – just building the right bench guys and building the chemistry. That’s all it is.

I think that’s where they won the game at. I heard Marcus Smart say after the game that I had no legs. He’s basically right. I don’t make excuses. I’m going to play. If I miss shots or make shots, I’ll live with it. I know people will say he finished oh for 11, but I play – I took everything I had in me to keep fighting.

It’s just that their bench guys came in and played well. I think Kelly Oubre could’ve played a little bit more. I wish he would’ve played a little more and Jason. But coach makes the decision, and we stick behind him 100 percent. I feel like those two guys could have really helped us.

Wall – eligible for a designated-veteran-player extension but reportedly unsure about signing one – is clearly telling the Wizards what he wants. Marcin Gortat similarly criticized Washington’s bench earlier in the season, and he apologized. Wall has the leverage not to stand by his assessment.

Both Wall and Gortat were right. The Wizards’ bench was the source of much of their problems.

Washington’s starting lineup outscored opponents by 4.7 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs. Its bench (all other lineups) got outscored 15.5 points per 100 possessions.

Only the Thunder had a similar split in net rating:

image

The Wizards knew their flaw and tried to hide it. Washington’s starters played 34.2 minutes per game together in the postseason – second only to the Pacers (34.5). Wall’s heavy workload contributed to him running out of gas late in Game 7 against Boston, which Marcus Smart noted.

What can the Wizards do to upgrade their bench? Spend.

They sound committed to keeping Otto Porter, a restricted free agent this summer. But that would push them near the luxury tax – so they could scrimp on the bench in a variety of ways:

  • Don’t re-sign Bojan Bogdanovic, another restricted free agent. He’s in line for a raise.
  • Trade Marcin Gortat, elevating Ian Mahinmi into the starting lineup and therefore weakening the bench.
  • Trade Jason Smith, who might be expendable at his salary but at least still provides depth.
  • Don’t use the mid-level exception. That’s Washington’s best mechanism for adding outside help, but it’d be costly.

Will the Wizards take any of those cost-saving measures? Wall is certainly watching.