As expected, Erik Spoelstra has gone to the Heat lineup that he started the second half of Game 4 with, a no point guard lineup.
Mario Chalmers has been benched and Ray Allen is starting for the Miami Heat.
Miami’s starting five is Allen, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh and Rashard Lewis. That lineup has played 9 minutes together in this Finals (they shot just 25 percent, but that’s a small sample size).
No changes for the Spurs who start Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Boris Diaw and Tim Duncan.
SAN ANTONIO — For the past 24 hours, when you’ve asked coach Erik Spoelstra or the Heat players what adjustments they need to make to bounce back from a 3-1 deficit against the Spurs, you get some variant of “we just need to do what we do better.” It’s not new lineups or new match ups — Game 5 Sunday night will be the 14th meeting between these teams since the start of last year’s Finals, these teams know each other.
It’s about execution and that’s what Erik Spoelstra said he has emphasized in the last 48 hours.
“We met yesterday and talked about our approach for the next 24 hours,” Spoelstra said before Game 5. “We had a good day of work the day before that. We had a good day off to clear our minds, and this is about bringing our best game of the series….
“We’re looking to start better, but regardless of what happens, we have to find a way in this game. And we need consistent minutes where we’re imposing our identity on this game, which we’ve yet to do for an entire game.”
Maybe that is because they are coming out of a soft Eastern Conference, where they didn’t have to play at their peak for 48 minutes to advance. Maybe it’s because this is Game 14 between these teams since the start of last year’s Finals and San Antonio has gotten used to the pressure and style of the Heat.
Whatever the reason, this is not the first adversity the Heat have faced and this gives Spoelstra confidence.
“I love being in the trenches with this group when you’re in situations like this,” Spoelstra said. “You reveal your character. You real what you’re made out of when you’re facing adversity. Everybody can bid in the situation that the Spurs are in right now. It’s much more revealing when you’re in a situation like this how you respond, individually or collectively. How do we respond in a game like this? I love bing in the locker room with these guys in these situations.”
We will see what the Heat locker room is like after this game. That also could be telling.
If you expected the two-time defending champions to just roll over down 3-1 to the Spurs heading into Game 5 Sunday night, well, I’m not sure what team you’ve been watching the last two years. They often need their backs against the walls for motivation.
Chris Bosh wouldn’t go the full Joe Namath and guarantee a win in Game 5 Sunday night, but he came about as close as you can expect speaking to Sekou Smith of NBA.com’s Hangtime Blog.
“We’re not going down,” he said. “So we’re going to win this game tonight … plain and simple we’re going to win this game….
“I don’t care about any guarantees we’re just going to win this game,” Bosh said. “Take it how you want it.”
What else do you expect him to say? “We plan on getting thrashed just like the last two games, we expect this will be over by halftime?”
The Heat are a proud team and one the Spurs had two games to eliminate last season and couldn’t do it. It will be three games this year and the way the teams are playing it feels like a longer shot, still you have to expect they will put up a fight in Game 5.
We’ll see if that’s enough.