SAN ANTONIO — With the Finals deadlocked at two games apiece, and with the scene shifting to Miami for what will be the deciding games of the series, Tim Duncan wasn’t afraid to put Sunday’s critical Game 5 in its proper context.
“It is a must‑win,” Duncan said after practice on Saturday. “We don’t want to go back down there down a game with two games remaining at their house. It is a must‑win situation.
“Obviously if we lose this game, we’re not giving up or anything, but we want to go back up with a chance to finish there. Huge pressure if we have to go back there and try to win two.”
If the Spurs see a repeat of the Heat team they saw in Game 4, where Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh all came through with huge performances at the same time, it certainly won’t be easy. But Duncan knows that.
“It’s tough,” he said. “If they shoot the ball like they did last game, it’s incredibly tough. They got a lot of easy stuff in the open court, some layups, and that can really boost their confidence. Defensively we have to be really on it, really get back and get in front of them. Let them see as many bodies as possible and then continue to play the way we have and hope they don’t shoot the way they did.”
The keys for the Spurs will be limiting turnovers, which will cut down significantly on Miami’s transition opportunities. Tony Parker said it comes down to focus more than anything else.
“We have to understand that their identity is to play aggressive defense, and they gamble and they’re going to take a lot of chances with steals and blocks,” parker said. “We just have to be smarter with our decisions.”
Should the Spurs struggle to contain the Heat’s Big Three for a second straight game, they’ll be faced with the incredibly difficult task of heading to Miami needing to win two on the road in order to win the title — which is the reason that Parker had no trouble echoing what Duncan had to say.
“I agree it’s a must‑win,” Parker said. “That’s why you play basketball, to live those moments. It’s a great opportunity for us. It’s a big game. We have to win. Simple as that.”