Spurs Beat Heat 114-104 to Move Within Win of NBA Championship

The San Antonio Spurs are one win away from a fifth National Basketball Association title after a 114-104 victory against the defending-champion Miami Heat.

Manu Ginobili made his first start for the Spurs this season and contributed 24 points, 10 assists and a spark for San Antonio’s offense last night at the AT&T Center.

Danny Green hit six three-pointers to set a NBA Finals record with 25 in the series, Tony Parker had 26 points and Tim Duncan added 17 points and 12 rebounds to help the Spurs grab a three-games-to-two lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals. The series returns to Miami for Game 6 tomorrow.

“We all knew how important this game was and we needed a win,” Ginobili said. “We couldn’t go to Miami needing both games. So a great opportunity now, one win away.”

The Heat won Games 2 and 4 after falling behind 1-0 and 2-1 in the series and need another victory to force a decisive seventh game on June 20 in Miami.

The Heat last lost back-to-back games on Jan. 8 and 10, yet Miami also hasn’t won consecutive playoff games since its second-round series against the Chicago Bulls.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each scored 25 points last night for the Heat, while Ray Allen had 21 points off the bench.

After a 16-point home loss in Game 4, the Spurs jumped out to an early lead and then withstood several runs by the Heat.

San Antonio closed the first quarter with a 15-2 scoring run to break open a 17-17 tie and open a 32-19 lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Each time Miami rallied, the Spurs answered.

One-Point Deficits

When the Heat pulled within 61-60 with 10:42 remaining in the third quarter, the Spurs responded with seven straight points, including a three-pointer by Green, who broke Allen’s record of 22 three-pointers in an NBA Finals series.

After the Heat again cut the deficit to one point, at 75-74, the Spurs closed the third quarter with a 12-1 run fueled by seven points from Ginobili, who became the first player to start in the NBA Finals after not starting a game all season since Marcus Camby for the New York Knicks in 1999.

“We tried to really push the pace,” Ginobili said.

San Antonio, which made 60 percent of its shots, also scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter and extended its advantage to as many 20 points.

“Once we got it back to one and felt we weathered the storm, we missed a couple shots we’re accustomed to making and it snowballed down the hill from there,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said at his post-game news conference. “We just didn’t show the mental resolve we needed to.”

The Heat got within 109-100 with 2:01 left before Parker hit a driving layup and Green nailed another three-pointer to finish with 24 points.

Since the Spurs won Game 1 of the series 92-88, the past four games have been decided by an average of 20.3 points.

San Antonio’s last title came after the 2006-07 season, while the Spurs also won championships in 1999, 2003 and 2005.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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