SAN ANTONIO -- Get ready for the madness, Miami.
These crazy, unpredictable, back-and-forth NBA Finals are headed back to where it started for the big finish. Miamis championship hopes now teeter on the edge of oblivion after Sundays 114-104 loss to the Spurs in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The Heat, which trails San Antonio 3-2 in the series, must now win two games in a row to win its second consecutive NBA championship.
And thats going to be difficult. The Heat hasnt won back-to-back games since Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Were going to see if were a better team than our first year together, LeBron James said, reminding everyone of how the Heat collapsed on its home court to the Mavericks in Game 6 of the 2011 Finals.
After blowing out the Spurs on their home court on Thursday with one of its best playoff games in the Big 3 Era, the Heat looked equally as awful in Game 5.
After winning 27 games in a row during the regular season, the Heats bipolar act is now a troubling trend.
The good news: The Heat hasnt lost back-to-back games since Jan. 10.
But that provides little comfort for South Florida now that the Heat is one loss away from losing the series. The Heat must win Game 6 on Tuesday at AmericanAirlines Arena to extend the series.
Its do-or-die time.
The most important game is Game 6 and we cant worry about a Game 7, James said. We got a Game 6 on our home floor.
The Spurs responded to the pressure of a must-win scenario on Sunday with arguably their best game this postseason.
Manu Ginobili, inserted into the starting lineup after struggling to find his rhythm to begin the series, scored a season-high 24 points in San Antonios rout while also dishing out 10 assists. The series has featured four blowouts since the Spurs defeated the Heat in Game 1 in Miami by four points.
We just need one more, Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. I think everyone from the top on down wants this one really badly.
The Heat evened the series with 85 points from the Big 3 in Game 4, and the Spurs responded with big performances from pretty much everyone in Game 5.
Tony Parker, playing with a strained hamstring, led San Antonio with 26 points, going 10 of 14 from the field with five assists. Duncan had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard had 16 points.
And then there was Danny Green, the Spurs breakout performer of series. He had 24 points with a barrage of three-pointers, which always seemed to be wide-open looks at the basket.
That will be something that we have to correct, and we just got to do it better, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of guarding Green. Got to do it harder, and be more committed. Hes getting some open looks, and hes making some contested looks. But the open looks are the ones that are killing us.
Green made his sixth three-pointer of the game with 1:06 left to begin the celebration early in the Spurs final home game of the season. The shot gave San Antonio a 114-101 lead and gave Green 25 three-pointers in the series, an NBA Finals record.
Ive just been getting lucky, Green said.
Green went 6 of 10 from three-point range in Game 5 and is 25 of 48 from distance in the series.
Meanwhile, the Heat once again responded to a victory by playing terribly to begin the game. The Heat was outscored 32-19 in the first period and never led in the game.