SAN ANTONIO -- An attacking, aggressive Dwyane Wade again gave the Heat more than he could muster for much of these playoffs. But collectively, the Big Three especially LeBron James couldnt replicate its Game 4 breakout.
James and Wade each scored 25 points in Game 5, but the perception of their nights differed, and justifiably so.
Wade was the more efficient player Sunday, dishing out 10 assists and finishing 10 for 22 from the field, with two blocks, a steal and four rebounds.
James, meantime, had a nightmarish second half, shooting 2 for 11 and closing 8 for 22 from the field. And in the first half, he didnt make his usual impact in other facets of the game, going to halftime with one assist and no rebounds or steals.
Chris Bosh managed just six points and one rebound in the second half, and overall, Tim Duncan outscored him (17 to 16) and out-rebounded him (12 to 6).
The Big Threes combined scoring total of 66 points was 19 off its output in Game 4. And unlike Game 4, none of the three could make enough of an imprint on this game defensively, each victimized at various times.
Everyone was taking turns breaking down our defense, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. Offensively, we werent very efficient.
Danny Green, defended part of the game by Wade, scored 24, and James who guarded an assortment of players didnt play at the level that allowed him to finish second in Defensive Player of the Year balloting.
This is the kind of team that capitalizes on any mistake you make, Wade said. Danny Green is making shots give him credit. We have to do a better job of knowing where their shooters are at all times. He got away from us a few times.
Unlike the first three games of this series, James managed to top 20 points. But these felt like something of an empty 25. The biggest issue was his offensive inefficiency, surprising for a player that shot a career-high 56.5 percent this season.
He missed 8 of 9 shots during a lengthy stretch covering the entire third quarter and much of the fourth, including three misses a 12-footer, a 5-footer and a layup -- during the Spurs 19-1 run to end the third and start the fourth. Boris Diaw did an especially effective job defending James.
After making a three-pointer 43 seconds into the second half, James didnt hit another shot until a layup with 3:27 left in the game, and the Heat down 17. His misses included among others -- two threes, a layup and a two other shots from short range.
And after the Heat cut the Spurs lead to 11 soon after, James was called for a foul on a moving screen, negating a Ray Allen three-pointer with 2:23 left.
That epitomized a frustrating night for James that included three missed layups, an airball on a four-footer, an inability to convert an alley-oop from Mario Chalmers (the pass was hardly perfect) and not a single rebound in the first half.
This was especially disappointing: James came up empty during both of the Spurs monster runs -- both the 19-1 second-half burst and a 22-7 first-half spurt, during which James shot 0 for 3.
James had only one dominant stretch in the game, and it was too brief: a nine-point tear late in the first half. He finished with eight assists, six rebounds and four steals, but also three turnovers.
I missed a lob, I missed two layups in the same possession, James said. D-Wade missed a couple of layups. Those we arent worried about. Those are shots we normally make.