Chris Bosh made the declaration hours before Game 6.
Spurs guard Danny Green won’t be open tonight,” Bosh assured Tuesday morning. “We’ll see how he shoots it with somebody always on him.”
Turns out, Bosh’s guarantee didn’t hold up. But the Heat at least did a better job of keeping him in check in the first half.
After missing a good look on a three-pointer in the first quarter — with Mario Chalmers racing over to put up a hand after the shot already had been launched — Green drained an open three early in the second quarter. The key on that play was Tiago Splitter’s screen, which kept Shane Battier from offering deterrence.
But that was Green’s only basket of the first half. He didn’t shoot again before intermission.
Several players defended Green, with Dwyane Wade handling the primary assignment. Asked before the game about Bosh’s assurance, Wade said: “I’m not going to worry about one guy.”
Green, who entered having already set the record for most three-pointers in an NBA Finals series, seemed unfazed by Bosh’s pregame chatter.
“I’m sure they are going to have somebody making sure I don’t get the ball and make sure I don’t get open looks,” he said before the game. “But I feel as if we have so many threats out there, they can’t just focus on one guy. … You have to give up something. You can’t take away everything.”
According to ESPN, 24 of Green’s 38 shots in the first five games were open looks. Green made 18 of those uncontested shots, and 7 of 14 when guarded closely.
Battier said “the puzzling part” of Green’s success is “he doesn’t have any plays run for him. It’s not like Ray Allen coming off a screen. Most of his threes have come off defensive breakdowns on our part.”
Not a breeze
Several Heat players said Tuesday morning that it was never realistic for fans to expect the Heat to easily steamroll through these playoffs — despite the 27-game winning streak, despite last year’s championship breakthrough and despite several contenders being depleted by injuries.
“That’s not realistic at all — to think you’re going to breeze through the playoffs,” Bosh said. “It never happens like that. It’s not easy. Nothing worth gaining is easy. If people wanted a championship and think it was going to be easy — tough to break it to them, but we’re in Game 6 right now and we’re behind.”
Said Battier: “The Spurs are our equal, no question. Play the same way. Same level of experience. Playoffs are never easy, no matter how good you are. We’ve played two teams, in Chicago and Indiana, that played us very well in the regular season. For anybody to think we would sweep those guys, they weren’t watching the regular season.”
But Battier said one concern is “we have not had the best mental fortitude when things aren’t going well. We have to handle that adversity a little better.”
• On Tuesday, coach Erik Spoelstra deemed the Heat and Spurs “two equal opponents.”
• The Heat entered Game6 believing this team was better equipped to handle a Finals elimination game than in the 2011 Finals. We’ve been hardened. We’ve learned how to compartmentalize,” Spoelstra said.
This and that
• Several Heat people were grilled by an ESPN reporter wondering how — during the NBA Finals — the Heat can have issues with lack of attention to detail, leaving shooters open and arguing with referees.
“They argue with referees, too,” Bosh responded. “Don’t get it twisted!”
• Spoelstra said that one of the reasons the Heat signed Udonis Haslem in 2003 was “the Spurs were about to sign him. We both like the same type of player. It’s not a coincidence. We’re defensive-structure, culture-based organizations.”
• Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said though winning a championship is a “big deal, a big deal for a while” that “it’s not the most important thing in the world. …You go after it and then life goes on.”
• Though Popovich is known for connecting well with his players, he said because “our core group has been around for a while, I have the feeling by now when I start to speak, they either roll their eyes or they shut off their ears. Or, if it’s like Timmy [ Duncan], he looks at me and says, ‘I got it.’ And then I don’t have to say anything.”