NBA Finals, Game 5: screenshot diary and analysis

With the Spurs up 3-1 hoping to finish the job unlike last year and the Heat just hoping to survive to play another game, a Game 5 screenshot recap is a must.

Pre-game

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This girl’s name is Colbie Caillat apparently. She delivers the best national anthem rendition of the series so far.

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This lad just outplayed the best player in the world twice on his own home floor. Will he continue his incredible post-Game 2 play?

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Company man Mike Breen goes the waistcoast route for this elimination game. Mark Jackson looks dapper in navy and lilac, and I predict he will make zero interesting observations in this game.

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Mario Chalmers has disappeared, and Erik Spoelstra is done searching for him. To the bench he goes, as Ray Allen gets the start.

1st Quarter

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8:43: Miami is out to a quick 8-0 lead as LeBron gets his second dunk in the opening four minutes. The Heat appear aggressive and determined. If any team can come back from down 3-1, it’s them.

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7:56: James, reminiscent of his 45-point night in Boston in 2012, has his game face on. Doris Burke tells us that he told his teammates before tip-off: “Follow me.” Spurs fans are officially petrified.

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6:04: LeBron gets out on the break, draws a phantom foul and converts the and-one layup. He pulls that face again. The Heat go up 19-5. Uh oh.

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5:07: Allen hits a three to put the Heat up 22-6. They look ready to shock the world, and the sound we can hear is that of ABC executives rubbing their hands with glee at the possibility of this series going six or seven games.

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4:48: Manu Ginobili and Shane Battier are both into the game. Battier, always ready to counteract a basketball play with a non-basketball play, slides under Manu in an attempt to draw the charge and is thankfully not rewarded. Manu converts the three-point play and the Heat lead 22-9.

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4:39: Battier hits Manu with a high forearm on the screen and then backs him onto the floor on a post-up. The refs catch the latter manoeuvre, calling an offensive foul. The Spurs crowd comes alive, incensed at these low life tactics. This is the kind of energizer Miami, still up 13, could have avoided giving them.

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4:30: Manu hits the three and just like that the lead is down to ten and the building is rocking. Battier is in large part responsible.

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4:08: Manu rifles an awesome pass out of the double team to Kawhi, who sinks his second three from the same spot.

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3:02: Even Matt Bonner is getting in on the highlight passing action as he attacks the basket and leaves his feet to find an open Patty Mills who drains it. The Spurs are on a 12-0 run and have cut it to a 4-point Heat lead. Let the record show that Battier started this.

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2:52: The LeBron cramps signs are still in full effect. San Antonio does not forget.

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2:30: LeBron shoots a set shot from five feet beyond the three-point line…and hits. He is, after all, LeBron James.

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2:17: Norris Cole is the first Heat point guard off the bench and Mario Chalmers wishes the ground would swallow him up.

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0:04: It’s not Battier’s night, as he gets called for his usual tactic of walking under a jumpshooter. He’s done this countless times throughout his career without being whistled. The celebrated good wing defenders do get away with it (ask Bruce Bowen), but as it becomes more and more apparent that Battier is washed up, the whistles will start to penalize him more than ever before. I welcome this.

2nd Quarter

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11:50: Boris Diaw has the most assists of any player in the Finals. Here’s another one. What a player.

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7:55: Tim Duncan is guarded by the far-too-short Udonis Haslem and goes to his trusty drop-step baseline turnaround.

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6:02: Duncan and Haslem are going at it, and Duncan again comes out on top as he drives middle for a sweeping hook. Good old fashioned post play. Timmy has had a great Finals.

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4:51: Kawhi’s Pippen-esque pull-up three gives the Spurs their first lead of the night. The crowd goes wild. Kawhi has 15 first half points and is 3-for-3 from downtown. Do we smell a Finals MVP for the 22-year-old?

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4:42: The crowd goes into an extended frenzy. The Spurs have very good fans: loyal, loving, early-arriving, reliable in their attendance and extremely boisterous when there’s something to cheer about. They’re not quite the Raptors, but they are upper echelon.

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3:46: The Spurs, for all their seamless ball movement, are as quick as any team to go iso to take advantage of a mismatch. Here poor Rashard Lewis ends up on Manu, who breezes in for a layup to put the Spurs up four.

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2:48: Manu has a 2003 flashback and one of the plays of the Finals, driving through multiple Heat players and cramming one on Chris Bosh’s head. The Spurs are on a 14-0 run.

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2:08: The Manu Show continues as he swishes the step-back three on a helpless Udonis Haslem after the switch. Manu has 14 to go with Kawhi’s 15 and the Spurs look in complete control despite an 0-for-7 half for Tony Parker.

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Halftime: The Spurs lead 47-40, but the 7-point deficit feels more like a 17-point one for the Heat. LeBron, despite a big individual half (20 points, 6-for-12 FGs) was just 1-for-5 in the second quarter as the Spurs came roaring back. More worryingly for the Heat, James has been unable to lift his teammates. Allen, Lewis and Battier look washed up, Bosh looks disengaged and Wade looks older than his 32 years.

3rd Quarter

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8:57: Wade gets blocked going to the rim and as per usual, he lollygags under the basket rather than busting a gut to get back on D.

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8:53: The result: Wade’s lack of effort compromises the Heat defense as Chris Andersen is forced to pick up Manu, who draws the foul. Despite being coddled all season, being rested on the second of back-to-back games and never having had to exert himself defensively, Wade has looked tired and winded in the Finals with no extra gear to go to. Frankly, he appears either out of shape or past caring. Either way, it is inexcusable.

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7:00: I tried to tell you the offseason fuss over Greg Oden was uncalled for.

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6:39: Patty Mills blows by LeBron as if he isn’t there and scores the layup to put the Spurs up 56-42. The Spurs on a 50-20 run. The Heat call a timeout as the game continues to slip away from them. To his credit, LeBron tells his teammates: “My fault. That’s my fault.” He is correct.

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6:13: Tiago Splitter reminds us that Wade is no longer a top ten player as he erases his layup attempt. This serves as symbolic revenge for Splitter, who was famously blocked by LeBron in Game 2 last year.

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6:00: Diaw does his thing, getting into the paint, drawing the help and dishing to a wide open Mills for the three. The rout is on.

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5:33: LeBron again is caught napping on defense, something he has been guilty of throughout the postseason. Here he fails to pick up the wide open three-point shooter who just hit a wide open three-point shot. The Spurs go up 62-44, and LeBron and co. appear to be giving up.

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5:03: Manu throws in another three just for fun. The Spurs go up 21. The Heat, having shown so much resolve over the past three seasons, are shockingly going down without a fight.

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4:54: Chalmers finally enters the game, likely to play his final minutes as a member of the Heat. What a way to go out: relegated to being the Heat’s third string point guard after three uninterrupted years as their starter. Fittingly, Chalmers gets straight in on the act of leaving Patty Mills wide open. Mills knocks it down and has 14 points in 9 minutes.

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1:59: Believe it or not, this is the coach of a team up 19 with a 3-1 lead in the Finals. Pop is the best.

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1:46: Why not? Mills hits again and is doing something Chalmers is not: adding extra dollars to the contract offers he will receive this summer as a free agent.

4th Quarter

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9:05: Here’s Michael Beasley, another Miami player who won’t be back next year. Between the signings of Oden and Beasley and the release of Mike Miller, the Heat’s 2013 offseason has to go down as a disaster. Who would have thought that signing a player with no knees (Oden) and a player with no brain (Beasley) would be a bad idea?

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6:13: Will the Mount Rushmore talk be put on hold for another year? LeBron is now 2-for-5 on Finals trips. He put up an impressive 28.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists in this series but as has been the case previously with LeBron, the big stats belied his relative lack of winning impact. His defensive effort was sporadic and his shot selection inconsistent as he put together just one truly great game out of five and failed to inspire his teammates to play with any lasting sense of urgency. Let the record show that Kawhi outplayed him in the Spurs’ series-changing Games 3 and 4 wins. Would a prime Jordan, Kareem, Magic or Bird ever have gone out like this, with three straight embarrassing blowout losses to close a Finals series?

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2:10: Manu, now a sure-fire Hall of Famer, leaves to a well-deserved standing ovation. It was his energy and offense that turned the game. If he had been this healthy and effective a year ago, the Spurs would have won the title.

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1:53: Diaw gets his ovation. My appreciation for him has been documented.

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0:00: The Spurs are crowned champs again. Timmy flashes a rare smile and it is hard not to be happy for him. 17 seasons, 5 titles, 7 times a top four MVP candidate, and more playoff minutes and playoff double-doubles than any player in NBA history. Where does he now rank among the all time greats? This is a topic to be revisited in the offseason.

Post-game

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Pop: “Thanks for being a shell of your former self. We couldn’t have done it without you.”

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Two members of the Mount Rushmore of coaching.

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The smiles keep on flowing for Timmy as he is embraced by David Robinson.

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Kawhi tells Pop: “Thanks for pushing me.” The love and respect Pop’s players have for him is unrivalled.

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Tim, not normally a great interview, shares some wisdom on his coach of 17 years: “His ability to change with the game and change us with the game is amazing. It keeps us fresh.”

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Adam Silver’s championship trophy presentation debut. Straight to the point and not too in love with the sound of his own voice, he cuts a much less detestable (and far slimmer) figure than his predecessor.

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Peter Holt: “We’ve got the best fans, the best city, we live in a great state, and we are in the United States of America, the greatest country in the world!” Calm down, Pete.

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Kawhi, who shot 61% from the field, is named the youngest Finals MVP since Tim Duncan in 1999. His acceptance speech is just as boring as Tim’s was, but the way his teammates excitedly mob him is symbolic of the Spurs’ incredible chemistry and their appreciation for each other.

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Timmy goes comical on us when asked what the biggest difference is between ’99 and now: “15 years, probably.”

And so another season ends.

It’s been a great run for Duncan and the Spurs, and the run may not be over yet. The Heat are early favorites for next year at 5/1 but San Antonio, with Pop and the gang surely returning for another go-around, enjoy making fools out of those who count them out.

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