Morning Shootaround: NBA Finals Game 6
Just one win away.
If the Spurs want their 5th ring, they are going to have to earn it. But they are no strangers to winning on the road. Over the last two seasons, each of their series have ended on the road. Last season they finished off Utah in Utah, the Clippers in LA, and OKC took game 6 in Oklahoma. This year they completed the sweep of the Lakers in LA, finished off Golden State in Oakland, and made it to the Finals by beating Memphis in Memphis. So it’s fitting that the path to another ring ends somewhere miles away from San Antonio.
The Spurs are a team built to play on the road, with an offensive and defensive system honed to such a precision as to be instinctual and intuitive in the players executing it; and with a roster full of veterans and young players alike that seem unafraid of moments or raucous crowds. It fits the ethos of just going about your business.
So here we stand, one game away, with two chances, in Miami. The series has been predictable only in its complete unpredictability. So if we’re following that script, the Heat when Game 6, as its their turn. As we know, neither team loses 2 games in a row right now. But if ever there were a time and a team to break that trend, it’s San Antonio Tuesday night in Game 6. We can talk about adjustments that might be made both ways (will Spoelstra stick with Miller in the starting line-up? Will he go back to playing big? Or will he swap out Battier or Allen for Miller?), but this game is about all the cliches that sports is really never about but is secretly always about: Will. Heart. Desire. Mental and emotional fortitude.
While the Spurs have two chances to win this series, Tuesday night is their best shot. Game 7s favor home teams for a reason. The chance to steal is Game 6.
And I’m confident in the Spurs’ chances. Because while home court is mostly a blessing, especially this late in the playoffs, it can also be a curse. If the game is tight late, and the Spurs won’t go away, the entire Miami crowd will tighten up, sensing what might be coming, the loss of another Finals, of legacies being put to task. And 12,000 people all tightening up can also cause the home team to tighten up. If Game 6 is close late, an entire season of expectations and weight of pressure will fall squarely on the shoulders of the Heat, and the game will be there for the taking. The Spurs won’t be afraid of the moment.
Just ask the Jazz. Or the Clippers. Or the Lakers. Or the Warriors. Or the Grizzlies.
Is tonight the night?
5 for 21.
Go Spurs go.
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