Two years ago I wrote a running diary of Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The Dallas Mavericks took a 3-2 series lead, LeBron notched a triple-double but was silent in the 4th quarter (an alarming trend during the 2011 Finals), and the most trying summer of my life as a LeBron fan was just around the corner. I capped that running diary off by saying that the Heat wouldn’t die easy. Not my proudest moment as a writer. Once again with the NBA Finals tied at two games apiece, a running diary seemed like an absolute necessity. All I could do was hope that it would turn out better this year.
11:18- LeBron connects on a deep two that may have been a three to start the 2nd half. Jeff Van Gundy, never content with remaining calm, is riled up because on a similar play in the first half the refs didn’t give a signal to the scorers table to review the play, but would go on to change a Manu Ginobili three to a two. Let’s just say the only people more upset about those two calls than Jeff Van Gundy were my parents.
10:43- You absolutely do not want to turn the ball over against the Miami Heat. Uncharacteristic back to back turnovers from the Spurs lead to a wide open corner three from Mario Chalmers and two free throws for LeBron. Just like that Miami trails only by two. Amazing what happens when the best player in the world creates shots on three straight possessions.
9:40- Dwyane Wade dribbles into four Spurs defenders, falls down, turns the ball over, and fails to run back on defense which leads to (let me know if you’ve heard this one before) a Danny Green three-pointer. My goodness gracious, that’s Green’s 4th three of the night and 23rd of the Finals, an NBA record. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of this out of body experience that Danny Green is having this postseason. Over the last month he’s had more success than anyone else in the playoffs at guarding Stephen Curry, my 2nd favorite athlete in the entire world, and he may shoot my all-time favorite athlete out of a 2nd NBA Title. The only person angrier than me about this development is Erik Spoelstra, who marches onto the court and gets a timeout. I secretly love angry Spo timeouts. Spurs lead 66-60.
8:50- Ginobili gets Bosh on a switch and I actually think he licks his lips before he attacks the basket and scores. That’s vintage Ginobili right there. I joked in my Finals MVP Power Rankings that Trick Shot Titus has made more big shots over the last two months than Ginobili has. Foot, meet mouth. Ginobili has 13 points and 8 assists. Spurs lead 68-60.
8:05- Kawhi Leonard answers a Dwyane Wade floater with one of his owns over Mike Miller in the paint. One of the most surprising developments of Game 5 so far is that there have only been two mentions of how large Kawhi Leonard’s hands are. Is there a player in the league who is as widely known as Kawhi Leonard for a large body part? Wait, don’t answer that.
7:02- Tony Parker gets a wide open lane into the paint after Chalmers goes down on a screen but LeBron manages to strip him at the last possible moment. LeBron and Wade vs. Danny Green on the fastbreak. Advantage Danny Green. To everyone’s surprise but my own, LeBron dishes to Wade and Wade misses the layup. Look, you can’t give me crap for making jokes at Dwyane Wade’s expense when he makes (or fails to make) plays like this.
6:15- If I’ve learned anything from writing running diaries, it’s this: I should keep my mouth shut. LeBron vs. Danny Green on a fastbreak. Advantage Danny Green. Green (who all joking aside is a fantastic transition defender) gets a good contest on LeBron’s first layup attempt. LeBron, despite nearly crumbling to the ground after the initial contest, gets his own rebound but misses the follow. As always, a missed opportunity for the Heat leads to a Spurs basket, this time a Tony Parker floater over Mike Miller, looking more and more like a deer in headlights by the minute.
4:45- LeBron misses a contested three pointer (exactly the shot the Spurs want him to take) and Parker answers on the other end with a transition layup. He’s a magician when he gets into the paint. Just pay attention to the way he can maneuver his body around defenders and the incredibly odd ways he manages to get shots off over and around defenders. There are times it doesn’t seem possible. Wade comes back and knocks down a contested elbow jumper. 20 points for Wade, but again, that’s the shot the Spurs want the Heat to settle for. It also happens to be the shot that unites Dwyane Wade and Josh Smith as two of the only players who consistently settle for mid-range jumpers even though they are below average jump shooters.
3:05- A mini-run for Miami, now seven consecutive points, continues after another jumper from Wade and a foul away from the play on Ginobili. Battier makes the free throw and cuts the Spurs lead to one. Oh you guys didn’t hear? Shane Battier is still alive! Yeah, we had a party for him and everything. Good times.
2:50- That Heat run ends after Danny Green buries a three from inside the Alamo. I love and appreciate a good ole Mike Breen “Bang!” just like everybody else, but it’s a shame that Gus Johnson couldn’t somehow be involved in this. Brain fluid would be leaking out of his ears if he was in the building calling this game.
2:03- Ginobili connects on a tough fade away runner over Norris Cole. 18 points, 8 assists for the recently resurrected Ginobili. “Manu Manu” chants are echoing throughout the arena as the Spurs lead is pushed to 9. Norris Cole has been the recipient of serious abuse from Parker and Ginobili tonight, and I’m pretty sure Mario Chalmers just got yelled at for it.
2.6- Really all I could say at this point is Ginobili is a basketball savant. Good lord. Apparently shooting left handed was getting too easy for him so he opted to try out a right handed runner. The Spurs are up 87-75 and you can almost feel the panic of the Heat through the television screen.
12:00- The Heat start the 4th quarter with LeBron, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier on the floor, a 6 point underdog to the 2009 Cavaliers lineup of LeBron, Mo Williams, Sasha Pavlovic, Anderson Varejao and Wally Szczerbiak. By the way, WHERE THE HELL IS BIRDMAN BIRDMAN?!?
10:41- After we see a replay of Boris Diaw forcing LeBron into taking a tough shot in the post, Mike Breen comments Diaw has given Pop 23 good minutes tonight. In return Pop will treat Boris Diaw to a $23 worth of McDonald’s after the game. Ginobili hits another floater in the lane. Spurs are up 89-75.
10:10- Kawhi Leonard drills a corner 3 to extend the Spurs lead to 17. Breen again neglects to mention Leonard’s large hands. He’s caught up in the excitement that the Spurs have hit eight more three’s than the Heat have tonight. Understandable, but he’ll be getting a notice in the mail tomorrow from the league office telling him that he’s been fined $5,000.
9:30- Two contested misses by LeBron leads to a Duncan tip in on the other end. A very quiet 15 point, 12 rebound night from Duncan. The Spurs are on a 19-1 run and leading 94-75. Coming back from the 143rd Angry Spo Timeout of the series, we hear a Coach Pop tell his players to, and I quote, “Knock the stuffing out of em!” If the game wasn’t over before, it is now officially over. So what do we know going into Game 6? Not much.
The three biggest mysteries stemming from ABC programming over the last two weeks are how did Jesse Williams get his sideline reporter gig, will Whodunnit? last more than seven episodes, and who would win the Finals MVP if the Spurs won the series—you can make a compelling case for Green, Leonard, Duncan or Parker. We also don’t know if there will be any correlation between what happened tonight and what will happen in Game 6 since there has been virtually no carry over from game to game this series. I may not be in a position to give you any of those answers, but I can guarantee you Miami won’t die easy… Wait, that didn’t turn out well last time.