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NBA Finals: Heat will try to stop San Antonio machine

Published June 13, 2014 9:53 pm

NBA Finals • San Antonio shooting field goals at a record pace.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Miami • The San Antonio Spurs left Miami last June looking so human, Tim Duncan nearly in tears talking about how close they were to another championship.

They don't look human now. They look like a machine.

Up 3-1 and shooting the ball at a level never seen in the NBA Finals, the Spurs headed home with a chance to wrap things up on Sunday night in Game 5.

The Miami Heat, who were able to deny the Spurs last year, have two days to figure out what can possibly be done to do it again.

"They're a high-oil machine and they move the ball extremely well," LeBron James said. "They put you in so many difficult positions. If you're not right on time, right on target, they're going to make you pay for it."

The Spurs won by 19 and 21 in the two games in Miami and are shooting 54.2 percent in the series. The NBA Finals record for a series of any length is 52.7 percent.

No team has overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals, and the Heat were so thoroughly manhandled in Miami that the only reason to think they could be the first is what they did in the past.

Duncan said the memory of last season's loss — the pain that's driven the Spurs through this entire season — would "definitely come up" before Sunday.

"As I said, we know the caliber team they are, and we have a lot of respect for what they're able to do," Duncan said. "They're able to throw it another gear and they're going to do just that. They don't want this to be done."

Duncan probably meant "done" as in the series. Of course, it could also mean the era.

Two off days were sure to be filled by talk of the Heat's uncertain future, with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all eligible for free agency. Might such a one-sided beating convince James he had to leave to find a better roster elsewhere? Make him more resolute in his desire to stay and get the Heat back on top?

The two-time champs have more urgent concerns now.

"Did we expect to come here and lose two the way we did at home? No way," Wade said. "But we also expect to go to San Antonio and put up a better effort and try to come out with another win. So we'll get away from it (Friday), but we'll still think about what we need to do to try to get another win to keep the series alive." —

NBA Playoffs

Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs

Spurs lead series 3-1

All games on Ch. 4

Game 1 • San Antonio 110, Miami 95

Game 2 • Miami 98, San Antonio 96

Game 3 • San Antonio 111, Miami 92

Game 4 • San Antonio 107, Miami 86

Sunday • at San Antonio, 6 p.m.

x - Tuesday • at Miami,7 p.m.

x - June 20 • at San Antonio, 7 p.m.

x — if necessary