Since the NBA Finals went to a 2-3-2 format in 1985, only three teams — the 1988 and 2010 Los Angeles Lakers, and 1994 Houston Rockets — have managed to come back from a 3-2 hole by winning the final two games on their home floor to take the title.
The San Antonio Spurs will do everything tonight in Game 6 to ensure the Miami Heat don’t become the fourth team in League history to make such a rally.
With legacies waiting to be re-written, Tim Duncan and company are trying to keep the noise out and focus on the very difficult task ahead.
Per the Express-News:
Ahead 3-2 against LeBron James and the defending champion Heat, the Spurs stand one victory away from an unexpected fifth championship that many in San Antonio had already given up on. “I think every one of us wants this very badly, from the top on down,” said 37-year-old forward Tim Duncan, a three-time Finals MVP and the only player on the roster on hand for all four Spurs championships. “We’re trying to play that way.”
With his fifth crown, Duncan would pass Shaquille O’Neal — the only other name in discussion for “Best Big Man of His Generation” — and equal two other Los Angeles Lakers luminaries, Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson. “It will be something great to look back on when I’m done,” Duncan said. “But in the heat of things, that’s just not anything I ever look up or think about.” A fifth Finals win would cement Popovich’s visage on the Mount Rushmore of great NBA coaches, alongside Red Auerbach, Pat Riley and Phil Jackson. Only Jackson (11) and Auerbach (nine) would own more titles. First, however, there is still the matter of the Spurs actually finishing off the Heat, which Popovich understands is easier said than done. “I don’t get excited about, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re right there,’?” Popovich said. “What I think about is how difficult that next game is going to be and how many things we have to do well to get that done.”
The Miami Heat have reason to be cautiously optimistic. They have won each of their six games following a Playoff defeat by an average of 20.7 points, including 19 and 16-point victories against these Spurs. Also, no home team has ever lost Game 7 of the NBA Finals under the current format.
Two desperate teams will clash in South Beach tonight. Should be a great one.