Jun 12, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) is guarded by Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) during the second half of game four of the 2014 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
They say the fourth game is always the hardest to clinch to win a championship. What must the San Antonio Spurs do to vanquish the Miami Heat?
Swarm LeBron James and Dwyane Wade
If this series has proven anything, it’s beyond the Big Three the Heat have few answer for what the Spurs are throwing at them. So it very unlikedly that something significant will change in Game 5. In other word it will be a furious charge led by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade that will decide whether Miami stays alive to defend their title for another game. San Antonio has to recognize this and not lay back and let it happen. They must use their size, athleticism and depth to swarm the two stars, force them to work for every single basket. Sooner or later every player has a breaking point. James and Wade are no exceptions.
Play the Gregg Popovich way
The San Antonio Spurs have been so great for so long by playing smart, unselfish two-way basketball. Leading the charge is head coach Gregg Popovich who has championed a system based on precision, passing and aggressive defense. This style is what has them up 3-1 against the Heat. That and a red hot streak going with their shooting. A common saying is if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. San Antonio has zero reasons to get away from what has gotten them this far.
Don’t lean on the home court advantage
Too many times in the past teams with a series lead have mistakenly thought going home would automatically hand them final victory only to have it snatched away. The worst thing the Spurs can do is let the mind set sink in that two of the last three games of the Finals will be played on their home court. At the end of the day, it won’t matter. LeBron James and the Heat didn’t win two rings by playing bad on the road. They already know it’s possible to win in the AT&T Center. So why should San Antonio assume it will be a significant factor? Their success in Game 5 will be about execution and playing good basketball, not how loud the stadium is.