On guard: Spurs backcourt having its way with Heat

On guard: Spurs backcourt having its way with Heat
June 18, 2013, 12:15 am
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MIAMI — Courtesy of a hamstring injury suffered in Game 3, Tony Parker may not have the explosiveness off the dribble he's used to.

But he's still able to turn Miami's guards into human turnstiles, blowing past them one possession after another.

Now he has another off-the-dribble creator on the floor with him in the starting lineup, Manu Ginobili.

For all that went wrong for Miami in their Game 5 loss at San Antonio, the Spurs' ability to get anywhere they wanted to on the floor so consistently has to be among the Heat's chief concerns heading into Game 6 Tuesday night.

Parker and Ginobili combined to score 50 points on 18-for-28 shooting from the field, along with racking up 15 of the Spurs' 21 assists.

Of the duo, Ginobili's 24 points - more than he scored all season - was arguably the biggest factor in San Antonio's Game 5 win which moved them within a victory of the franchise's fifth NBA title.

It was the first game Ginobili started all season, regular season included.

"The fact that they're playing defense so high on me and Timmy (Duncan), I felt Manu would be easier to gain for him," Parker said. "Because every time he comes off the bench and the whole focus, they play defense on him because I'm out and Timmy is out. So when he's playing with us and they're still going to trap me and still going to pay attention to Timmy, Manu is going to get opportunities."

While Parker and Ginobili hurt the Heat with their steady diet of dribble penetration into the lane, there were others who managed to find their way into the paint for scoring opportunities or to set up teammates for open looks on the perimeter.

Danny Green's record-setting shooting from 3-point range in the Finals is in large part due to the penetrating ability of his teammates, who then find him beyond the arc relatively open most of the time, for 3-pointers.

"Basically everybody on their team was taking turns off the dribble," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "Getting by us and breaking down our defense."

Those breakdowns begin with starting backcourt of Mario Chalmers and Dwyane Wade.

Often it's Chalmers who gets first crack at defending Parker, but that might change in Game 6 with the Heat expected to give some consideration to having LeBron James guard him more often.

The Heat have gone to James defending Parker at various times throughout this series but it hasn't been done on a steady, consistent basis.

"The game will present whatever the game presents itself, opportunities for me to guard Tony," James said. "If it's early in the game, late in the game, it won't be the full game. I think we have confidence in our two point guards. There will be times where I match up against him."

Miami was also hurt in Game 5 by the inability of their guards to take advantage of the attention given to James, Wade and big man Chris Bosh. That is, with the exception being former Celtic Ray Allen who had 21 points off the Heat bench.

Chalmers had seven points but missed eight of his 10 shots while Norris Cole was scoreless, missing his lone shot attempt.

While their play certainly stood out for all the wrong reasons in Game 5, Spoelstra's confidence in both remains high as Miami prepares for a must-win game.

"They have had their moments where they've played well," he said. "Game 6 could be a different story."