Ginobili breaks out, leads Spurs past Heat
SAN ANTONIO — Making his first start of the regular season or postseason, Manu Ginobili had 24 points and 10 assists to help the San Antonio Spurs defeat the Miami Heat 114-104 Sunday night and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich’s move to insert Ginobili into the starting lineup in place of Tiago Splitter paid off quickly. The 35-year-old guard, who had struggled all series, had seven points and three assists in the first five minutes of the game and never cooled off.
Tony Parker had 26 points for San Antonio, and Danny Green scored 24 points while making six 3-pointers to break the NBA record for 3-pointers in a Finals series. Tim Duncan added 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Kawhi Leonard scored 16 points.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each scored 25 points for Miami, with Wade contributing 10 assists and James adding eight rebounds. Ray Allen came off the bench to score 21 points, 15 of them in the fourth quarter.
The Spurs need just one win to claim their fifth NBA title since the start of the 1998-99 season. Game 6 is Tuesday in Miami, which would be the site of Game 7 on Thursday if necessary.
Miami opened the second half with a 7-0 run that included a 3-pointer by James, pulling the Heat within two. San Antonio quickly responded, and a 3-pointer by Green increased the Spurs’ lead to 66-59. The basket gave him the Finals record with his 23rd 3-pointer in the series, and he ended the night with 25. Allen set the previous mark with the Boston Celtics in 2008.
Green then came up with a huge defensive play, stuffing a driving James to thwart a Miami fast break. San Antonio then pushed it down the floor, and Parker’s floater on the other end bumped San Antonio’s lead back up to 73-67 with six minutes left in the third quarter.
Miami went on another run, cutting San Antonio’s lead to one, but the Spurs responded with a 12-1 run to take an 87-75 lead into the fourth quarter. San Antonio scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter, and the Spurs weren’t threatened from there.
San Antonio’s offense sizzled in the first half. The Spurs hit 61.8 percent from the field and made five of 11 3-point attempts to take a 61-52 lead at the break.
Green continued his hot shooting from beyond the arc, knocking down three first-half 3-pointers, the last coming at 7:30 of the second quarter and giving San Antonio a 17-point lead.
Miami came back to cut the deficit to 52-47 on two free throws by James with two minutes left.
Parker scored the final four points of the half, the last a layup at the buzzer to push the lead back up to nine.
Green and Duncan each had 13 first-half points to lead the Spurs. San Antonio’s Big Three — Ginobili, Parker and Duncan — combined for 35 points in the first half.
James topped the Heat with 16 first-half points.Notes: The Spurs announced that G Patty Mills, who had surgery Saturday to remove an abscess on his right foot, would miss the remainder of the Finals. The 24-year-old appeared in 22 postseason games, averaging 1.5 points and 3.3. minutes. ... Thursday’s combined 85-point performance by James (33), Wade (32) and Bosh (20) was the highest single-game scoring trio in Heat postseason history. The last team trio to have at least two 30-point scorers and a 20-point scorer in the Finals was the 1995 Houston Rockets with Hakeem Olajuwon (34), Sam Cassell (31) and Clyde Drexler (23) in Game 2.