Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When opponents have seen Miami Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in the open court on a fast break, the result is usually an easy bucket for the Miami Heat. But in Game 5, Miami’s bread-and-butter went stale and helped submarine an otherwise solid effort by the team.
Now with their backs against the wall, James, Wade, and everyone on the Heat will have to shoot the lights out to keep up with a San Antonio Spurs team looking to close out Miami. But the road to victory and extending the series starts with converting in and around the basket.
In Game 5, the Heat’s dynamic duo couldn’t get it going on the fast break or close to the basket, but it was also a team-wide problem. The Heat shot 19-41 on shots around the basket, or 10 percent lower than the league average, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.
Wade and James were even worse combining to go 9-25 on layups, dunks, and shots with a few feet of the rim, according to the Herald.
“I think between the two of us, we probably missed 12 layups [Sunday night] — transition layups that we usually convert,” James said. “I missed a lob. I missed two layups, transition on the same possession. I know D-Wade had a few layups that we’re accustomed to making.
Part of what stopped James and Wade was San Antonio’s stingy defense. It was especially evident on two fast breaks when Danny Green shut down LeBron at the rim, which is almost unheard of in today’s NBA.
While James and Wade have said they aren’t concerned with the missed shots and said the shots will go in during Game 6, if they don’t, the hot shooting Spurs will knock the Heat out of the Finals in a hurry.
In Game 5, San Antonio hit 60 percent of its shots and many of the team’s best shots came without a Heat player in five to ten feet of the shooter. The Spurs also outscored the Heat 50-40 in the paint.
For the Heat, one player who has not been willing to stay quiet and calm during the recent Finals failures in Games 3 and 5 is Chris Bosh and he knows that what will spark a Heat win in Game 6 will be the team’s defense.
“We have to bring a lot more energy and we will have to accept the challenge playing defense one-on-one,” Chris Bosh said. “They are really coming at us one-on-one and we will have to keep the ball in front of us and force them to miss more shots.”
The Heat will have to do that and more if it wants to send the series to a deciding Game 7. Miami will take their best shot Tuesday at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)