"We know the caliber team they are, and we have a lot of respect
for what they're able to do," said Duncan, the Spurs' 38-year-old
spiritual leader and 14-time All-Star.
"They're able to throw it into another gear, and they're going to do
just that. They don't want this to be done. They have already won on
our homecourt, so they feel they can do it again.
"We don't want to give them any life."
The Heat may still be alive in the series but they're on life
support, facing a 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven NBA Finals
heading into Sunday's Game Five in San Antonio.
But Miami has a knack for pulling off the impossible. It was in last
year's finals that the Heat, facing elimination, erased a five-point
deficit in the final 28 seconds of regulation in Game Six and beat
the Spurs 103-100 in overtime.
The Heat won Game Seven to claim their second straight crown and
leave the Spurs wondering what might have been.
Miami's LeBron James, who scored 28 points in Thursday's 107-86
drubbing by the Spurs, said the Heat cannot be thinking about
becoming the first team to recover from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA
"We've got to worry about Sunday first," he said. "Go up there in a
hostile environment, where we were able to steal one in Game Two,
and try to get another one and go on from there.
"Obviously, I do know the numbers. It's never been done before. But
we're still a confident bunch, even though our heads are lowered
down right now.
"Of course, being down 3‑1 and losing two straight games at home,
that's just human nature. But we've still got to go out and play on
San Antonio routed the Heat by 15 points in the opener at home, but
lost the next game, 98-96. Hoping to win one of the next two in
Miami to regain the homecourt advantage, the Spurs played flawlessly
and crushed the Heat in both games.
"They're a high‑oil machine and they move the ball extremely well,"
said James. "They put you in so many difficult positions. If you're
not right on time, right on target, they're going to make you pay
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Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said his focus was on beating the Spurs on
Sunday and getting the series back to Miami for a Game Six. He said
the path may be arduous but winning the championship is still
"Our group has been through everything you possibly can be through
except for this circumstance, so why not?," he said. "Why not test
ourselves right now collectively?
"(We have a) championship resolve that we've proven time and time
again. We'll have to do it in a different way."
San Antonio's pass-first offense has everyone playing well,
especially Kawhi Leonard, who scored a career-high 29 points in Game
Three and 20 on Thursday to help the Spurs become the first team to
win two straight on the road by 15 or more points in a single
The Spurs' Duncan has already won four titles and after being so
close a year ago, is taking nothing for granted.
"Obviously, they're the champions, and they're going to come out and
show a lot of fire and come with a lot of energy," he said of
Sunday's game at the AT&T Center.
"We're going to use our homecourt and we're going to come with the
same focus that we did in these last two games, and hopefully close
it out at home."
(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Frank Pingue)
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