Miami Heat get set for Game 6 of NBA Finals on Sunday, Mike Miller's shooting having an impact for HeatAfter fighting through various injuries throughout the regular season, Mitchell native Mike Miller, a forward in his first season with the Miami Heat, is making a difference in the NBA Finals.
By: Sports staff, The Associated Press, The Daily Republic
MIAMI (AP) — If the Miami Heat are going to recover and win this NBA championship, they may want to put the Dallas Mavericks away before the final minutes.
Otherwise, they could be in more than a little trouble.
Five games into the NBA finals, the Heat have had chances to win all five games. A case could be made that they should have won all five, especially after they held leads in every matchups in this series. But instead of having the title or being in the driver’s seat in the championship chase, the Heat are on the cusp of elimination heading into Game 6 at Miami on Sunday night.
“There’s obviously going to be some priorities in terms of closing out games, which we’ve been very good at the last two and a half months, and particularly during our playoff run,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the Game 5 loss gave the Mavs a 3-2 series lead. “We haven’t been able to do it consistently enough in this series. And that’s something we’ll address. That’s been a fabric all season long, being able to work and improve on things.”
Improvement is necessary, or else Dallas will hoist a trophy in Miami.
Weary from a week on the road, the Heat arrived home around 4:30 a.m. Friday. As expected, Spoelstra gave the team a day off, though many were expected at the team’s headquarters for some work and treatment. That includes Dwyane Wade, who bruised his left hip in the first quarter on Thursday and managed to score a team-best 23 points.
The score hurt worse than the hip after Game 5.
Miami led 99-95 after Wade hit a 3-pointer with 4:37 left, and it seemed like the Heat were poised to take a stranglehold on the series. Except they collapsed — again, following the script that doomed them in Games 2 and 4 as well.
“You go back and look at the film and see exactly what the breakdown was,” Heat forward Udonis Haslem said. “I don’t know how guys were getting open. It’s just one game, a couple of plays. We’re definitely capable of beating these guys and we’ll figure it out.”
Thing is, it’s not just one game or a couple of plays.
It’s an all-out trend in this series: Dallas is owning the final minutes.
— Game 2, Dallas trailed 88-73 when Wade made a 3-pointer with 7:14 remaining. The Mavs outscored Miami 22-5 the rest of the way.
— Game 4, Udonis Haslem’s jumper with 10:12 left gave Miami a 74-65 lead. From there, Dallas went on a game-ending 21-9 run.
— Game 5, the 99-95 Heat lead after Wade’s 3 vanished quickly, with the Mavericks finishing with a 17-4 kick to move one win from the title.
Miller’s shooting having an impact
By The Daily Republic
After fighting through various injuries throughout the regular season, Mitchell native Mike Miller, a forward in his first season with the Miami Heat, is making a difference in the NBA Finals.
Miller was signed as a free agent this past offseason to bring outside shooting to the table for the Heat. He is doing that in the first five games against the Dallas Mavericks.
He hit two 3-pointers in a Game 1 win and after not scoring in Game 2 or 3, he made use of his time off the bench in the last two contests — both losses for Miami.
Miller was 2-of-5 from 3-point range for six points and had three rebounds in the Game 4 loss. After Dwyane Wade mishandled an inbounds pass, Miller missed a heave from a few feet behind the 3-point line that would have tied the game at the buzzer.
Then, in Game 5, Wade was battling an injury of his own after crashing into Brian Cardinal in the first quarter. Miller started the second half in Wade’s place and hit a pair of third-quarter 3-pointers. Miller finished with nine points, two rebounds and two assists in 23 minutes — the most he has played during the finals.
He was 3-of-5 from the 3-point line in Game 5, which was the first time since March 23 at Detroit that Miller made three 3-pointers in a game.
It was the fifth time this year he made three or more 3-pointers. His best shooting performance of the season came when he made 6-of-11 from 3-point range in a 32-point outburst against the Raptors on January 22.