Miami's Big Three provide spark
Miami's marquee trio rediscovered their form and the Heat responded to a loss with another double-digit victory as the NBA finals has now become a best-of-three series.
The Heat had to win in game four on Thursday to avoid going down three games to one to the San Antonio Spurs.
And no one recognized that more than LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
"Particularly with expectations and all the analysis from outside, your initial human reaction is to deflect or point or blame," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Friday.
"But our guys get quickly to the matter of just okay, here's the deal. Own it so we can fix it, and correct it, and try to find the solution."
That collective accountability came through Thursday as Wade had 32 points and six steals while James and Bosh both had their highest producing performances of the NBA finals and Miami beat San Antonio 109-93 at the ATT Center arena.
James scored 33 points and Bosh had 20 as Miami exploded in the second half to level the best-of-seven series at two games each.
With two days rest between games four and five, both teams took the day off and didn't practice Friday.
Wade, Bosh and James scored at least 20 points in game four in contrast to the first three games of the series when no Miami player scored that many.
"When Bosh, Wade and James score the way they did tonight, teams are going to have a difficult time," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after Thursday's game.
Miami has now responded to a loss with a double-digit win six out of six times in the post-season. The last time they lost back-to-back games was a pair of regular season defeats in early January.
The win ensured the teams would travel back to Miami for game six. It is now a best-of-three series with the pivotal game on Sunday in San Antonio.
On Thursday, the Heat turned a 49-49 halftime tie into a solid victory as they forced San Antonio into 19 turnovers that led to 23 points.
It was huge shift from game three on Tuesday when the Spurs crushed Miami by 36 points behind a NBA finals record 16 threes.
Spurs guard Tony Parker wasn't showing the ill effects early in game four from a sore hamstring as he tallied 15 points in the first half. But Parker didn't score a point in the second half.
Popovich said with two days off, Parker would "be fine" for Sunday's game. An MRI showed no tear or major damage to the hamstring.
"If he can't play at full speed, others will have to pick up the slack," said Popovich who is not so sure about struggling Manu Ginobili.
Ginobili failed to score a field goal until the second half as his troubles continue. The Argentine star finished with five points.
Ginobili has missed his last three three pointers and is shooting just 10-of-29 in the finals.
"He's having a tough playoffs, and he hasn't really found a rhythm or found his game yet," Popovich said. "He's going to get himself going, or he won't."