GDP, Green carry Spurs past Heat

San Antonio, June 17 (IANS) San Antonio Spurs outscored defending champion Miami Heat 114-104 with the help of outstanding performances of GDP (Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker) and shooter Danny Green, moving within one win to their fifth NBA title.

It was Ginobili’s first starting in more than one year. The 11-year veteran, who had scored a total of 30 points in the first four games, rewarded Spurs coach Gregg Popovich with 24 points and 10 assists, reports Xinhua.

“Tonight he played his best game in a while,” said Popovich.

Spurs point guard Parker wasn’t 100 percent because of an injured hamstring but the former Finals MVP astonished everyone with a team high 26 points, including a crucial basket after the Heat cutting the gap to nine with two minutes left.

Duncan’s 17-point-and-12-rebound ‘double-double’ helped Spurs ‘Big 3’ total 67 points, one more than Heat’s ‘Big 3′(LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh).

Green had a big night for himself. The second-round-picked shooting guard made six out of his 10 three point attempts to finish a 24-point game. He totalled 25 three pointers through the five games, surpassing Ray Allen (22 in 2008 Finals) to set an new NBA Finals record.

“I’ve been getting lucky. I was moving around a lot. Our transition helps our pace. Tony penetrating and Manu penetrating, making the defence collapse is the reason why I’ve been getting open,” said Green about his record.

The Spurs opened the game with Ginobili in the starting line-up. His seven points gave the hosts a 15-10 lead. Parker and Duncan stood out afterwards and the Spurs closed the first quarter 32-19 after a 15-2 spurt.

James and Wade led Heat to move within five into the second quarter only to see Parker’s lay-up awarding the Spurs a nine-point advantage by the end of the first half. The defending champion delivered a 8-0 run in the third quarter, trailing only by one with more than 10 minutes left.

The Spurs tried to establish a lead again but Heat moved again to trail 74-75 with 2:54 minutes to go. Ginobili took the big stage, knocking down seven points in the Spurs’ 12-1 run to finish the third quarter 87-75.

The Spurs dashed away to as far as 96-76 in the final period. Heat refused an early surrender, cutting the gap to nine points with two minutes left but their hope was ruined after Parker and Green pocketed five points to seal the victory.

“We missed a couple of shots that we normally are accustomed to making and then it just snowballed down the hill. We couldn’t control it,” said Heat coach Eric Spoelstra.

James and Wade had 25 points apiece for Heat and Ray Allen contributed 21.

Of the previous 27 times the Finals have been tied at 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has gone on to win the series 20 times.

Game 6 is scheduled Tuesday in Miami.

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