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June 16, 2013

Heat, Spurs set for pivotal game

SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker’s hamstring, not Dwyane Wade’s knee, is the current chief injury concern.

Manu Ginobili, not Chris Bosh, is mired in the slump of the moment.

Things change quickly at the NBA Finals, and with everything suddenly seeming right with the Miami Heat, it’s up to the San Antonio Spurs to change them back tonight in Game 5.

“It is a must-win. We don’t want to go back down there down a game with two games remaining at their house,” Spurs star Tim Duncan said Saturday.

“Obviously, we lose this game, we’re not giving up or anything, but we want to go back up with a chance to finish there. Huge pressure if we have to go back there and try to win two.”

The Heat evened the series with a 109-93 victory Thursday night, setting up what’s often the pivotal moment of the finals. Of the 27 times the series was tied at 2-2, the Game 5 winner went on to win 20 of them.

“I think that’s what everyone would like, 2-2 in the finals for Game 5,” LeBron James said. “We are excited about the opportunity. We have another opportunity to win on someone else’s floor.”

It’s the same situation Miami was in two years ago, losing Game 5 in Dallas. But the Heat also had dropped the previous game, and James was struggling through a poor series by his standards.

Everything looks good for the Heat as they arrive at this stage now. James was dominant in Game 4 with 33 points and 11 rebounds, and Wade scored 32 points, not appearing to be bothered at all by a painful right knee that had limited his effectiveness in the postseason.

With Bosh breaking out with 20 points and 13 rebounds, everything that was a problem for the Heat a few days ago no longer looks to be the case.

“It’s a part of the playoffs,” Wade said. “There’s always high moments. There’s always low moments. There’s moments when you have guys who are in a slump, et cetera. Guys who come out of it. Great story lines. It’s all of it.”

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