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Heat truly on defending champions

Heat truly on defending champions

Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 7:00 pm

By BRIAN MAHONEY
AP Basketball Writer
MIAMI (AP) — They lost three times in three months in one of the most overpowering stretches the NBA has ever seen.
Now the Miami Heat have lost three times in five games.
So superb during the regular season, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat have to be something even more for the rest of the NBA Finals.
They have to be perfect.
“We look forward to the challenge,” James said.
The San Antonio Spurs can finish Miami off tonight in Game 6, reaffirming themselves as one of the league’s greatest franchises.
If so, the Heat and their Big Three once again go from celebrated to devastated, just as they were two years ago when they came home from Texas facing this same predicament.
“We’re going to see if we’re a better team than we were our first year together,” James said.
The Spurs took a 3-2 lead with their 114-104 victory Sunday night. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were all brilliant again, and Danny Green added to what could become one of the most out-of-nowhere finals MVP campaigns ever.
One more victory makes the Spurs 5-0 in the NBA Finals, keeping pace with Michael Jordan’s 6-0 Chicago Bulls as the only teams to make it here multiple times and never lose.
“We understand Game 6 is huge,” Parker said. “Obviously, you want to finish in the first opportunity you get. We understand that Miami is going to come out with a lot more energy, and they’re going to play better at home. They’re going to shoot the ball better. Their crowd is going to be behind them.”
None of that mattered two years ago.
Clearly reeling and their psyches shaken after dropping two straight games in Dallas, the Heat were blitzed early in Game 6. They never recovered, Chris Bosh inconsolable as he made his way back to the locker room afterward.
Published in The Messenger 6.18.13

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