Archive for June 16th, 2013

Front offices across the NBA seem to be panicking a bit these days. Job security has long been an oxymoron for coaches in this league, but even by that what-have-you-done-for-me-lately standard, this offseason has been a particularly volatile one.

Twelve coaches have been fired since the season ended, including the coach of the year and five others who led teams to the playoffs.

Setting franchise records for victories in a season gets you fired these days. Leading your team to the Western Conference finals gets you fired these days. One tough season coaching a roster full of dead-legged journeymen and still-learning rookies gets you fired these days.

”Coaching has never been valued less and blamed more,” said ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy, former coach of the Knicks and Rockets. ”Failure gets you fired and success gets you fired.”

While the ground all around them has never been more unstable, the last two coaches standing this season have found the kind of level footing that has become increasingly rare. The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat, tied 2-2 in the NBA Finals heading into Sunday night’s Game 5, have become the models for stability and managed to rise above the chaotic fray engulfing much of the rest of the league.

Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

Heat at Spurs NBA Finals Game 5 tonight

tony parker

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 Sunday night 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.

Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

Dwyane Wade

Stringing together a two-game win streak sounds routine for the reigning champion Miami Heat, but they have failed to do it for more than three weeks and must do so in the NBA Finals or risk losing their crown.

A victory in Sunday’s Game Five of the best-of-seven series would give the Heat their first winning streak since May 22. A loss would put them in an uncomfortable position of having to win two straight at home to repeat as champions.

“If we don’t do two, we won’t win a championship. I wasn’t that smart in school, but I do know that. The numbers don’t add up,” Miami guard Dwyane Wade told a news conference on Saturday.

“We have to find a way to put a string together. And hopefully our mentality and our play in Game Four can take over to the next game.”

After barreling through the regular season with a franchise-record 66 wins, including a 27-game win streak, followed by an 8-1 record over the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Heat have alternated wins and losses over their last 11 games.

Reported by Frank Pingue of Reuters

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