The Miami Heat haven’t just lost Games 3 and 4 of the 2014 NBA Finals, they’ve been on the wrong end of an absolute shellacking from the San Antonio Spurs on both occasions. In fact, LeBron James said it best in the post-game press conference when he said that the Spurs were better than them for the past two games, that is was just that simple.
Even if LeBron was the one acknowledging that the Spurs were the better team on the floor, he wasn’t the problem in Game 4. The Heat’s inability to hang with the Spurs’ ball-movement, the Heat’s inability to rebound with San Antonio, and the lack of contributions from everyone outside of James on the offensive end spelled doom for the Heat on Thursday night.
Now the Heat face a situation that 31 other teams have faced before in the NBA Finals, trailing 3-1. The predicament that this situation presents for Miami is that, of the 31 teams that have faced this situation before in the Finals, a grand total of zero have come back to win the series.
For Miami to complete what has been a brief era of dominance by capturing a three-peat with the Big Three, their task is no longer to just win games. Obviously, they are going to have to win three consecutive games to win the series. In a broader sense, though, the Heat are going to have to make history if they want to win this series.
Anytime an NBA team is in a place where they have to make history to accomplish a goal, it’s obviously not ideal. What’s even less ideal is that the deck is stacked even more against the Heat right now. The series is shifting back to San Antonio for Game 5, they aren’t getting the production they need from anyone outside of LeBron, they’re up against a Spurs offense that is in full-force, and they are up against a team that’s getting an unreal defensive performance from Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green right now.
As the Heat look to make history and start to do so by winning Game 5 on the road, there is going to be a multitude of people who call for LeBron to be a superstar and carry his team. Though that’s necessary, it’s also not a change from anything. When James shot 10-17 from the floor for 28 points and the rest of the team combines for just 58 points on 22-54 shooting, LeBron is hardly the problem.
Miami needs the rest of the Big Three and their role players to do something impactful in Game 5 and for the rest of the series if they want to make history. Moreover, LeBron and his teammates have to find a way to put a hiccup in the Spurs’ well-oiled offense. Chris Bosh said in his post-game conference that if any team could make history in this manner, it’d be this team. Game 5 will tell us if that’s really the case or if the Heat are just the 32nd team that can’t get the job done.