MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat have been playing the entire 2012-2013 season with a mentality of championship or bust. After dropping Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the Heat’s proverbial backs are against the wall and the championship dreams are close to becoming another Finals nightmare.
It’s not that the Heat hasn’t been in this situation before during the reign of the Big Three. In the trio’s first season with the Heat, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James came back from Texas in the NBA Finals trailing 3-2 to the Dallas Mavericks.
In the next game, Dallas put away the Heat and celebrated a championship victory in the AmericanAirlines Arena. Could history be repeating itself?
“We’re going to see if we’re a better team than we were our first year together,” James said.
In the first half of Game 6 of the series against Dallas in 2011, the Heat were blown off the court early in the game and never recovered. Now the Heat must recover after getting blown out twice by the San Antonio Spurs and put it altogether in Game 6 here in Miami.
“We challenge ourselves to see if we’re a better team than we were,” Wade said. “Same position no matter how we got to it.”
Unlike that Mavericks series, the Heat understand their roles perfectly now, but outside of the second half of Game 2 and the entirety of Game 4, the Heat haven’t been able to match San Antonio’s intensity or ball movement.
“We’re in a position where it’s a must-win and everything that we’ve done all year comes to this point, and we have to win,” Heat guard Ray Allen said. “We’ve found ourselves in so many situations this year, and we’ve thrived in tough moments because this is a tough team. We will be ready for Game 6.”
But don’t think for a second the Spurs are just going to roll over in Game 6, Miami knows if they are going to extend this series they have to take the game from the Spurs.
“I’m sure this team, they’ve been here before many times. They understand winning that last game is one of the hardest things you’re going to do. And we understand it as well,” Wade said. “But you know what? It’s the game; we’ve got to play it. I like our chances, just like they like their chances, in this series and in Game 6. We’ll see. We’ll see which team, which style is going to prevail.”
If Miami can win Game 6, the series will move to a final Game 7 on Thursday at the AmericanAirlines Arena.