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Players to Watch in NBA Finals Game 5


As expected, the 2013 NBA Finals has been a back-and-forth battle that has boasted spectacular performances and impressive displays of athleticism on both sides of the floor. However, what fans and bettors may not have expected was just how big of a role the role players would have in the championship series.

The Miami Heat‘s big three have become accustom to dominating just about every foe in their path this season, but the depth and experience of the San Antonio Spurs has presented a rather intimidating roadblock in the middle of Miami’s road to a second straight NBA title.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade finally woke up in game four on Thursday, guiding the Heat to a win and a series tie, but you could easily argue that the real heroes for Miami have been of the unsung variety. Meanwhile, you could say the same about the Spurs. So, the question now is: Who will step up and surprise us all in game five? Here are a few players who need to have a big night in order for their respective squad to take the series lead.

Miami Heat – Mario Chalmers 

Seeing the big three put up big numbers in the last game has to be encouraging for Heat supporters, but unless the supporting cast provides some backup, the Heat’s championship streak may end at one season.

As the point-man for the Eastern Conference’s top seed, Mario Chalmers has to not only distribute the ball to his team’s leading scorers, but he also needs to add to the scoreboard as well. Unfortunately, he’s only averaging about eight points a game in the Finals and even worse, has managed just 10 assists to nine turnovers. That’s not a good ratio for the player who is responsible for handling the ball and running the offense for your team.

Even though Chalmers has struggled, I expect him to have a breakout game on Sunday. With James and Wade back to their normal selves, the attention will be directed their way all the more, which should open up the floor and open up some shots for Super Mario.

San Antonio Spurs –  Danny Green

After a lights-out game three, Danny Green didn’t get as many looks from the arc in game four. It’s unclear if that was because the Heat made the necessary adjustment to take his long range game away, or if his teammates simply couldn’t find him. Either way, we saw what happened when he didn’t get many touches; the Spurs lost.

In San Antonio’s two NBA Finals wins, Green has gotten off at least nine three-point attempts, while he’s only launched six threes or fewer in the losses. Considering he’s shooting a blistering 68 percent from deep in the four games, the Spurs need to get him as many looks as they can.

Look for Green to be aggressive with his hot hand in game five. He’ll need to continue to knock ’em in for the Spurs to have a shot at winning the whole thing.

Miami Heat – Dwyane Wade

Most still wouldn’t consider Wade to be a role player, but during this postseason, that’s precisely what he’s become. Up until Thursday’s game four, Wade hadn’t scored more than 21 points in a game during this year’s playoffs, but after a 32-point performance, the Heat are hoping that Wade will reestablish himself as a member of the big three down the stretch.

He’s enjoyed one great game, but the Heat will need more from him going forward to defeat the Spurs. It’s hard to tell if he has another big game in him, but we’ll certainly have our eyes on him as he takes the floor for game five.

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