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Chris Bosh, Heat prep for epic game 5 of tied NBA Finals

Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat will take on the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, expected to be the most pivotal game of the series. The series is tied at 2-2, after the Heat won Thursday. 

By Brian MahoneyAP Basketball Writer / June 15, 2013

The Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (3) dunks against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half at Game 4 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Thursday, in San Antonio.

Eric Gay/AP

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San Antonio

Dwyane Wade has never gone the distance in three previous NBA Finals trips.

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His first two appearances, a win and a loss, both went six games. The Miami Heat needed only five to finish off Oklahoma City last year, when LeBron James won his first title.

Wade talks now as if he expects this series with the San Antonio Spurs to reach a Game 7.

"It's going to be hard, the hardest thing we're going to do as a group is to try to repeat," Wade said. "And this team over here is not going to quit, no matter what. So we have to prepare for their best effort."

With the series tied at 2-2, the Heat are in the same position as two years ago. They lost that Game 5 to the Dallas Mavericks, who eliminated them in Game 6 in Miami.

It's often the most pivotal game of the finals, with the Game 5 winner taking 20 of the previous 27 series that were tied at 2-2. The Heat blew out the Spurs on Thursday, but their best hasn't been carrying over from game to game, not just in this series but for a while now. So it's anybody's guess what happens Sunday in a finals that's dead even, though the games haven't been.

"I think Game 5 should be the best game of the series," Wade said. "Both teams should come out knowing each other, knowing what each other want to do, and it should be a very good game."

Not the way this series has been going.

Game 1 was a thriller, neither team able to build a double-digit lead over four back-and-fourth quarters before Tony Parker's clinching basket helped the Spurs pull out a 92-88 victory.

The teams haven't delivered a classic since. The Heat won by 19, lost by 36 and cruised by 16. The last few minutes of each have looked more like an October exhibition than a mid-June championship clash.

"You lose a game like we did in Game 2 and we come back and beat them in Game 3 and look like they looked last night, that's what drives me crazy, because as coaches you try to prevent that," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Friday during a conference call. Neither team practiced.

"You like to be on a little bit more of an even keel and perform the same way each night, and the only thing I can tell myself after all these years is, you're dealing with people, with emotions and not robots," Popovich said. "They come out and they all play hard, but there's that little intangible, that little spark of intensity or back against the wall, or a little bit of fear that just seems to kick in when you've lost the previous game. And when you find teams that can get over that, those are the championship teams."

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