SAN ANTONIO – Early Sunday evening, LeBron James will gather his Miami Heat teammates around him and offer a few final words of wisdom before they try to extend their reign as NBA champions.
James never rehearses the speech, but already knows what the gist will be.
“It would be in the range of, ‘Why not us?’ ” James said Saturday. “Why not us? History is broken all the time. And obviously we know we’re against the greatest of odds.”
Against the greatest of odds, against maybe the greatest of San Antonio Spurs teams, too. Both are very much against the Heat now, and both are winning. The Spurs are a victory away from their fifth championship, and will go for it at home tonight in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
The Spurs are the 32nd team in NBA history to hold a 3-1 lead in the finals. All 31 of the previous teams have won the title.
“History is made to be broken, and why not me be a part of it? That would be great,” James said. “That would be a great story line, right? But we’ll see what happens. I’ve got to live in the moment, though, before we even get to that point.”
The Spurs have the same way of thinking.
“We’ve got to act like we’re coming into it like it’s a road game,” Spurs guard Danny Green said. “It’s a mentality thing. We have to come up with the same mentality we do on the road and try to protect home court and play with desperation.”
There was no talk from the Spurs on Saturday about closing in on a title, or anything remotely close to that topic.
“They’re going to come out and give us their best punch possible,” Spurs star Tim Duncan said. “We know that they’re back-to-back champs and they’ve been in this situation before and they have all the confidence in the world that they can win these games. So we have to do just the same. Come out there and say, hey, we’re going to take it little by little, quarter by quarter, and see what happens.”
Thing is, the Heat – these Heat, anyway – haven’t been in this situation before.