- Brian James
ESPN Insider Brian James will provide scouting reports throughout the NBA Finals.
Keys in Game 5
San Antonio: With all the big-time players starting this game, who would have thought that the star of Game 5 would come off the bench? Robert Horry was simply amazing down the stretch. I've never seen him play better and, yes, I know he already has five championship rings to his credit. Horry scored 21 of the Spurs' final 35 points and made another "biggest shot of his career" 3-point basket off the sideline, out-of-bounds play with 9.6 seconds left. This capped an incredible run by Horry, including hitting a tough 3 over Rasheed Wallace to tie the score at 79, as well as making crucial free throws, throwing down an improbable lefty "tomahawk" dunk, and hitting yet another 3 on a kickback pass from high screen-roll action, in which Horry stays lifted as Tim Duncan rolls hard to the basket. Duncan had 26 points on 11-of-24 shooting and 19 rebounds. His stat sheet looked good but he truly struggled in the fourth quarter and overtime. Duncan went more than 10 minutes without a field goal. It seemed like he was holding on to the ball too long on his free throws and he got out of his rhythm mentally, missing six of his last seven. He also missed a point-blank tip at the end of regulation the one shot I'm sure Tim wishes he had back. The "zipper" cut by Manu to the top of the floor for an isolation was the critical play San Antonio went with down the stretch, allowing him to drive and make a play. Thus, San Antonio escaped Detroit with a 3-2 edge coming home.
3dEthan Sherwood Strauss
4dMatt Walks, ESPN.com