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June 15, 2014

Finals G5: San Antonio 104, Heat 87: Miami three-peat dream dies. Fast start fizzles as LeBron (31) gets no help again; plus FUTBLOG! & more

1) It is MONDAY, JUNE 16. R.I.P., Casey Kasem, 82. His distinctive dulcet tone and 'America's Top 40' were part of the soundtrack of my life. 2) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with (what else) Heat-Spurs. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Miracle-or-'Melo poll, Futblog! World Cup Days 1-2-3 and more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

Click on LeBron Or Bust for my column from San Antonio off last night's season-ending Heat loss.

G5: SAN ANTONIO 104, HEAT 87: TORRID START, LEBRON'S 31 NOT ENOUGH AS THREE-PEAT DREAM ENDS: Miami led 22-6. After that, the Heat was outscored 98-65. What else there to say? Well, plenty. LeBron James scored 31 points and nobody else had more than 13 (Chris Bosh) for the Heat. Dwyane Wade fizzled with 11 on 4-for-12 shooting. Ray Allen, who started in place of slumping Mario Chalmers, was a quiet 1-for-8. It was LeBron or bust. It was bust. Perspective: San Antonio was absolutely terrific and thoroughly deserved to win the championship. And there is no shame in Miami losing -- even the way it did -- after two championships and four straight NBA Finals appearances in the BIg 3 era. Click LeBron Or Bust for my game column from San Antonio. ..... Original post: Chris Bosh after today's shootaround here: "We're not going down. We're going to win this game tonight. Plain and simple, we're going to win this game. I don't care about guarantees. We're just going to win this game." San Antonio's arena will be filled tonight with fans expecting a coronation, and also a de-throning. The Heat 1aa1aheatg5 1aa1a14finalsmust send them home disappointed, and then win Tuesday back in Miami, and then win a Game 7 back in Texas, to forge the miracle it would take for a three-peat championship. Odds could not be longer considering no team in NBA history ever has come back from a 3-1 Finals deficit to win. The question is: Who believes? Do Miami fans? Do Heat players themselves? It will take more than belief, of course. Intangibles like confidence won't be enough unless the Heat comes out with maximum effort and intensity, plays ferocious defense and gets major offense from places beyond LeBron James. Even that might not be enough; the Spurs are that good. But all of that at least gives Miami a shot. We should know in the first quarter, by Miami's motor and desperation, if the Heat came here for Game 5 to win it or to go through the motions in resignation. Bosh's quote alone suggests the former. So does everything we've learned about the Heat in the Big 3 era.

Poll result: Heat fans want a miracle three-peat more than they want 'Melo: We asked in a rare (for us) hypothetical poll if Heat fans who could pick only one would prefer a miracle rally for a three-peat title or adding Carmelo Anthony this summer. The miracle championship won with 65.7 percent, but that means slightly more than one in three voters opted for 'Melo.

Heat Postseason MVP Standings: We name 'Heat 3 Stars' after every playoff game and award points on 3-2-1 basis. The standings through 19 playoff games, entering Sunday's Game 5: LeBron James 45 points, Dwyane Wade 25, Chris Bosh 21, Ray Allen 8, Rashard Lewis 7, Chris Andersen 3, James Jones 3, Norris Cole 2.

1aa1abrazilwcFUTBLOG! ARGENTINA DEBUT, WIN TOPS DAY'S ACTION: FUTBLOG! is the official World Cup post of this blog, offering continually updated daily news/summaries/miscellanea on the month-long soccer quadrennial in Brazil. (See earlier post for our group-by-group preview).

Day 4 / Today 6-15: Match of Day: ARGENTINA 2, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA 1 (Group F): The Argentines were gifted an own-goal and a score by national gift Lionel Messi to offset a late goal by Bosnia.

Switzerland 2, Ecuador 1 (Group E): Headed for the first darw of this World Cup, the Swiss scored in stoppage time.

1aa1afranceFrance 3, Honduras 0 (Group E): France, off a miserable World Cup four years ago, started neatly this time. Giving up a penalty-kick goal and playing a man down on a red card was an awful recipe for Honduras, one of the WC's biggest underdogs.

Notes: Rather a light day on the marquee, although the debut of highly regarded Argentina, my choice to win it all, lights up the schedule. ..... France claims a "spy drone" flew over one of its training sessions. FIFA is investigating. Hilarious! ..... See previous post for World Cup Days 1-2-3.

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