SAN ANTONIO Gregg Popovich matched the Miami Heat and went small. And his San Antonio Spurs came up big.
After Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had moved guard Mike Miller into the starting lineup in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, the Spurs coach counteracted by replacing center Tiago Splitter with guard Manu Ginobili in Sunday nights Game 5 at the AT&T Center.
The move worked brilliantly. Ginobili, who had been slumping lately, had 24 points and 10 assists as the Spurs won 114-104 to take a 3-2 lead in the series. Game 6 is Tuesday in Miami.
Ginobili ignited the Spurs immediately by opening the game with what was called a 3-pointer. A review later changed it to a 2-pointer but it had gotten the crowd going.
The Spurs led by as many as 17 points in the second quarter. The Heat fought back to cut the deficit to one in the third quarter before the Spurs pushed the lead to as much as 20 in the fourth quarter. Miami got within eight points in the final two minutes but the Spurs were able t...