Four NBA Finals games, three blowouts, two re-energized Miami stars and one acerbic San Antonio coach.

Other than that, these finals are as hard to pin down as any, the loser continually coming back to win the next game by a double-digit margin and throwing open the latest case of "Team A Is in a Gigantic Heap of Trouble," followed up the next game by "Team B Is in a Gigantic Heap of Trouble."

It's the series nobody can figure out, and it's splendid that way. No one has a clue who will win the tiebreaking Game 5 Sunday in San Antonio before the series shifts back to Miami for good.

Amid the hypotheses and injury reports came at least one truism Saturday, courtesy of Spurs forward Tim Duncan.

"It is a must win," he said. "Huge pressure if we have to go back there and try to win two."

Despite the resurgence of Dwyane Wade (32 points, six steals in Game 4) and the bounce-back effort of LeBron James (33 points), the basketball trends favor San Antonio.

Neither team has won consecutive games in the series.

The Spurs haven't lost two in a row in almost two months, since dropping a pair to the Warriors and Minnesota to end the regular season. They've gone 14-4 in the postseason.

Plus, Miami hasn't won consecutive games in almost four weeks.

Setting aside Duncan's must-win analysis, it's often tough to decipher the Spurs.


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Coach Gregg Popovich was his usual tight-lipped self Saturday, even surly as he fenced with reporters. Asked whether he would consider a lineup change for Game 5, Popovich said, "I'd hate to be trite and say anything is possible. Your question demands my triteness."

The Miami side offered some analysis, including a mild rebuke when reminded of the Heat's recent inability to win consecutive games.

"It's not as if we have never won two in a row," coach Erik Spoelstra said.

  • Spurs guard Tony Parker said he will continue to play through the pain of a sore right hamstring. He practiced Saturday and will play Sunday.

    "My hamstring can tear any time now," Parker said. "So if it was the regular season, I would be resting like 10 days."

    Trade rumors: Talks between the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics on a possible deal to bring Boston coach Doc Rivers to Los Angeles have reached a stalemate, several NBA executives said. The Clippers have concluded that if Boston isn't receptive to their offer, they will hire either Indiana associate head coach Brian Shaw or former Memphis coach Lionel Hollins this week, according to the executives.

    Executives also said that a rumored sign-and-trade deal that reportedly would send center Dwight Howard from the Lakers to the Clippers for forward Blake Griffin and point guard Eric Bledsoe is not going to happen.

    Kings: Sacramento hired Denver executive Pete D'Alessandro as its new general manager. D'Alessandro will replace the departing Geoff Petrie, a team official confirmed on condition of anonymity.

    Nuggets: Denver guard Andre Iguodala is expected to opt out of his contract for next season and become a free agent, ESPN.com reported citing multiple reports.

    The Sun Sentinel (Fla.) and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    NBA FINALS
    Sunday: Game 5, Miami at San Antonio, 5 p.m. ABC