It's Game 5 — and the Miami Heat Must Win

The road to a world-shocking title starts tonight.
The road to a world-shocking title starts tonight. Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty
The Miami Heat needs to win three games in a row. This has happened before. There's one small issue, though: Only one team — the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018 — has ever reeled off three straight wins while down 3-1 in the NBA Finals.

Regardless of the terms, Miami begins its quest to shock the world tonight in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against LeBron and the L.A. Lakers. You can't win three in a row without winning one in a row, so here goes that.

In preparation, here's everything you need to know about a game the Miami Heat must win to clinch the right to play another must-win game before a final must-win game.
The basics. The game starts at 9 p.m., and you can watch it on ESPN3 or ABC. If Heat players can pull another win out of their collective butts, they'll do it all again on Sunday night.

That's a big "if." Luckily, Game 5 is taking place on a Friday night, so win or lose, we can all lick our hungover wounds this weekend.
Las Vegas doesn't think the Heat has a chance. The Heat will enter Game 5 as a big underdog, just as it's been in every game of the NBA Finals thus far. The line is plus-7 as of last night. That's a lot for what is supposed to be a matchup of the two best teams in the NBA.

In Game 4, bettors who took the Lakers at a similar line took a bad beat when Tyler Herro knocked down a garbage-time three-pointer at the buzzer to make the final score 102-96.
The Lakers have officially changed outfits in anticipation of a party. These cocky assholes! The Lakers were supposed to wear their Kobe Bryant-inspired "Mamba" jerseys next in Game 7, but they seem to think there will be a celebration tonight — they've decided to break out their going-to-church clothes.

The Lakers obviously believe there will be pictures taken. You can guarantee LeBron will have on his best fake hair and manicure his weird bra-shaped beard. It's up to the Heat to ruin the party and send LeBron and his beard back to the hotel one more time.
The Heat is trying to avoid the gentleman's sweep. The Miami Heat are 33 percent away from an NBA championship. That's how we're going to choose to look at it. They need three wins. They're also one loss from being given the dreaded gentlemen's sweep: losing in five games.

For those unaware, this is a series victory in which the victorious team is nice enough to grant the losing team one win. It's much nicer than a sweep, but in a messed-up way, it's worse. Losing in six is far more respectable.
Bam Adebayo could play in Game 5 after recovering from a neck injury. While we won't know for certain if Bam will play in Game 5 until it actually starts, there's no reason to believe he won't take the court in the most important game of his career. After 33 minutes of surprisingly healthy-looking play in Game 4, Bam should be good to go with two days of rest between games.

Bam gave Miami 15 points on six-for-eight shooting in Game 4. If the team is to extend this series to Sunday, it'll need more than that, but more importantly, the Heat will need a solid rebounding game.
Goran Dragic definitely will not play in Game 5. Goran Dragic is done for the season. Heat fans should be happy to see him re-signed this offseason and back on the court in January. After watching Dragic attempt to warm up with a foot injury before Game 4, there is just no chance he even tries to play tonight.

Him even attempting to play on Tuesday night with a torn plantar fasciitis was the stuff of legend. It's a pity Dragic won't be able to play in the finals.
Time is a flat circle, and it's time for LeBron to find that out. The Miami Heat is about to give LeBron a taste of his own medicine. LeBron is the only player to ever lead a team to a championship after being down 3-1. It would only make sense if he was on the other end of the second team to accomplish that feat.

The road to a world-shocking title starts tonight. It all starts with one win.

Come next week, we'll either be talking about Game 7 or what the Miami Heat can do to get back to the main stage in 2021.
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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.