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MIAMI – "Must-win" talk is typically reserved for playoff games later in a series. But with a less than typical situation on hand for the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals' 2-3-2 home-court format, Dwyane Wade already views Game 2 as critical against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night.
"It's very urgent," Wade said Saturday after the Heat's practice. "Obviously you don't want to go down 0 2 going to San Antonio for three straight games. Odds are not that good. They are not in our favor. We're not a team that really says too much [like], 'This is a must win game.' But this is a must win game."
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Before losing the Finals opener on Thursday night, Miami was 7-2 at home in this year's postseason. The Spurs are 6-1 in the playoffs at AT&T Center and 9-2 overall in Finals history in San Antonio.
LeBron James took a different public tone Saturday than his sidekick, saying, "Every game is important. Game 1, Game 2, 3, 4, no matter 2-3-2 format or it could be a 3-2-2 format. No matter what the format is, it's The Finals."
Miami hasn't lost two straight since Jan. 8 and 10 on the road against the Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers, respectively. It also hasn't lost two straight at home all season. The ability to bounce back is a particular source of pride for the Heat, said coach Erik Spoelstra.
"It's not a guarantee," Spoelstra said. "We don't take that for granted. But our guys get angry. They own it. We all own it together. And then we just work together to try to get better."
In seven ballgames, the Spurs haven't lost a road playoff game since May 12. Tony Parker expressed a hunger to get within two wins of a championship that's been a long time coming.
"We appreciate every moment," Parker said. "We don't take anything for granted, because it's been a long time. It's been six years. Felt like forever. After the Memphis series, there were a lot of emotions. I think we are really happy to be back, because I think we realize how hard it is to go to the Finals."
NBA Finals coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Spurs' Kawhi Leonard takes on impossible role against LeBron James
• Bosh's shooting, Tony Parker vs. LeBron James matchup concerns for Heat in Game 2
• Dennis Rodman says LeBron would've been 'average' in his era