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Heat have NBA Finals, future and legacy on the line in Game 5

The NBA Finals haven't lost a lot of drama, just because the San Antonio Spurs have pulled away over the Miami Heat. While the Spurs seem set on ending the NBA Finals on June 15 at home, the Heat could have a lot more ending than that. With another decisive loss in Game 5, Miami's two-year reign over the NBA, its Big Three era and its very legacy may come to a crashing halt as well.

Heat, James have a lot to lose in Game 5
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The minute the Heat are eliminated from the finals, the questions will begin over whether LeBron James will choose to opt out of his contract, and whether Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh need to be dumped. With Wade becoming a non-factor in this series and James getting virtually no help from everyone else -- whether he's on fire or not -- Miami's very makeup may have to be altered in some way.

Can Miami keep the Big Three together for another year, and is it even a good idea? Will the Heat need a Big Four, or a new version of the Big Three, to remain championship favorites? If the Spurs blow them out once more in Game 5, most will probably answer yes to both questions.

It would be one thing for the Heat to lose, given that the Spurs won 62 games and waited for this moment for 12 months. But San Antonio avenging itself against Miami in such a lopsided matter is something else. In fact, it makes it even more improbable that the Spurs coughed up the 2013 finals to the Heat in the first place.

If Miami loses this series, it will drop to 2-2 in the NBA Finals in the James/Wade/Bosh era. By all accounts, it really should have been 1-3, if the Spurs had made just one more play in Game 6 last year. More and more, that championship is starting to look like a fluke -- and by that account, so is the dominance of the Big Three.

For all that James, Wade and Bosh have done together, their legacy will take a big hit with one more defeat. If this series ends with three straight losses, it will put the future and legacy of the Big Three under a microscope it might not survive this offseason.

The Spurs look to start the offseason in Game 5 at 9 p.m. est on ABC.

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