MIAMI (AP) -- They lost three times in three months in one of the most overpowering stretches the NBA has ever seen.
Now the Miami Heat have lost three times in five games.
So superb during the regular season, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat have to be something even more for the rest of the NBA Finals.
They have to be perfect.
"We look forward to the challenge," James said.
The San Antonio Spurs can finish Miami off Tuesday night in Game 6, reaffirming themselves as one of the league's greatest franchises.
If so, the Heat and their Big Three once again go from celebrated to devastated, just as they were two years ago when they came home from Texas facing this same predicament.
"We're going to see if we're a better team than we were our first year together," James said.
The Spurs took a 3-2 lead with their 114-104 victory Sunday night. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were all brilliant again, and Danny Green added to what could become one of the most out-of-nowhere finals MVP campaigns ever.
One more victory makes the Spurs 5-0 in the NBA Finals, keeping pace with Michael Jordan's 6-0 Chicago Bulls as the only teams to make it here multiple times and never lose.
"We understand Game 6 is huge," Parker said. "Obviously, you want to finish in the first opportunity you get. We understand that Miami is going to come out with a lot more energy, and they're going to play better at home. They're going to shoot the ball better. Their crowd is going to be behind them."
None of that mattered two years ago.
Clearly reeling and their psyches shaken after dropping two straight games in Dallas, the Heat were blitzed early in Game 6. They never recovered, Chris Bosh inconsolable as he made his way back to the locker room afterward while the Mavericks celebrated at center court.
James had to endure the criticisms that came with not getting it done in the finals, a story line that was put to rest last year but will be back again if the Heat don't manage to put together consecutive victories.
"We challenge ourselves to see if we're a better team than we were," Wade said. "Same position no matter how we got to it."
The Heat would also host Game 7 on Thursday. They're trying to join the 1988 and 2010 Los Angeles Lakers and 1994 Houston Rockets as the only teams to rally from 3-2 down by winning the final two on their home floor since the NBA Finals went to a 2-3-2 format in 1985.
Of course, the Heat - who won 27 in a row during the second-longest winning streak in league history - haven't put together consecutive victories now in close to a month.
"We're in a position where it's a must-win and everything that we've done all year comes to this point, and we have to win," Heat guard Ray Allen said. "We've found ourselves in so many situations this year, and we've thrived in tough moments because this is a tough team. We will be ready for Game 6."
So will the Spurs, and the Heat know it.
"I'm sure this team, they've been here before many times. They understand winning that last game is one of the hardest things you're going to do. And we understand it as well," Wade said.
"But you know what? It's the game; we've got to play it. I like our chances, just like they like their chances, in this series and in Game 6. We'll see. We'll see which team, which style is going to prevail."
Their four titles have made the Spurs respected but never beloved. Their first, in 1999, came following a 50-game lockout season, and they certainly weren't the team to help the NBA regain its jilted fan base.
Victories in 2003 over New Jersey, 2005 over Detroit and 2007 over James' Cleveland Cavaliers were all low-rated, lukewarm-interest series in which the Spurs were supposed to win and did, just not in a way that erased the idea that they had boring players with a boring brand of basketball.
Win this one, though, and they will surely get their due. They would be knocking off the league's winningest team and the game's best player, with Duncan at 37 and Ginobili soon to be 36, behind a more wide-open offense that has helped Green break Allen's finals record for 3-pointers.
Not that they're thinking about that, or anything else beyond Game 6 at this point.
"We'll reflect back and let it hit us when it's over. We still have a lot more work to do. There's still some business to be done. We have to carry it out and finish it," said Green, who was cut previously by the Cavaliers and Spurs and now has made 25 3-pointers in the first five games.
It looked as though the game was finally passing by the Spurs last year, when the young Oklahoma City Thunder blew by them with four straight victories after San Antonio had taken a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
The Heat routed the Thunder for the championship and the Spurs brought back essentially the same team, believing another year in their system for players like Green and Kawhi Leonard was a better option than seeking out some quick-fix outsider.
That's almost always been the Spurs' way, and it's on the verge of again being the model for an NBA title - at the expense of the Miami one that once appeared to be the way champions would be built.
"I think every one of us wants this very badly from the top on down," Duncan said. "We're trying to play that way."
BOSTON (AP) -- The puck bounced off the post and rolled across the crease, away from the goal line. The red light flashed briefly, but replays would confirm that Tuukka Rask's shutout streak was intact.
For the last 122 minutes, 26 seconds of the Stanley Cup finals, the Bruins goalie has prevented Chicago from scoring.
Rask made 28 more saves in Game 3 on Monday night to earn his third shutout of the postseason, leading Boston to a 2-0 victory over the Blackhawks and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
"We ran up against some of the best goalies in the league here," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "Tonight I thought we made it rather easy on him as far as traffic and finding and seeing pucks. I think we've got to be better at going to the net."
After playing four extra periods in the first two games, the Bruins made an early night of it in Game 3 with second-period goals by Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron.
Corey Crawford had 33 saves for a Blackhawks team playing without Marian Hossa, who was scratched just before gametime.
Game 4 is Wednesday night in Boston before the matchup of Original Six franchises returns to Chicago for a fifth game. The teams split the first two games there, with the Blackhawks winning Game 1 in triple-overtime and the Bruins stealing home-ice advantage on Paille's goal in the first OT of the second game.
"Obviously, you go triple-overtime, (then) overtime the next game, it takes a lot of energy out of you," Rask said. "But we'll take a regulation win, for sure."
This time the intrigue came before the opening faceoff instead of after the end of regulation.
Hossa and Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara both left the ice after warmups. But while Chara needed just some stitches after a collision with teammate Milan Lucic, Hossa was dropped from the lineup with an unspecified injury.
"I was as surprised as anybody else," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I can definitely tell you they lost a pretty important player on their roster, but that doesn't mean we change our game. I think it's important we stick with what we believe in."
Julien said Chara slipped and "had a little gash over his eye."
"Nothing serious," the coach said of his captain and No. 1 defenseman, who still managed to lead the team in ice time.
Quenneville was less forthcoming with information on Hossa's malady, sticking to the standard NHL diagnosis: Upper body.
"We'll say `day-to-day.' We're hopeful he'll be ready for the next game," he said, adding that it did not happen during warmups, as had been reported on the team's Twitter account and the TV broadcast. "It was a game-time decision after the warmup there. That's when we made the call, after warmup."
Hossa, who has three game-winning goals in the playoffs this year, was tied for the team lead with 15 playoff points and was third on the Blackhawks with 17 goals during the regular season.
It was a loss the Blackhawks couldn't afford.
Not with Rask stopping everything that came his way.
The backup to Conn Smythe-winner Tim Thomas in the Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup run, Rask didn't face as difficult a test as in the first period of Game 2, when the Blackhawks sent 19 shots at him but managed just one goal.
The Bruins outshot Chicago 26-18 and led 2-0 after two periods. The Blackhawks had a 10-9 edge in the third, including a late flurry on a 6-on-4 - a power play with Crawford pulled for an extra skater - that led to Bryan Bickell's shot off the post with 42 seconds left in the game.
The puck caromed off the right post as play continued for another 30 seconds before the whistle blew and the game degenerated into fisticuffs. Chara was on top of Bickell, pounding away, and Andrew Shaw got the better of Brad Marchand.
By the time it was all sorted out, the benches were a little emptier and the scoring column for Chicago was still blank.
"You're playing the last five minutes of the game, you know they're going to throw everything at you that they possibly can," Rask said. "Got the penalty there. Got a little lucky there, one save off my blade and the post."
After a scoreless first period, the Bruins made it 1-0 when Paille slapped in the puck at 2:13 of the second, falling to one knee for extra power. It stayed that way until late in the second, when the Bruins picked up their first power plays of the game on two nearly identical sequences, with a Bruin racing to the net and a Blackhawk undercutting his skates and sending him crashing into the left post.
Boston set up its offense during the 11-second two-man advantage, and just five seconds after it expired - but before Dave Bolland was able to get back into the play - Jaromir Jagr slid one across the middle, past Lucic in the center to Bergeron on the other side; he settled it and then knocked it in.
It was Jagr's 197th career playoff point in 199 games, moving him into sole possession of fifth place on the NHL's all-time postseason points list.
Notes: Jagr had been tied with Paul Coffey on the career postseason scoring list. ... Two of Jagr's playoff points came on goals scored against the Blackhawks when they were swept by the Penguins in 1992 final. ... Boston's Gregory Campbell, who broke his leg blocking a shot in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, attended the game. ... The Bruins have killed off 27 straight penalties in the playoffs. ... Boston's David Krejci entered the game tied with Chicago's Andrew Sharp for the most goals in the postseason with nine. The Bruins center entered the game leading all scorers with 23 points. ... The Bruins are attempting to win a Cup for the second time in three seasons for the third time in their history. They also did it in 1939 and `41 and again in 1970 and `72. ... The Bruins won their seventh straight home playoff game. ... The Blackhawks fell to 3-5 on the road in the postseason. ... Ben Smith, who played just one game this regular season and none in the playoffs, replaced Hossa in the lineup.
CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago Police are investigating several shootings after a violent weekend that left at least seven people dead and more than three dozen wounded.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday that it was the city's most violent weekend of the year.
Authorities say the weekend's first homicide happened late Friday. The tally, which included at least 41 injuries, spanned Friday night through Sunday night.
Also, police say an officer shot and killed a teenager Sunday night on the South Side after the teen pointed a gun at them. The Cook County Medical Examiner's office identified the teen as 15-year-old Michael Westley.
Police say despite the spate of shootings over the weekend there have been fewer shootings and homicides this year compared to the same period last year.