Gary Payton offers epic reason why Miami Heat still have chance in NBA Finals'
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The Miami Heat will face elimination for the first time in the NBA playoffs in Orlando, Fla. on Friday. The Los Angeles Lakers have a 3-1 lead, with many already writing off Erik Spoelstra’s resilient squad.

Although most have written off the Heat as they head into Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Hall of Famer Gary Payton wrote a piece in The Players’ Tribune explaining why Miami can’t be counted out despite facing long odds.

“Man, if y’all want to know, here it is,” wrote Payton. “Here’s the big secret:

“Heat Culture isn’t just about winning.

“It’s about how you win.

“It’s crawling to the finish line if you have to. It’s leaving NOTHING in the tank. It’s being in the best fucking shape of your LIFE. It’s always wanting more: out of yourself, out of your teammates, even out of the game. It’s being that type of guy where they might talk bad about you in the media — about your attitude or your ego or whatever it may be — but Pat [Riley] knows you’re going to give him that BULLY on the court.

“It’s why you can’t count this team out — not even down 3–1.”

With the Heat defying the odds throughout their entire time in the NBA bubble, it’s hard to completely count out this team even if it is dealing with some costly injuries.

Bam Adebayo is expected back on the floor for Game 5 after battling his way through his shoulder injury in Game 4. Goran Dragic remains doubtful as his foot injury may be too severe to bounce back from at this point.

As for the Lakers, LeBron James and company will be as motivated as ever to end this series on Friday while sporting their Kobe Bryant-inspired jerseys for potentially the last time this season.

It will almost certainly be a hard-fought battle for the Heat as they try to defy the odds one more time during this incredible playoff run.

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Ryan is a veteran sportswriter with nearly a decade of experience covering the NBA. From interviewing players and coaches to covering games as a credentialed member of the media, Ryan has done it all. Follow him on Twitter @RyanWardLA.