The Miami Heat came back from a 5-point deficit with 28 seconds left to force overtime, then shut down the Spurs offense for the last 2:42 to win Game 6 of the NBA Finals 103-100. It all comes down to a do or die game 7 which will take place Thursday night from Miami. Get your popcorn ready.
The first half was dominated by Tim Duncan. The eldest Spur erupted for 25 points, including 13 straight at one point and San Antonio led by 6 at the break. The Spurs kept it going building a 10-point lead going into the 4th.
LeBron James, who was dreadful through the first 3 quarters scoring 14 points on just 3/12 from the field decided to toss his headband. He quickly became a different player. James took charge and helped give the Heat an 89-86 lead with 2:09 to go. It looked like the Heat were going to put the Spurs away, but San Antonio fought back going on an 8-0 run to build a 5-point lead with 28 seconds to go. Just like that, the tide changed and it looked like the Spurs were on their way to a championship.
The Heat then called a timeout, and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich took Tim Duncan out of the game. LeBron James came out of the timeout, missed a 3, and Mike Miller got the offensive rebound. Miller got it back to James who this time hit a 3 to cut the deficit to 2 points. LeBron had 16 in the 4th.
On San Antonio’s next possession, Miller fouled Kawhi Leonard who made 1 of 2 free throws with 19 seconds remaining to keep Miami’s hopes alive. Once again with Duncan out of the game, LeBron James missed a potential game tying 3 with 7 seconds left. Chris Bosh got the rebound and found Ray Allen who then rose above the defense to hit a season saving game tying 3. Tony Parker’s shot at the buzzer was off and the game went to overtime.
Popovich’s decision to take Duncan out for the last 2 possessions of regulation will be heavily criticized going into Thursday’s Game 7 as Miami was able to get 2 second chance opportunities capitalizing on both.
In overtime, the Heat held San Antonio scoreless over the final 2:29. LeBron gave the Heat the lead for good with a 7-foot jumper. With 8 seconds left, Tony Parker on the bench, and a timeout left, Popovich let Manu Ginobili take it himself to the basket where there was a questionable no-call. Ray Allen got it, was fouled, then proceeded to hit 2-free throws. Danny Green’s desperation 3 was blocked by Chris Bosh and the Heat hung on for the win.
LeBron James finished the game with 32 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds for his 2nd triple-double of the Finals.
Mario Chalmers easily played his best game of the Finals scoring 20 points. He was 4/5 from 3 and provided a major lift for Miami. Over the last 3 games, Chalmers scored a combined 13 points. Dwyane Wade didn’t look himself and had 14 points on 6/15 shooting.
Although Chris Bosh struggled for most of the game, he made huge plays for Miami late in the 4th quarter and into overtime. Bosh got the offensive rebound that led to Ray Allen’s game tying 3, and set the tone in overtime scoring Miami’s first points of the session.
Allen had 9 points on 3/8 shooting, 7 of those in the last 5 seconds of regulation and overtime. Shane Battier was effective in his 13 minutes giving the Heat 9 big points on 3/4 from 3. Chris Anderson made his return to the lineup, but scored only 1 point in 14 minutes.
For the Spurs, Tim Duncan cooled down significantly in the 2nd half scoring 5 points. He did have a game high 17 rebounds. Tony Parker briefly flashed with 5 straight points to give the Spurs a 91-89 after trailing by 3. For the game, Parker scored 19 points on 6/23 shooting. LeBron James did an excellent job making sure Parker wouldn’t be the one to end Miami’s season.
Kawhi Leonard had another solid game scoring 22 points and bringing down 11 rebounds. What Leonard will remember though from the game is his crucial missed free throw in the 4th.
The best defensive adjustment the Heat made was making Danny Green get rid of the ball. Green had made an NBA Finals record 25 three’s over the first 5 games. The Heat didn’t give Green much room in Game 6, and he was 1/7 from the field and hit one 3 for the game.
Manu Ginobili didn’t come close to matching his incredible Game 5 performance scoring 9 points on 2/5 shooting. Ginobili was given the ball on the Spurs’ last 2 possessions, turning it over both times. He had an unacceptable 8 turnovers on the night. Ginobili must take better care of the basketball on Thursday.
After 4 consecutive blowouts, Game 6 was the game of the series, and possibly of the entire season. Each team had golden opportunities to win the game, and the Heat ultimately prevailed to improve to 7-0 in the playoffs following a loss, this one though was the first that wasn’t won by double digits.
If the Heat are going to win game 7, Miami will have to go on a winning streak, something they haven’t done since the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against Chicago.