LeBron James and the Miami Heat struggled through much of the first three quarters of Game 6 against the San Antonio Spurs. But a burst at the end that featured three-pointers by LeBron and Ray Allen, along with a timely offensive rebound from Chris Bosh, forced overtime and an eventual comeback victory to force the final Game 7 on Thursday night.
LeBron came through despite a shaky night to score 16 fourth quarter points to lead the Heat rally but he was not the only hero tonight. Mario Chalmers had a huge game with 20 points, Dwyane Wade was hobbled but contributed 14 points, Birdman returned after a two game absence to bring his trademark hustle that energized the crowd and his teammates and Shane Battier shook off his well-documented shooting struggles to knock down three triples.
Tim Duncan was unstoppable through three quarters of the game, feasting down in the paint primarily against Bosh in single coverage with the Heat unwilling to allow multiple Spurs three-pointers. Though Duncan had reached 30 by the end of the third quarter, he wouldn't score a point in the final quarter or the overtime period and the Spurs as a team finished 5-18 from beyond the arc.
Manu Ginobili returned to his poor form that he displayed during the Finals prior to Game 5 and finished with only 9 points but with 8 turnovers and 4 fouls. Danny Green was ineffective as well with just 3 points on 1-8 shooting. Tony Parker, like Duncan, also faded late in the second half after a strong start and finished with 19 points on ineffective 6-23 shooting.
The Spurs had every answer for the Heat through much of the night, responding once again in the second half when the Heat had cut the deficit to one point. With just one quarter left, the Spurs were up by 10 points and had the championship in grasp with timely baskets and solid team defense that was not allowing any space for LeBron or Wade to do damage slashing to the basket.
LeBron had 14 points through the first three quarters on 3-12 shooting, with zero field goals made in the third quarter, along with 7 assists. He picked up his production tremendously in the fourth quarter and overtime, adding 18 more points on 8-14 from the floor with 4 more assists for the triple double of 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
With six straight points from the MVP and a great pass to Chris Andersen that led to a free throw for Birdman, the Heat was able to cut the lead to two for the start of the big comeback in the final quarter. It wasn't just big shots at the end of the game either that won it, it was the return of the Heat team defense that forced Spurs turnovers and blocked shots at the rim that would have iced the game and ended the Heat's season.They also could not capitalize on the Heat's three turnovers in the final minute of regulation, with a particularly costly missed free throw from Kawhi Leonard.
Now after one of the most electrifying Finals games ever and one of the more amazing comebacks in the Heat's history with so much at stake, the defending champs live to see another game. Not just any game, this is the last game of the 2012-13 NBA season and a champion must be crowned in less than 48 hours.
With many Heat fans' prayers answered late in Game 6, the Heat will need a total team effort throughout the entire Game 7 to close out the Spurs and repeat as champs. This was not one of the Heat's better games this postseason and there is plenty of room for improvement on both ends of the floor. But that is the past and now it's just one more game. One more victory in the postseason after a franchise-record 66 regular season victories.
The 16th and final win is there within reach after the wild ride that was Game 6. Heat fans, get ready for another emotional roller coaster Thursday night.
|Final - 6.18.2013||1||2||3||4||OT 1||Total|
|San Antonio Spurs||25||25||25||20||5||100|