San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili loses the ball between Miami Heat's… (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images )
1. This game should be shown on a continual loop on ESPN Classic until the tip-off of Game 7. There were enough signature moments in Miami’s 103-100 overtime victory over San Antonio in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to fill not just a series, but a season. There was the yellow courtside rope that shouldn’t have been there. The missing LeBron James headband that should have been. Ray Allen’s corner three-pointer in the final seconds of regulation that capped a madcap rally from five points down with 21 seconds left. Chris Bosh’s two big blocks in overtime, including the game-clinching swat of Danny Green’s three-pointer. Tony Parker’s step-back three-pointer that tied the score in regulation, followed by his spin move around Mario Chalmers that put the Spurs ahead. Did we miss anything? Oh, yeah, Mike Miller’s three-pointer on one shoe.
2. Gregg Popovich did what? The usually savvy San Antonio coach held Tim Duncan out for the final 19 seconds of regulation and Parker out for the last 31 seconds of overtime. Neither decision worked out well. . With Duncan, who finished the game with 17 rebounds, watching from the bench and a small Spurs lineup on the floor, presumably to defend the perimeter, Bosh secured a rebound with six seconds left in regulation and found Allen for the tying three-pointer. With Parker out of the game in overtime, the ball was in the hands of Manu Ginobili, who had eight turnovers and a plus-minus of negative 21. Ginobili had the ball stripped by Allen on a drive to the basket (though a foul could have easily been called) with two seconds left and the Spurs had to foul Allen, who made two free throws for the game’s final points. Note to Popovich: It’s generally advisable to have your future Hall of Famers on the floor at the end of close games.
3. Unless the Spurs win Game 7, they will endure sleepless nights from now to eternity. The final 28 seconds of regulation were all about missed opportunities for San Antonio after some Heat fans had already called it a season and departed AmericanAirlines Arena. Ginobili missed one of two free throws with the Spurs leading by four points. Kawhi Leonard then missed one of two free throws with the Spurs up by two. Then, as if he wanted to provide one more foible in a performance full of them, Ginobili threw a pass directly to James with 44 seconds left in overtime. Regrets? It’s safe to say the Spurs had a few.
4. James’ legacy remains intact, for now. That unexpected wind gust that hit South Beach late Tuesday night was James exhaling after what might have been the finest late-game performance of his career. He scored 18 points in the fourth quarter and overtime alone on the way to another Finals triple-double of 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He shrugged off a couple of uncharacteristic plays, including one in which he lost the ball on a drive to the basket with 28 seconds left in regulation and another in which he missed badly on a three-pointer with 23 seconds left, only to make one three seconds later. And he did it all without the headband that he lost somewhere along the way. One more victory and James wins a second consecutive title with the Heat, making that proclamation from the summer of 2010 about how many championships he would win seem a little less ridiculous.
5. If anyone has the mental fortitude to win a Game 7 on the road, it’s these Spurs. They don’t come much tougher than Duncan, Parker and Ginobili, none of whom have lost — or even trailed — in a Finals series. Yes, this was a crushing defeat for the Spurs. But the less-than-snuggly Popovich showed he hadn’t loss his edge when asked how he would get his team ready for Game 7. “Get them on a bus, it arrives at the ramp over here, we get off the bus, we get on the court and we play,” Popovich said. “That's how we get ready.” It also might be how they roll to an improbable victory in an impossibly back-and-forth series that has seen more momentum swings than the Coney Island Cyclone.
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