NBA Goliaths Duke it out in a Game for the Ages


The basketball gods answered the prayers of every NBA fan last night. In the post-game words of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: “It was one hell of a game.”

Looking back at the series, the Heat seemed destined to win Game 6. Neither the Heat nor the Spurs had snagged consecutive wins through the first five games. The Spurs won Game 5 by 10. The Heat returned to its home court.

However, after the first half, as a Heat fan, I was squeamish. Tim Duncan completely dominated the paint with 25 points. He manhandled Chris Bosh. On the other hand, the great LeBron James couldn’t hit a shot to save his life. He looked scared and unconfident.

LeBron’s wingman, Dwyane Wade, knocked knees with Manu Ginobli early resulting in Wade looking as if he was playing in quicksand. Kawhi Leonard smacked Mike Miller straight in the face on a ferocious dunk.

With Wade and Miller hobbling around, and Tim Duncan playing like Superman, my friends rooting for the Spurs (which is basically all my friends) were amped. And even though, I always stand strong for my Heat, I began having some serious doubts.

The Spurs jumped up by as far as 13 points, capitalizing on every opportunity. Then, something clicked. Miller sunk a three with one shoe on—yes, you read that right. LeBron lost his signature headband. In a flash, the Heat was competing again. Chris Anderson (“Birdman”) executed solid defensive stops on Duncan.

While watching, I actually shouted, “This is the Miami Heat team that earned its way here!” But if you know anything about the NBA, you know that the Spurs are a strong, fundamentally sound team with an unwavering coach.

Soon enough there were 30 seconds left in regulation, and the Heat was down by six points. Let that sink in. Game 6, do or die, down by six.

The championship trophy was wheeled out to the court, and staff surrounded the court in yellow tape in preparation for the Spurs post-game celebration. Duncan had probably already picked out a spot in his house for his fifth ring. Heat fans in attendance started exiting the stadium to beat traffic.

Within 10 seconds LeBron somehow pulled a three out of his pocket to narrow the game down to three. Okay, lucky shot. And then, Ray Allen, the three-point aficionado who has been overshadowed all series by the young Danny Green, nails his one and only three of the game to send it into OT. Classic.

By now, Twitter is exploding and everyone’s having heart attacks—can the Heat really come back and win this game?

In short, yes they did. LeBron kindly decided to show up at the very end to finish with a characteristic 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. And that was that.

A bit of luck and what felt like fairy dust sprinkled over Miami that night, and the series is tied up at 3-3.

Will the aging Spurs be able to recuperate fast enough after that emotionally draining Game 6 loss? Will the basketball gods give us another game as thrilling as game six? Is that even possible?

48 minutes stand between two teams and a trophy. A legendary team will cap off an incredible era, or the NBA “villains” will come back to steal their third straight title.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra sums it up in a nutshell: “We’re looking for games that are more meaningful, and there’s nothing bigger than Game 7.”

Be sure to tune in to witness the last game of the 2013 NBA season as Game 7 is televised on Thursday, June 20, on ABC at 9 p.m. Eastern.

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