Game 6 of the NBA Finals started out at a frantic pace. Both the Heat and the Spurs seemed to be scoring at will. Tim Duncan found the fountain of youth in Game 6. He went 11 for 13 in the first half and was a beast in the paint on both sides of the court. He finished the game with 30 points and 17 rebounds, but it was not enough as the Heat won 103-100 in overtime to force a Game 7.
LeBron James seems to step up his game when he lost his headband. In the fourth quarter he looked like a man possessed out on the court. He was blocking shots and making key baskets in transition.
“He just made plays. I don’t think there’s any two ways to put it,” Tim Duncan said of James. “We were in the right position to close it out and he found a way to put his team over the top and we just didn’t make enough plays to do that.”
James did show some immaturity down the stretch. When he didn’t get a call he wanted he looked like a kid throwing a tantrum over not getting a toy. There were times that he would complain and not get back on defense. Luckily for the Heat the Spurs did not capitalize on those instances. Both he and Dwyane Wade were quiet in the first three quarters. They kept missing shots and tried to force things on the offensive side of the court.
Manu Ginobili looked to be out of sync the entire game. There were sparks of Game 5 here and there, but not on a consistent basis. Manu also did not reach Ray Allen in enough time to contest Allen’s game tying 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the fourth.
“It’s a tough moment. We were a few seconds away from winning the championship and we let it go,” Ginobili said. “A couple rebounds we didn’t catch, a tough 3 by Ray and a couple missed free throws. It’s a very tough moment.”
San Antonio had a 13-3 burst in the third quarter to create a 71-58 lead, and they seemed ready to walk off with another title.
There were times near the end of regulation that Spurs could have locked up the game. The free throw line proved to be the Achilles’ heel for the Spurs. Ginobili missed a free throw to give the Spurs a five point lead. Popovich replaced Tim Duncan with Boris Diaw. It was during that sequence that the Heat bounced the ball around, and got it back to James for the first 3-pointer.
To top it all off Kawhi Leonard missed one free throw which would have given the Spurs a four point lead. Duncan once again sat. Since Duncan was not on the court it made rebounding easier for Chris Bosh. He poked the ball to Allen where he tied the game with a clutch 3-pointer.
Now the Heat and Spurs will play Thursday in Game 7. Will the Spurs be able to rebound from this tough loss? When the media asked Spurs coach Gregg Popovich how they will prepare for Game 7 he responded in true Popovich style. He said, “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. That’s how we get ready.”