There will be a Game 7.
Mr. L lost his headband and then lost his sh*t, taking over Game 6 after being bottled up for the first three quarters by great San Antonio defense and then willing the Heat back from a 85-75 deficit heading into the 4th quarter.
LeBron lost his headband, found his wide open shooters (Chalmers, Miller) and the Spurs couldn’t handle the absence of Tim Duncan (sitting for the first 2:38 of the final frame), and by the time Duncan came back, the Heat had gained that elusive momentum back, and their crowd was finally gaining volume and intensity, which helped enable the comeback for the rest of the game.
That crowd contributed to two huge missed free throws: with 0:27 left, Ginobili missed his first of two free-throws. With 0:19 left, Kawhi Leonard was sent to the line and missed the front end of his two free-throws. The rest includes four Miami three-pointers: LeBron hitting one of three over the last two Miami possessions and the eventual Bosh offensive rebound that led to Ray’s buzzer-beating, game-tying, gut-wrenching corner three as the clock wound down. Miami’s run came with Dwyane Wade (and his limited jump shot and balky knees) on the bench. Though LeBron can’t sustain the 4th quarter energy (no human being could) for 40 minutes, it’s clear that Wade’s lack of shooting and ball movement enables San Antonio to harass the paint and have an easier time limiting LeBron.
Great game. Awful finish for the Spurs. All of it takes away from a memorable Tim Duncan performance. Duncan shot 11 of 13 in the first half, scoring 25 of San Antonio’s first 50 points, absolutely annihilating Chris Bosh in the post. The Spurs couldn’t get Duncan the ball for much of the second half, by fronting, collapsing the defense, and having LeBron hound Parker at the top.
Manu Ginobili’s NBA Finals: Old Manu Looks Like Old Man-u (game scores by basketball-reference)
Nobody feels worst about Manu Ginobili’s eight turnovers in Game 6 than Manu. Though Gregg Popovich probabaly gritted his teeth a bit harder with each successive Miami steal off of Ginobili’s sloppy play. There is such a fine line with a uniquely creative passer and ball-handler. However, at age 36, against the best perimeter defense in the NBA, Ginobili is showing the wear and tear of never taking a summer off. With the exception of Game 5’s explosive throw-back game, Manu has looked elderly.
Game 1: 8.8
4 of 11 FG, 2 of 5 3PT, 13 pts, 3 ast, 2 stl, 1 to, (8.8)
Game 2: -0.3
2 of 6 FG, 1 of 4 3PT, 5 pts, 1 ast, 1 stl, 3 to, (-0.3)
Game 3: 4.9
3 of 7 FG, 0 of 4 3PT, 7 pts, 6 ast, 0 stl, 2 t0 (4.9)
Game 4: 0.9
1 of 5 FG, 0 of 3 3PT, 5 pts, 2 ast, 0 stl, 2 to (0.9)
Game 5: 21.0
8 of 14 FG (12 drives), 1 of 4 3PT, 7 of 8 FT, 24 pts, 10 ast, 1 stl, 3 to (21.0)
Game 6: 0.6
2 of 5 FG, 1 of 3 3PT, 4 of 6 FT (2 huge crunch-time misses), 9 pts, 3 ast, 8 turnovers (0.6)
In total for Ginobili: 1 great game, 2 decent games, 3 terrible performances.
Spurs Hopes Rest On…
If Danny Green can’t find any slivers of daylight to get his shot off (which he won’t now that Miami realizes how dangerous he is), the pressure sits on Manu to find some creative ways to get the Spurs going. In the second half, when Miami finally tilted towards Duncan, Ginobili couldn’t find any answers.
Let’s not forget that Tony Parker shot 6 of 23 from the field in Game 6, thanks in large part to LeBron’s excellent defense. Parker 8 assists to 0 turnovers were very helpful, but his inability to score proved catastrophic in the 4th quarter.
Let’s hope he has one more in him. Popovich may have to trust Gary Neal in Game 7 if Manu can’t get it going.
Slick Watts and headbands in the NBA, from 2012’s TNT segment: