The Miami Heat defended their homecourt by defeating the San Antonio Spurs 103-100 in Game 6 of their NBA Finals series.
LeBron James, acknowledged as the world’s best player, was absent for the first three quarters. James shot just 3-of-12 from the field, and committed several careless turnovers. But the Heat superstar woke up in the fourth quarter and ensuing overtime period, scoring 16 points in the fourth and two in overtime.
His most important made shot was a 3-pointer near the end of regulation, which in conjunction with Ray Allen’s 3-point shot, enabled the Heat to tie the Spurs 95-95, and force the overtime. James’ only bucket in overtime ended up being the game-winner, pulling the Heat ahead at 101-100. Allen sealed the victory with two free throws to account for the final score.
San Antonio’s Danny Green missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the series is now tied three-all.
James’ produced another triple-double with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, but it was his play in the clutch which allowed the Heat to snatch the victory away from the determined visiting Spurs.
The Spurs were led by ageless veteran center Tim Duncan’s 30 points and 17 boards, but he could only muster five points after the first half. The Spurs actually led 75-65 after three quarters, and looked like they would steal Game 6 and the NBA crown from the defending champions. The Spurs led by five with 20 seconds left before the 3-point barrage from James and Allen kicked in.
Duncan was allowed more opportunities in the paint as the Heat defence seemed intent on shutting down Green’s 3-point shooting, who had been hot from distance up until Game 6. Green shot just 1-of-5 from 3-point distance, 1-of-7 from the field, for a total of three points. Manu Ginobili, the Game 5 star, didn’t fare much better, scoring just nine points on 2-of-5 shooting from the field. Kawhi Leonard stepped up with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Tony Parker chipped in 19 points and eight assists.
Dwyane Wade (14 points, 6-of-15) and Chris Bosh (10 points, 5-of-12) had off-shooting nights, but Mario Chalmers made up for it with a stellar 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Bosh did corral 11 rebounds and made two key defensive stops on San Antonio’s last two possessions, including blocking Tony Parker’s shot with 32 seconds remaining.
Game 7 for all the marbles starts at 6 PM Eastern time Thursday.