At three points last night I said the following: “It is over, the Spurs are NBA Champions.” Once when they went up ten, again when they seemed to rise above LeBron’s frantic and incredible charge and again when they were up 5 with less than 30 seconds to go.
It was in the bag for them. They were the 2013 Champs – and then they were not.
How in the world did the most incredible finals game and finish transpire? Hang on for the ride because I am pretty sure I had three to four heart attacks last night.
Firstly, the LeBron three was huge. After a grotesque miss where he had no chance of ever making it (despite a relatively open look), LBJ made a ridiculous and much more difficult three – again stepping up when it mattered most. Then, the turnovers have to be mentioned, but sans headband Bron stepped it up and won this game for Miami. A quick aside: when he lost the headband I was pretty sure the game was over. How could he summon his will one last time without his most important accessory? Huge game from LBJ and it definitely goes beyond his triple double. He shut down Tony Parker very effectively and came through on a night that not everyone showed up. Wade was genuinely horrible in this game and LeBron dragged this team back from the brink despite some horrible shot choices from his running mate.
Secondly, Ray Allen is a legend. He takes an off balance, hand in his face, fadeaway three to tie the game…and hits it (for the record, heart attack number one) Clutch beyond clutch – and a huge eff you to Danny Green. This was a game for men and Ray Allen made the biggest shot.
Thirdly, if Ray Allen is a legend, Chris Bosh is even more of a legend. Bosh went nuts defensively in this game, particularly at the end. Every meaningful shot the Spurs took he swatted – including both Danny Green and Tony Parker. Bosh blocked shots at the end of regulation and overtime (heart attacks two and three if you are counting). He tipped out the most important rebound of the game to give Ray Allen his impossible shot. Quite simply he played one of the most incredible and indelible games of his career. When the Heat claim the title, this game will illustrate just how valuable Bosh is – did he get roasted by a legendary Tim Duncan performance? Bosh was killed by Duncan earlier in the game but by the end it seemed like he had six blocks and single handedly led the Heat’s ridiculous swarming defense. As I said before: the man is a legend.
Finally, Game Seven!!!!!! Nothing easy, and nothing without being truly earned. Last season, LeBron learned exactly what it takes to win a title and he showed he remembered when he turned it on to score 16 points in the 4th quarter of this game. This is the best player in the world, stepping up and proving exactly who he is. This is about legacy and this is about champions stepping up and winning when it matters most. It will not be easy, because it never is. The right path, never is and if it was not hard, it would ultimately not be worth it.
In 2013 the Heat will repeat.