With the Miami Heat crowned the 2013 NBA Champions, USSDU looks at how close the Spurs were to the title.
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History will remember the 2013 NBA Finals as an epic clash between two great teams with the Miami Heat the eventual winner, but the story could have been so very different if one stretch was played differently.
NBA fans everywhere were still treated to a spectacular finish to the series, with the final two games showing that basketball was truly the winner.
If you are a San Antonio Spurs starter can you be happy walking away with that performance knowing victory was within your grasp, literally?
This article will focus on what went wrong for the Spurs in Games Six and how they were so close to yet another title.
Game Six - 4th Quarter
This was it, Game Six, in South Beach and up 3-2 in the series. If ever there was a time to dig deep and produce a memorable performance worthy of a champion team this was it.
The Spurs did that for all but 28 seconds and it cost them big time. Let's break down the 58 seconds of Game Six with the possession to the Heat, Spurs leading 91-89 and find out what exactly happened.
- LeBron James Lost Ball Turnover (Kawhi Leonard Steals)
- Great team defence by the Spurs forces LeBron into a costly passing turnover. The ball gets thrown ahead by Leonard and Ginobili is wrapped up by Ray Allen under the basket. He goes on to make both FTs and the Spurs are up 93-89.
- LeBron James Lost Ball Turnover (Manu Ginobili Steals)
- Another forced turnover by the Spurs and again it is LeBron making the mistake. In two possessions LeBron has almost ruined all the good work he has done in the forth quarter. Ray Allen fouls immediately sending Ginobili to the line. Ginobili goes one of two at the line (forgivable) so the Spurs lead 94-89.
- Miami Heat Full Timeout
- Boris Diaw comes in to replace Tim Duncan and Mike Miller replaces Chris Bosh.
- LeBron James Misses 26 Foot Three-Point Shot
- Following on from his two turnovers in the previous two possessions LeBron jacks up an early (and ugly) three pointer that bricks off the rim.
- Mike Miller Offensive Rebound
- With the Spurs best rebounder (Tim Duncan) on the bench, Mike Miller grabs a crucial offensive board and wisely throws it to LeBron who...
- LeBron James Makes 25 Foot Three-Point Jumper
- Not phased by his previous play, LeBron chucks up another three and nails it to make the score 94-92.
- San Antonio Spurs Full Timeout
- Pop calls timeout and sets up a play to get someone free for the inbound catch. Tim Duncan returns to inbound the ball.
- Mike Miller Personal Foul (Kawhi Leonard Draws the Foul)
- Duncan gets it in to young Kawhi Leonard and he steps to the line with all of Miami screaming their lungs out. He has a chance to put the Spurs ahead by two possessions but he only makes one of two. I don't blame him, it's a big situation and even Reggie Miller missed a few crucial FTs in his playoffs career. Heat now trail 95-92. Crucially Tim Duncan is again removed for the final possession and Boris Diaw comes back in.
- LeBron James Misses 26 Foot Three Point Shot
- LeBron, feeling good about his previous make decides to try and tie the game from distance. He clangs it again.
- Chris Bosh Offensive Rebound
- Bosh scrambles for the miss and grabs the most important rebound of the 2012/13 NBA Season. He smartly then gives it to the greatest three point shooter in NBA History who does this...
- Ray Allen Makes 25 Foot Three-Point Jumper
- Jesus Shuttleworth (Ray Allen) nails one of the most important three pointers of his career after a clever pass from Bosh. The Heat tie it at 95-95 with no timeouts left for the Spurs. Luckily for the Spurs the referees need to check to see if Ray Allen was behind the three point line (it was). This gives the Spurs a chance set a play up with five seconds left.
- Tony Parker Misses 12 Foot Two Point Shot
- Tony Parker bolts down the left hand side of the lane with only Chris Bosh chasing him down and decides to do a little step back manouvere that results in a wayward miss. Looking back at the play, Parker had Bosh beat and potentially could have moved to the basket instead of away and drawn a foul. Obviously he wasn't looking behind him that closely but that stepback shot was ugly from the start.
Game Six - Overtime
There are two crucial plays here that potentially cost the Spurs this game in OT also.
The first is Manu Ginobili's drive to the basket with a few seconds left with the Spurs trailing 101-100. Yes he travelled but he was hacked at least once before his third step and a couple more times after that. Miami would have the ball back regardless of how many he made and it is hard to predict what would have happened.
The second is Chris Bosh's "block" on Danny Green's buzzer beating three pointer. Bosh clearly throws his body into Greens and it should have been called a foul to put Green at the line with a chance to tie it. Again he could have missed one of the FTs or he could have made all three to tie it up.
This game/championship was not lost in OT of Game Six or Game Seven but rather a few crucial plays late in the fourth quarter. If the Spurs grab one offensive rebound then the likelihood of Miami winning significantly decrease and the story of the Big Three gets re-written for the worse.
I finish with a quote from Shakespere's Julius Caesar
that sums up this situation perfectly.
There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
One offensive rebound and the Spurs take the tide out to fortune and more NBA glory!
-Mark Pybus (@Number031)