Last night was one of the great nights in sports, especially if you happen to be a basketball fan.
One of the great games in the 67-year history of the NBA Finals took place last night and social media enhanced the experience greatly, even though the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs did a great job of exciting viewers by themselves.
With their backs to the wall and everyone waiting on their impending doom, the Heat rallied to force overtime and were able to grind out a 103-100 win over the Spurs, forcing a championship-deciding Game 7 that happens Thursday night in Miami.
Game 6 had a little bit of everything that was missing in the first five games, the biggest element being serious drama – aside from Tony Parker’s time-defying jumper to seal Game 1 for the Spurs, every game in these Finals were decided by double digits, including a 36-point drubbing by the Spurs in Game 3, the largest in championship play since the Bulls socked the Utah Jazz 96-54 in Game 3 of the 1998 Finals.
The Spurs got a turn-back-the-clock first half from Tim Duncan (25 points and eight rebounds in the first 24 minutes) to keep the Heat at arm’s length, only to see LeBron James will the Heat ahead in the fourth quarter…then the last minute got dicey.
After Tony Parker hit a shot in the lane to give the Spurs a 91-89 lead, Mario Chalmers and James each had turnovers to give the Spurs a chance to put the game away. Parker made two free throws, but Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard split theirs and between a clutch 3 by James and a dramatic game-tying triple by Ray Allen, Game 6 was headed for overtime.
In overtime, the Heat did just enough to win, including Chris Bosh living up to the promise of denying Danny Green open shots, blocking Green’s tying 3-point attempt as time expired.
The beauty of last night’s game was that it was indeed everything you expected and nothing like you expected at the same time. You had LeBron getting off to a slow start, but finishing with a triple double (32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds), you saw the Heat rally once again like they’ve done so many times this season and the unexpected? The Spurs struggling to close out the game.
Gregg Popovich, who doesn’t even answer to NBA commissioner David Stern, might have to address some serious questions by taking Duncan and Parker out for long stretches, leaving the post offense and defense in the fumbling hands of Tiago Splitter and the scoring to Ginobili, who aside from Game 5 has been MIA the entire post-season. The Spurs were literally 30 seconds and 15 feet away (seriously, the trophy and the podium were being wheeled into the arena) from their 5th NBA title. Now they have to regroup and play a recharged Heat team in a Game 7 in Miami.
As for the Heat themselves, the team with the most wins in the league (66) during the regular season and the second long win-streak in NBA history (27 games) have one more chance to prove that they are in line to become the NBA’s next dynasty. After a frustrating first five games, they rallied behind each other in Game 6, forcing the issue and giving the sports what it always likes to see.
Game 7. The two most exciting words in all of American professional sports. Somebody’s gotta win, somebody’s gotta lose. The ultimate “play like there’s no tomorrow” game. The world will be watching. Social media will be poppin’. And finally, after seven full months of basketball, an NBA champion will be crowned. Should be fun.