Heat force OT, then Game 7 with 103-100 comeback win
BY JOE COWLEY email@example.com June 18, 2013 9:42PM
Updated: June 19, 2013 12:25PM
MIAMI – The headband was knocked off, the cape went on.
Now the trial of LeBron James’ legacy can be scrutinized for yet another day. By the media, by the fans, and even by his own peers. Thanks to James’ hostile takeover in the fourth quarter, the Miami Heat overcame a 13-point deficit to force a Game 7 of the NBA Finals with the 103-100 win.
On the biggest stage, the biggest moment, James went from a player that was shrinking through the first three quarters – shooting 3-for-12 for 14 points – to finishing with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, willing the defending champs to one more game. A last stand.
He did it all, and yet he will still be judged for how he comes back in Game 7.
“Let me put it this way: We don’t make it to Dallas [in the 2011 Finals], we don’t make it to OKC [last season’s Finals] and we don’t make it here if I don’t play the way I play,’’ James said. “It’s that simple. My game doesn’t change no matter who I’m playing. I know I’m an attack player. I also do multiple things. I get my teammates involved, I rebound, I defend. I don’t have three straight trips to The Finals if I don’t do what I do. It is what it is.’’
Newsflash: The legacy is already intact. Four MVPs, Olympic gold medal, a championship trophy earned with one of the best statistical performances of all-time, and a career that still has possibly close to a decade under the hood.
Not that there wasn’t at least a scare. And a serious one.
There’s that old guy on the playground.
Shows up with a ratty T-shirt and sweatpants. Not warm-ups, we’re talking the sweatpants with cuffs on the ankles. Old-school. Socks high with an old pair of Converse high-tops on, double-knotted.
He doesn’t look like he should do much the way he runs up and down the court. It’s painful to watch, actually. But around the basket, forget it. Pump-fakes, hook shot, and everything is off the glass. Any spot on the floor, any angle: Glass.
That was Tim Duncan in the first half of Tuesday’s Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
NBA old at 37, Duncan did whatever he wanted, going 8-for-8 to start the game before a miss, and 11-for-13 through the first 24 minutes. He finished with 30.
“Experience plays a role,’’ Duncan said of his Spurs, now 15-2 in closeout games on the road. “We’ve been in situations like this. We’ve been together for a long time. So that definitely plays a role. I think we’re just trying to do all we can to will it to happen.
“I think every one of us wants this very badly from the top on down.’’
The Spurs would have had ring No. 5 if not for James and then a 3-pointer by Ray Allen with just over five seconds left to send it into overtime.