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Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 at 10:50 am  |  69 responses

San Antonio Spurs Look to Close Out the Miami Heat in Game 6


by Marcel Mutoni / @ marcel_mutoni

Since the NBA Finals went to a 2-3-2 format in 1985, only three teams — the 1988 and 2010 Los Angeles Lakers, and 1994 Houston Rockets — have managed to come back from a 3-2 hole by winning the final two games on their home floor to take the title.

The San Antonio Spurs will do everything tonight in Game 6 to ensure the Miami Heat don’t become the fourth team in League history to make such a rally.

With legacies waiting to be re-written, Tim Duncan and company are trying to keep the noise out and focus on the very difficult task ahead.

Per the Express-News:

Ahead 3-2 against LeBron James and the defending champion Heat, the Spurs stand one victory away from an unexpected fifth championship that many in San Antonio had already given up on. “I think every one of us wants this very badly, from the top on down,” said 37-year-old forward Tim Duncan, a three-time Finals MVP and the only player on the roster on hand for all four Spurs championships. “We’re trying to play that way.”

With his fifth crown, Duncan would pass Shaquille O’Neal — the only other name in discussion for “Best Big Man of His Generation” — and equal two other Los Angeles Lakers luminaries, Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson. “It will be something great to look back on when I’m done,” Duncan said. “But in the heat of things, that’s just not anything I ever look up or think about.” A fifth Finals win would cement Popovich’s visage on the Mount Rushmore of great NBA coaches, alongside Red Auerbach, Pat Riley and Phil Jackson. Only Jackson (11) and Auerbach (nine) would own more titles. First, however, there is still the matter of the Spurs actually finishing off the Heat, which Popovich understands is easier said than done. “I don’t get excited about, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re right there,’?” Popovich said. “What I think about is how difficult that next game is going to be and how many things we have to do well to get that done.”

The Miami Heat have reason to be cautiously optimistic. They have won each of their six games following a Playoff defeat by an average of 20.7 points, including 19 and 16-point victories against these Spurs. Also, no home team has ever lost Game 7 of the NBA Finals under the current format.

Two desperate teams will clash in South Beach tonight. Should be a great one.

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  • OfftheWall87

    I have Miami winning tonight, but if they don’t, it’s not the end of the world for LeBron like some say it is. Just disappointment. Too early to talk about legacy. The Big O was right. Legacy is something that should be talked about towards the end or after a guy’s career is over. Not when he’s 28.

  • BugEyes

    the spurs win tonight, and wear out the Miami sweet. shout out to Gary Neal the Maryland native, drops 12 tonight 3-5 from the arc.

  • Max

    21/20/10/8 from Timeeeh!

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  • DALE WITTIG

    I think the time has come for the Heat to lose two in a row.

  • spit hot fiyah

    agreed on the legacy part. after is the best when it is all said and done.

  • alex80

    bye bye, so long Miami Heat fans, have a god night LeBron’s lovers

  • Jay Brodes

    i expect a close game but i have been saying that for the last three. i expect miami to show up..we shall see how this plays out!

  • pposse

    correction, it IS the end of the world for Lebron!

  • LeroyShonuff

    Timmy haven’t had a great game yet. He is due. 27/16 tonight. I really, really hope the refs let them play. I do not want to see this game decided on either side by calls. Let the players decide it. If Miami loses, no question is this a hit to Lebron Legacy. Yes Jerry West and Elgin Baylor lost a bunch but West and Baylor didn’t seek out a team and build it. Lebron, Wade and Bosh did. With Mike Miller and Ray Allen taking pay cuts. I do see this being the first close game since game 1 and I just trust Parker to make them floaters and kick out passes. Spurs by 5

  • shutup

    I predicted Spurs in 6 lets hope I am right.

  • Matisse

    The Heat are going to win tonight because they do not lose two in a row. However, they’re going to lose the series because the Spurs do not lose two in a row. The most pivotal game, was game one and the Heat let that one slip away.

    But, you never know, streaks end and new ones start.

  • Roger Rogers

    I also predicted this and I will be right.

  • Enigmatic

    I can’t picture Gregg Popovich saying “oh my gosh.”

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  • LakeShow

    I kind of agree.
    He has had such terrible finals in his 3 that he will have lost if the Spurs close out.
    Huge hit to his legacy.

  • LP @ThisisEther

    Not the end of the world, but it’s not too early to talk legacy…..He’s been in the league 10+ years….. You can make accurate assumptions and statements about his legacy, easily.

    And Some guys retire after 11 years in the NBA…… LeBron is 28, but I look at it by how many years he’s been in the league. He’s a seasoned veteran. There’s no promise he plays until he’s 38, so he could very well be on the back end of his career. he loses this series, he’ll be 1-3 in the finals. Legacy damage.

    As a side note, i HATE when people compare Jordan and LeBron by age. for instance “LeBron at 28, Jordan at 28″ stats…… Jordan went to school 3 years! the most erroneous post ever.

  • The Seed

    If Lebron loses, he should get dogged. He pick this team and the players to join him. He then stated he will win 7 rings, when he had a Cavs team, that he already choked at, but always blamed others. Lebron has no one to blame but himself for the previous to 2 NBA Finals loses. His name to me from now on will be LeJerry West.

    Everyone who thinks Lebron has alot of time left, think about this. Pacers will be better, Knicks will be better, Bulls will be the best team in the East with Rose and other teams are getting better. This might be Lebron’s best time to get that second ring.

  • LakeShow

    Agreed man. This is embarrassing for LeBron.

    With that said. I fully expect him to average 30-10-10 on 50+% shooting over the last two games.
    If he does that and the Heat win, he should be given a dismissal on his first 5 games of the series and will rightfully win MVP.

  • pposse

    if the guys loses 3 finals in 4 appearances when 3 finals appearances were smack dab in the middle of his prime and he has the best team then your legacy has to take a hit. A huge hit; if they lose this finals believe me you Lebron will be known as the Peyton Manning of the NBA.

  • Evan Harris

    And you shouldn’t count how many rings you’ll get before you play a single game as a team. Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4… You count your rings after you’ve retired.

  • Evan Harris

    lol game 6, 2003 finals. One of the greatest performances ever by a single player.

  • bike

    The last game should have shaken the Heat to their core. The guy that needs to come up big right now for the Heat is Spo. The Spurs seem to be getting better as this series progresses; the Heat do not.

  • OfftheWall87

    No. He was having fun with his crowd of fans in his arena in Miami. He said he saw them winning multiple championships. He never said they would win 7. While laughing and smiling meaning it was in a joking way. Everyone who wasn’t ready to dislike them because of them not only getting together but how they did it took it for what it really was…a joke. The serious part of it was that he saw them winning multiple championships. Those are two totally different statements. I know how the Lakers fans are here especially with LeBron when their guy hasn’t been in the Finals in 3 seasons. But let’s not deliberately misinterpret what he said. I don’t recall him ever blaming anyone in Cleveland. We all watched that team in the playoffs and saw LeBron playing by himself. Only one game did he choke. He had quite a few great series there.

    The Knicks will not be better. Their leader is gone leaving Melo to either step up or stagnate. Unless someone else helps Melo and JR score, they’ll be the same team. The Bulls will be 2nd behind Miami just as they were when Rose was healthy. The Pacers will be just as good, maybe a little better but still behind Miami.

    Don’t go crazy and get excited just because the Heat may lose this series. Again, the Lakers haven’t been to the Finals in 3 seasons while the Heat have been each of the last 3 seasons. Relax.

  • Max

    Amen!
    Also a great final: 2/17/5/5

  • OfftheWall87

    The man is 28. Don’t let people get you to the point where you’re overreacting. Since everyone compares him to Jordan, let’s look at that. How many did Jordan have when he was 28? He won his 2nd when he was 28. People discuss the Cavs losing in 2007 when LeBron was 22 as if he was supposed to win. I don’t knock him for that. If they lose this series, then he would have lost twice during his prime years. Kobe lost twice. So if he still gets 2 or 3 more championships, he’ll be fine. But overall, the legacy talk is way too soon. If people would stop comparing him to others and appreciate his game for what it is and let him play without hyping up every season as if it’s make or break, we’d all be better off. After all, there were great players in the league before Jordan arrived and not every player has to be Jordan to be considered great.

  • OfftheWall87

    The Spurs are a better team. We’ve seen that throughout the series. The only time he’s lost while having the better team was in 2011. Peyton Manning is still thought of as one of the best QBs ever. So really, would that be a bad thing if LeBron was known as the Peyton Manning of the NBA? His legacy can’t take a hit now because he’s not done playing. The legacy talk should only happen when he’s retired or about to retire.

  • OfftheWall87

    Did you watch that celebration live? He didn’t count how many they would win. He was laughing along with Wade and Bosh as he said it. It was obvious he was joking. The only serious comment he made was he saw them winning multiple. Instead of counting on other people telling you what he said, you should have watched it yourself. The comments that people reported on were the ones that would make him look bad and it was strategically done because of how upset people were after the ESPN special.

  • OfftheWall87

    I don’t think he’s even near the back end. He has at least 5 years of great ball left to play. Kobe’s on year 17 and LeBron’s a much better athlete and is built to take more punishment on his body than Kobe is.

  • LakeShow

    What kind of stupid logic is that?
    Legacies are formed over a career. So if a guy is losing 3 out of 4 finals in his prime, that’s part of his legacy.

    If what your trying to say is that he could win 3+ more before it’s all said and done, that’s fine, but it doesn’t mean that he didn’t lose 3 out of his first 4 finals. Which is a huge hit to his legacy.

  • OfftheWall87

    This would be 2 Finals losses in his prime…not 3. He definitely wasn’t in his prime when he was 22. I see him winning at least 2 whether it’s in Miami or elsewhere. If he ends up being the best player on his team winning 3 championships combined with his regular season stats and awards, he’d still be set up as being seen as a top 10 all-time player.

    Kobe’s lost twice. He lost with Shaq and was a huge reason why they lost. How much of a hit will his legacy take? People still have him as possibly top 5 all-time.

  • underdog

    Fingers crossed.

  • bike

    The series isn’t even over yet and we are talking heavy damage to a legacy.

    LeBron has led this team to three straight finals without a reliable big man or point guard. That is nothing to sneeze at.

    Instead of laying all of the blame on LeBron, how’s about a shout out to the Spurs? Well coached, well disciplined, and a couple of future HOF players makes for a formidable opponent.

  • pposse

    Being Peyton Manning is not a bad thing, but its not a great thing either. Part of being Peyton Manning is choking when it matters most. The Heat has the better team, they just are not executing with the perfection that the Spurs are right now.

    This is the finals where he either wins more finals than he lost in his prime or he lost more finals than he won in his prime. Its relevant to right now, and his legacy overall.

  • OfftheWall87

    More than anything, when people talk about Manning, they say he’s top 10 all-time. It takes a while before anyone talks about him winning a Super Bowl and losing another one.

    The Spurs are a better team. Their role players are better than Miami’s which makes them a better overall team. Plus, they have a PG (one of the best) and a center which Miami doesn’t. There’s quite a dropoff from the 3rd best guy to the 4th best on Miami. They have specialists behind the Big 3. SA has Leonard behind the Big 3 who’s an overall good player who may become the new face of the franchise at some point.

  • playa

    We well see,point is almost everyone is thinking like you & taking Kobe for granted, as if he can do it then certainly all the younger stars can do it too, easy breezy….Well in my opinion time will tell that it’s not THAT easy& that Kobe is a rarest exception who confirms the rule which is saying the contrary.Also there’s huge difference between playing by staying in the league and being superstar top5 player.Im curious if ANYONE playing their 16,17,18 season will even be compared to few best players in the league, younger than him by 7-10 years.

  • shockexchange

    Whoever takes Game 6 takes the cake.

  • OfftheWall87

    I’m saying that if Kobe can do it, even though he had that knee procedure in Germany to help him, then LeBron, who has had no major injuries at all, can also play that long. The only thing that may be against LeBron is that he had to do more work early in his career than Kobe did because he had a bad team playing with him. Kobe had Shaq.

  • pposse

    yeah theres a big drop off because the three main guys in Miami are pretty much superstars. And no, i’m sorry but Ray Allen might not be consistent at this age, but he just dropped 15 pts in the 4th qtr! I’ve seen enough of the Spurs play, there is no excuse for Bosh being outplayed by Duncan at Duncan’s age. I’ll say this though, right now Duncan is looking like the best 37 year old to ever play the game.

    Chris Bosh should be putting a body on Duncan and wearing him down physically, Duncan can’t jump higher than 5 inches off the ground right now, when he gets hit in the air he automatically falls down and this is just cause he’s old. Bosh is sucking, and in team sports, when you suck its an extension of your leader.

    The top three guys in Miami should be way better than TP Duncan and Manu at this stage in their careers; cause they aren’t playing that way doesn’t negate the fact that they are and should be playing better.

    The thing most people mention when talking about Peyton Manning is him being one of the best if not the best qb of all time, but that’s quickly followed by “he can’t win the big one” this will be Lebron’s fate if they lose this series; there’s no way around it. You can’t just lead yourself to an easy 4th MVP and your team to the best record in the NBA to lose and not get any backlash, thats not how it works.

  • Junior Taylor

    Since when does being compared to the Jerry West aka the Freaking Logo, considered a bad thing? Damn….the stupidity of today’s fans continues to amaze me.

  • JML-G

    true plus Heat has made it to the finals three out of three times.. overall in NBA its huge success (especially these days) even if they get just one title from these appearances

  • shockexchange

    If the Heat loses, it won’t be The Kang’s fault. It will be more about what Pat Riley didn’t do – bring a quality center to Miami. Miami has been playing small ball since the Big 3 were assembled, and have been getting manhandled in the paint at latter stages of the playoffs – Dallas (2011 Finals), Boston (2012 ECF), Indiana (2013 ECF) and the Spurs (2013 Finals). The Heat have had two years to get a quality big man but Riley dropped the ball.

  • bike

    Why not compare him to Wilt instead? Refer to him as LeWilt!

    LeJerry West….LMFAO…jeeze man…

  • OfftheWall87

    Bosh is a star, not a superstar.

    Having a better big 3 on paper doesn’t mean that you have a better team. 4 through 12, I’d take Spurs over Heat.

    That stigma about not being able to win the big one with Peyton has been gone since he won 1. If anything, it’s he can’t win multiple. But there are plenty of Hall of Famers who wish they had one but couldn’t get it done. Peyton and LeBron got it done.

    Backlash is one thing but acting like he can’t recover from a 2nd Finals loss when he’s only 28 is ridiculous. The regular season and the postseason are separate. I’m surprised when people talk about their winning streak as if it’s supposed to mean something in the playoffs. It doesn’t.

  • OfftheWall87

    Can’t get Wade, James and Bosh plus a quality center or PG because of lack of money. He made the decision he felt he needed to make. And it’s worked. Just not as much as some think it should have.

  • OfftheWall87

    This is what I’m talking about. Jerry West was 1 for 8 in the Finals…but he’s the logo. He was the Finals MVP in a series that he lost. A majority of the discussions that are had about LeBron and what he can’t do come from people who want him to be Jordan as if he’s the only standard for greatness. It’s just not true. Oscar won just 1 but his name is mentioned when people talk about the best player in the history of the game.

  • shockexchange

    The Heat’s lack of a quality center – and potential loss to the Spurs – falls squarely on Riley’s shoulders. Getting a quality big man is why Miami pays him the big bucks, or are you tryna convince the Shock Exchange that Riley’s main job is sitting around in Giorgio Armani suits and Vidal Sassoon?

  • OfftheWall87

    No, not squarely on Riley’s shoulders. Did they not win last season without a center? Spo should have kept Miller coming off the bench. LeBron’s lack of aggressiveness at times. Bosh being outplayed by Duncan. The blame will be spread around if they lose.

  • shockexchange

    People forget that the Heat squeaked past Boston in the ECF last year by the hairs of their chinny chin chins. While the Spurs drive to the basket unimpeded, they contest every shot the Heat take in the paint. That’s the story of this series. In the Shock Exchange’s opinion, if the Heat loses, all roads lead back to Vidal Sassoon.

  • OfftheWall87

    A series win is a series win regardless of how it’s done. If the Heat lose, it’s on the players on the floor and the coach. Not Pat Riley. Getting Wade and James to sacrifice (more Wade than James) is huge. He never deserves to receive any flack for not getting a center when he was able to get two of the 5 best players in the world at the time to play together and convince Bosh to play 3rd fiddle when he could have gone elsewhere and continued with his 20 and 10 a night.

  • The Seed

    Bulls had a better record I thought with Rose not injured.

  • Jetlife001

    so what if he had shaq he was the man during most of the playoff series while shaq rested for the finals LOL. 29 6 and 7 in 2001 at age 22 and 27 6 and 5 in 2002 at age 23 shaq had kobe…..in the playoffs.

  • Jetlife001

    fact of the matter is kobe won 3 times before he lost his 1st finals THATS A HUGE DIFFERENCE than lebron’s record right now as we speak lol.

  • Jetlife001

    actually no shaq was also a pretty big reason along with malone’s injury why the lakers lost. kobe locked down his man shaq let wallace go off on him LOL. kobe had more blocks then shaq did in the finals how sad is that shaq was a terrible rim protector.

  • Evan Harris

    I watched the whole thing live… Stop trying to defend his stupidity.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    It’s only a hit on his legacy if you are already putting him “up there” – losing in the finals is kind of a staple of the NBA’s top 20 players ever. Top to bottom.
    .
    Think about it like this, Barkley is somewhere around 20 ever, he got there once.

  • OfftheWall87

    Then it’s pretty sad that you were incapable of seeing it for what it really was. Or, like so many, you were already sensitive and upset about them joining together to play with each other.

  • OfftheWall87

    Remember that Shaquille O’Neal guy? Yeah, he helped quite a bit with those 3 championships.

  • OfftheWall87

    Kobe shot the team out of the series. He shot 113 field goals…made 43. Shaq shot 84 field goals…made 53. You look at blocks and think that it proves that Shaq was as responsible as Kobe was in them losing? On what planet? Shaq averaged 27 and 10…Kobe averaged 23, 2, and 3. Really dude?

  • OfftheWall87

    What were you watching? Look at Shaq’s statlines throughout the playoffs those 3 seasons and compare them to Kobe’s…it’s clear Shaq was the top dude on those teams especially during the playoffs and Kobe was number 2. Either you watched or you didn’t. What kind of fool even thinks to say “So what if he had Shaq” as if Shaq was just along for the ride? I don’t call 30 and 15 on average resting.

  • OfftheWall87

    Sure, if you want regular season wins, take the Bulls over the Heat. But we saw what happened during the playoffs. The best team wins in the playoffs. The Heat beat them 4-1.

  • Jetlife001

    i actually did and kobe did more in 2001 and 2002 in the playoffs by the way where was shaq in 2003? 2004? the reason he averaged 30 and 15 on average is because of his incredible finals numbers….

  • Jetlife001

    where the hell was his defense? the pistons were living off layups and driving to the rim? at least kobe gave you defense.

  • Jetlife001

    by the way who was the main reason they won the only game that they did win?

  • LP @ThisisEther

    I don’t know, if he’s not on the back end, then you’re saying LeBron is gonna play 21+ seasons in the NBA. I don’t see that happening. Not just physically, mentally. That’s a long time to play in the league for someone not named Robert Parrish.

  • OfftheWall87

    Shaq’s averages in 2000-2001:
    27 and 16 against Portland
    33 and 17 against Sacramento
    27 and 13 against SA
    33 and 16 against Philly
    Shaq in 2001-2002:
    29 and 11 against Portland
    21 and 12 against SA
    30 and 14 against Sacramento
    36 and 12 against NJ
    Shaq in 2003-2004 (year Kobe shot them out of the Finals):
    16 and 11 against Houston
    24 and 15 against SA
    21 and 16 against Minnesota
    27 and 11 against Detroit

    Not sure anyone with any kind of sense could say Kobe did more. Kobe outscored in a couple of series, but scoring more doesn’t mean he did more. At best, they were even until the Finals when Shaq took over…when it mattered most.

    The Lakers got eliminated by the Spurs in the 2nd round 2002-2003 but Shaq averaged 27 and 15 on 18 shots a game compared to Kobe’s 32, 5 and 5 on 26 shots a game.

  • OfftheWall87

    Who was the main reason why they lost the other 4 games? Definitely wasn’t Shaq. Probably the dude who shot 8 for 25 and 7 for 21 in the final two games.

  • OfftheWall87

    This is his 10th season. 28 years old. 5 more years of MVP level ball. Maybe 2 or 3 after that as a star player, but no longer spectacular. 17 years altogether. It’s possible.

  • OfftheWall87

    Rip Hamilton averaged 22 a game and Chauncey was Finals MVP…so who was Kobe guarding so well?

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