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Spurs on the Brink: What now, Pop?

(CNN.com)

On the brink of winning their fifth NBA title in the Tim Duncan era, the San Antonio Spurs did not only cough up their best shot of taking down the defending champions in Miami, they may have already lost Game 7 too.

Up five with just under 30 seconds left in regulation, the Spurs trotted out Duncan-less on Miami’s following possession. After LeBron misfired on his first three-point attempt, San Antonio was a defensive rebound away of just about wrapping up the Finals, with the  potential of going up three possessions resulting from some made free-throws with around 20 seconds remaining.

Then, everything fell apart.

Miami corralled the offensive board and the ball found its way into James’ hands for a three pointer that the entire building knew was going in.  Miami down 2, 20 seconds left.

The next Spurs possession should have been a simple inbound play to one of their better free-throw shooters, preferably Tony Parker. Instead, Duncan was forced to allow Kawhi Leonard to take the two most pressure-filled shots in his young rookie career.

Leonard clanked the first, and sunk the second.

Up three with 20.2 seconds remaining, the Spurs were still in a win-or-draw situation had Miami executed a three pointer.

San Antonio played sound defense on LeBron’s three point attempt, leaving the ball–and Miami’s season–dangling in the air as one final rebound could shut the curtain on the 2013 NBA season. The Spurs were again, Duncan-less, and one defensive rebound away from shutting the books and sending LeBron James home with a 1-3 record in the Finals.

Chris Bosh pulled down yet another Miami offensive board and smartly found the best three-point shooter in NBA history sitting in the corner, waiting to do what he does best.

Instead of fouling Bosh and turning the last five seconds of regulation into a free-three shooting contest (Miami had no timeouts left), San Antonio stood put and left the fate of Game 6 in Ray Allen’s hands. You guessed it, he delivered.

95-95, overtime here we come.  The rest was instant history.

If you are the Spurs, how do you comeback physically and mentally to play a Game seven on the exact court you let the Larry O’Brien trophy slip away just 48 hours ago?

The Media headlines were already written.  The yellow rope that acts as a safe-haven for the NBA champion at the end of the clinching game was laid out across the sidelines, waiting to be pulled by on-looking security. The NBA Finals MVP ballots were already in.  Heat fans were exiting the arena to avoid the devastating moment of sitting in the stands as the opponent celebrates in the city they call home.

Many will say that if there is a team with the capability and discipline that is required to come back from such a draining loss, it would be these Gregg Popovich-led Spurs. It would be first-ballot hall-of-famer and arguably the best power forward to ever play the game, Tim Duncan, and his two companions Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. It would be the team that, if it weren’t for a couple of unlucky bounces and missed calls, should be planning their celebration parade in Texas as we speak.

Game 6 was one of the best Finals game this generation of basketball has ever seen. Basketball fans can only wish for the same in Game 7.

San Antonio will have to come back more focused than ever as it will have to conquer a feat no other Finals team has in the new 2-3-2 format- win a Game 7 on the road.

After emptying the tank in a heart-breaking loss, the Spurs will have to do the same again and look to the basketball Gods to reverse their fortune.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Joe Saade - @JSAADE1225

  • Age: 20
  • Gender: Male
  • Favorite Sports:  Basketball, football, baseball, volleyball
  • Favorite Boston Players: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, David Ortiz, Vince Wilfork (Welker and Ray Allen gone)
  • Title: Celtics writer
  • Contact: JSaade@sportsofboston.com
Hey guys, Joe Saade here. I just recently joined the Sports of Boston team this summer 2013. Currently a journalism major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (Class of 2015), I'm  pursuing a career in the sports journalism field. The one and only reason I decided to become a sports writer is because of the Boston Celtics. Since the age of 6, I would stay up and watch those horrible Celtics teams of the late 90's and early 2000's. Sure they sucked, but I was addicted. My love for basketball only grew larger and larger, and eventually when I was in middle school and realized that my dream of  playing in the NBA was ridiculous, I set a new plan in my mind to stay as close to sports as possible when I grow up; hence, become a sports writer. I love reading Bill Simmons and Rich Levine's basketball columns, simply because they bring fun to sports writing. They include all the facts you need, with a lot of humor and inside jokes that knowledgeable readers would get a kick out of. As for me now, I am currently a sports intern at WCVB-TV Channel 5 Boston. I also intern for the sports department at the Nashua Telegraph (some newspaper in NH that no one knows about). At UMass, I write for the sports section of our college newspaper, and work in the campus television station where I appear on a weekly sports show as a TV analyst. Life is good. Twitter: @JSaade1225

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