No Shoe, No Headband, No Problems…Well, a few Problems

The Miami Heat tried almost every way they could Tuesday night to give away Game 6 and the championship. The game, which became an instant playoffs classic, went into overtime and the Heat emerged victorious by a score of 103-100, forcing a Game 7, with no nails left unbitten.

The San Antonio Spurs went into the fourth quarter with a 10-point lead, but looked listless for much of the period. Lebron James had a huge quarter, although he flubbed a couple plays near the end that almost cost the Heat the game.

Mike Miller’s shoeless three-pointer (see video above) was a pivotal point in Miami’s comeback, forcing a San Antonio timeout early in the final quarter. James had a huge block on Tim Duncan and proceeded to make a tough layup over Duncan a few seconds later, all without his trademark headband, which he eschewed for the remainder of the game. See the block here:

Twitter users caught on quickly to the Heat’s success despite the lack of playing accessories like shoes and headbands.

Tim Duncan had a monstrous first half, and Tony Parker, despite not having a great overall game, made a tough three to tie the game at 89 and then a go-ahead runner. The Spurs had a five-point lead with under a minute but couldn’t close it.

When Miami has won in the series, the box score easily reveals why. Two of the Miami’s three wins in the Finals have come with great help from its role players. Mario Chalmers led the charge with 19 points in Game 2 and excelled in the first half of Game 6, finishing with 20 points and four three-pointers.

But it wasn’t just Chalmers’ help in Thursday’s game. As mentioned before, Miller’s three-pointer helped swing the momentum towards Miami early in the fourth quarter, and Ray Allen played great down the stretch, including making the overtime-forcing three with 5.2 seconds left in regulation.

The Heat’s other win in this series not mentioned yet — Game 4 — came with the the other two of the Big Three — Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — stepping up and playing like superstars. Before the series, I identified Wade and Bosh as the question marks for the Heat in the Finals. Chalmers, Miller and Allen were among the X-factors I mentioned in the same post. When the Heat win, their success is no mystery; they need these supporting cast members to play a big part. James’ performance is almost a given, but we’ve seen that he can’t do it all himself.

This series has literally gone back and forth, and there have been several blowouts; only Game 1 and Game 6 were down to the wire. Following this pattern, San Antonio would logically be next in line to win the upcoming game. I won’t count the team out, but I will fall back on the history of the home team winning Game 7 of the Finals. So, Miami’s got the advantage. I give as much credit as I can to San Antonio, however. Whenever you think the Spurs are down, they come right back and wash away any doubts about their age and their fortitude. There was a reason I made no prediction about the winner of this series.

Game 6 may have been San Antonio’s last chance to take this year’s championship, but we’ll see. Join me and (likely) 20+ million others in watching Game 7 on Thursday.

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