A series that has provided some of the biggest thrills in league history, and also a few lulls, comes down to one game Thursday night as the Miami Heat host the San Antonio Spurs in Game Seven of the NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena.
The first six games have been decided by an average of 14.6 points, including one 36-point blowout for the Spurs in Game Three, and a 19-point win for Miami in Game Two.
Both teams may have just saved the drama and tension for Wednesday’s Game Six.
With neither team able to gain any momentum, Game Six’s incredible finish might have swung the momentum in Miami’s favor. Forward LeBron James recorded another triple-double with 32 points, 10, rebounds, and 11 assists as Miami prevailed in 103-100 in overtime. James also played 50 of a possible 53 minutes, putting his energy level heading into Game Seven in question.
San Antonio lost a 13-point third quarter lead, and struggled at the free throw line at the end of regulation of Game Six, giving Miami guard Ray Allen the chance to tie the game 95-95 with five seconds remaining with a quick three-pointer in the corner.
The Spurs, especially Tim Duncan, looked out of gas in final moments of the overtime, but the future Hall of Famer still scored 30 points and 17 rebounds in 44 minutes of action. Tony Parker had 19 points and Kawhi Leonard added 22 points and 11 rebounds, but no other Spur scored in double digits.
Guard Manu Ginobili also hurt the Spurs with eight turnovers. He finished with nine points, four rebounds, and three assists.
Allen and James would provide the scoring for Miami down the stretch, but much-maligned forward Chris Bosh provided the late defensive heroics that forced overtime. Bosh totaled 10 points and 11 rebounds, but his two blocks on Tony Parker and Danny Green in the final 45 seconds of play were his biggest contributions to the series thus far.
Parker shot 6-for-23 from the field and at times looked severely hampered by his injured hamstring. The same could said for Heat guard Dwyane Wade. The 31-year-old has persisted through a nagging knee injury throughout the season, and according to CBS Sports he was experiencing some swelling and stiffness. However he is a go for Game Seven.
The Spurs do hold a significant experience advantage, with their core group of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili beating the Detroit Pistons in seven games in the 2005 Finals.
The game tips-off at 9 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast by ABC, or watch a live online stream at Watch ESPN here.
Betting Odds: Miami is favored by 5.5 points
Over/Under: 189 points
Prediction: Miami 97, San Antonio 93