In a thrilling NBA Finals Game Six that will be remembered for multiple twists and turns, the Miami Heat were able to secure a home victory over the San Antonio Spurs to force a series-finale Game Seven behind two crucial block shots by Chris Bosh and a late three-pointer by Ray Allen that forced an overtime thriller, 103-100.
A furious fourth-quarter comeback from the Heat turned against Miami after a 10-0 scoring run by the Spurs with 28 seconds remaining gave San Antonio a five-point lead. But a three-point shot by LeBron James, and just one-of-two free throws from Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, set up Bosh's assist to Allen, whose three-pointer with 5.2 seconds remaining sent the game to overtime and saved the Heat from elimination.
"I was hoping I was where I needed to be, but I wasn't quite certain," said Allen, about the shot. After a long review of the shot, the officials could clearly see that Allen was behind the three-point line.
In overtime, Bosh blocked a 17-foot jumper by Tony Parker that allowed for the Heat to maintain their one-point lead. After two free throws by Allen, the Spurs had a chance to send the game to a second overtime with a three-point shot with less than two seconds remaining, but Danny Green's shot from near the corner was blocked by Bosh. It was fitting that Bosh would make that play after claiming that the three-point specialist would not get the open shots he had in Game Five for Tuesday's game. Green finished with just three points on one-of-seven shooting.
There were several other crucial plays that defined Game Six. With under eight seconds remaining in overtime and Miami leading, 101-100, Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, who converted just two field goals on five attempts, penetrated up the right side of the court into a smothering Heat defense, and turned the ball over, his eight of the game. The Spurs had a timeout but did not call one. The Heat would gain possession and Boris Diaw would foul Allen, who is one of the greatest free-throw shooters in history, and the veteran delivered to give the Heat the final points of the game.
"Bad. Very bad. It's a tough moment," said Ginobili, about his effort. "We were a few seconds away from winning the championship, and we let it go. It's very tough."
In other questionable decisions, Parker was substituted twice in the final minutes of overtime, and Tim Duncan was on the bench in critical moments. Ginobili defended the decision by head coach Gregg Popovich to have the star point guard on the bench in defensive situations.
James, who played without his trademark headband for most of the fourth quarter, said it was the best game he has ever been a part of. He finished with a triple-double in 50 minutes, with 32 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds, but it was a rather uneven performance. The MVP converted just 11 shots on 26 attempts, and made one-of-three three-point shots in the final seconds of regulation, while also turning the ball over six times. With 40.5 seconds remaining overtime, James lost the ball out of bounds on a drive to to the hoop, and turned the ball over to Ginobili with under 30 seconds remaining in regulation while penetrating into the paint.
However, James was able to turn up his game at the start of the fourth quarter with the Heat down by 10 points. James converted four-of-five field-goal attempts in the fourth to cut the deficit to three points, and keep Miami in the game. He also had a key block on Duncan in the lane.
"I'm happy about the way we dug down and was able to get a win that didn't look like we could muster up at some point during the game," said James. The superstar forward appeared to be seething during a timeout with San Antonio up by five points in the final moments of regulation, and an NBA crew preparing for the title presentation for the Spurs. Miami's late-game heroics kept James's hopes of a second title hope alive.
Duncan was exceptional in the first half. He scored 25 points on 11-for-13 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds. The second half and overtime were less productive for the 37-year-old, who scored just five points off eight field-goal attempts.
The Heat were effective from beyond the arc, converting 11-of-19 three-point shots. Miami shot 46.9 percent from the field, compared to San Antonio's 43.5 percent.
Game Seven is in Miami on Thursday. No road team has won a Game Seven of an NBA Finals series since the NBA went to a 2-3-2 format.