In an epic Game Six of the NBA Finals that will be remembered most for the fourth quarter and overtime, one of the most amazing plays came in the first quarter.
Six minutes into the game and both teams trading blows, San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard threw down an incredible slam over Miami Heat guard Mike Miller.
With the Spurs trying to push the tempo, point guard Tony Parker caught Miami off-guard and jumpstarted a fastbreak with Leonard trailing. Parker then found the second-year starter out of San Diego State flashing to the basket, and made a perfect bounce pass to catch him in stride.
Leonard did the rest, taking off from mid-paint, and colliding with Miller, who proved helpless in his attempt to block the one-handed slam.
No foul was called, but Leonard did put his left hand out and caught Miller in the face. Miller also got a hand to Leonard’s chest.
That put the Spurs up 18-16, and Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra called a timeout immediately after, hoping to stunt any momentum Leonard’s dunk might have provided.
If fans didn’t know who Leonard was before this series, his dunk stamped an exclamation point on an incredible run for the 21-year-old. He finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds for his third double-double in the Finals.
During the Finals, Leonard is averaging 13.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.2 steals, while shooting 52.4 percent from the field. Most of all he’s helped take some of the pressure off Tim Duncan’s legs down low. Leonard is second on the team with 8.7 rebounds a game during the postseason.
Miami won 103-100 in overtime, but Leonard should continue to be a huge factor in Thursday’s deciding Game Seven.