MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat forced Game 7 with the San Antonio Spurs thanks to a remarkable comeback for the ages in Game 6. It’s only after the stats were processed did the unlikely rally really get put in perspective.
For instance, when Miami’s Ray Allen hit a three-point shot to tie the game with just 5.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter, it was the first three-point shot he hit in the entire game! It was also Allen’s fifth game-tying or go-ahead three-point shot in the final 10 seconds of a fourth quarter or overtime, which is the most in the past 15 postseasons, according to ESPN.com.
Miami’s overtime victory in Game 6 was the first potential game-clinching NBA Finals contest to go to overtime since 1974’s Game 6 between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
NBA MVP LeBron James also put up a triple-double in the game, scoring 32 points, pulling down 10 rebounds, and handing out 11 assists and capturing three steals. Triple-double’s in NBA Finals elimination games are rare, so rare that only three players have pulled it off and seen their team win.
Besides LeBron the only other two players in NBA history to hit triple-doubles in a game to avoid elimination were Bill Russell and James Worth, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. LeBron now has four triple-doubles in NBA Finals history.
Forcing a Game 7 while coming back first from double-digits and then from five points down with under a minute to play was also almost unheard of in NBA history. According to Elias, only one other team fought off elimination by overcoming a double-digit lead heading into the fourth quarter, the 1967 San Francisco Warriors, however the Philadelphia 76ers would win the title in 1967’s Game 7.
Then there’s this, the Spurs are the seventh team to lose Game 6 of the NBA Finals with a chance to win the championship by three or fewer points, according to ESPN.com. The last two teams to pull off that feat both lost Game 7 of their respective finals.
The Spurs’ Manu Ginobli described the loss as “devastating” and given NBA history, that might be an understatement. According to ESPN, in the past 15 NBA seasons, teams up by 5 points with between 20 and 30 seconds to go in a game win said game 98.6 percent of the time.
But, Ginobli has had his heart broken before in the NBA Finals. According to Elias, the last time a player blocked two shots in the final minute of an NBA Finals game was in 2005 when the Detroit Pistons’ Ben Wallace blocked two shots that would have given their opponent the lead. Both shots were taken by Ginobli.
Finally, if you’re looking for the next Big Shot Bob Horry, look no further than the Heat’s Mario Chalmers. He lived for big games in college and is remembered for saving Kansas’ title hopes with a huge three-pointer against Memphis in the national championship game.
After being quiet for most of the past two games, Chalmers came alive in Game 6 to score 20 points on 7-11 shooting including 4-5 from behind the three-point line.