MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Imagine being just seconds away from the pinnacle of your career only to watch it slip away for at least two more days. That’s what happened to the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night as the team was less than 30 seconds away from becoming the 2013 NBA Champions.
Then LeBron James and the Miami Heat reminded everyone that they are the defending champions and they’re not going down without a fight to the very last second.
Things looked downright bleak for the Heat when San Antonio took the lead with under a minute to go. The NBA began wheeling out the Larry O’Brien trophy ready to crown the Spurs the 2013 NBA Champions in a celebration on the Heat’s home court.
Yellow rope and security guards were deployed around the court to keep fans off of it for a Spurs celebration. Everything seemed to be going San Antonio’s way when the Spurs went up by five points with 28 seconds left in regulation.
“We seen the championship board already out there, the yellow tape. And you know, that’s why you play the game to the final buzzer,” James said. “And that’s what we did tonight. We gave it everything that we had and more.”
The Heat brought the ball up the floor and LeBron James tried a three-pointer that missed its mark and then there was a scramble for the rebound. James ended up with the ball and once again fired up a three-pointer that went in pulling the Heat to within two points.
The Heat quickly fouled and the Spurs converted just one of two free throws to extend the lead to three points. Then as he has done so many times in his career, the Heat’s Ray Allen stepped back behind the three-point line and drilled a three-point shot to tie the game with just 5.2 seconds left.
And just as quickly as the trophy looked like it was destined to be held up by Tim Duncan and his teammates, Allen’s three-pointer sent the game to overtime and the Heat eventually kept the trophy celebration on hold for the next 48 hours.
“It’s a tough moment. We were a few seconds away from winning the championship and we let it go,” Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili said. “A couple rebounds we didn’t catch, a tough 3 by Ray and a couple missed free throws. It’s a very tough moment.”
The Heat, the NBA’s 66-win powerhouse during the regular season, will be playing a seventh game for the second straight round, having needed to go the distance to beat the Indiana Pacers in the East finals. But a win in Game 7 of this series would give the Heat something better, immortality as one of the only teams to win back-to-back NBA Championships.
“They’re the best two words in sports: Game 7,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
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