The NBA Finals will stick around for an encore performance following the Miami Heat’s 103-100 overtime victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night. A hard fought, closely contested game throughout, LeBron James knew it was something special as soon as it finished, telling reporters that it was the “best game I’ve ever been a part of.”
James has struggled for much of these playoffs, seemingly riding a roller coaster with his performances. Consistency has not been there for the once unbeatable Heat, who went on a 49-3 roll earlier in the season, but are just barely over .500 in their last two series.
Long have the critics of ‘King’ James pointed out that he often struggled in the clutch. Tonight was a different story, putting on a signature performance when his team needed it most. Absent for much of the first three quarters, James Shined in the ‘best game’ he’d ever been a part of, putting up 16 of his game high 32 points in the fourth quarter, carrying his team to victory and extending the season to a final game. He did this after making just 25 percent of his shots during the first three periods.
Yet another triple double for the reigning MVP, James also posted 11 assists and 1o rebounds to go along with his 32 points. His three with just 20 seconds left in the 4th quarter cut the Spurs lead to two points. Ray Allen was able to tie the game and send it to overtime with 5 seconds left with a three of his own. He was able to tie the game with his three after Leonard made one of his two free throws for the Spurs.
In overtime, James cashed in a floater to put his team ahead with 1:43 left in the period, the winning shot of the game.
A back and forth series throughout, neither team has won back to back games in the series as of yet, James understands the beauty this battle has brought to the basketball world. In his post game interview he touched on how special it is for him to be a part of a magical series such as this.
“The ups and downs, the roller coaster, the emotions, good and bad throughout the whole game. To be a part of something like this is something you would never be able to recreate once you’re done playing the game. And I’m blessed to be a part of something like this. And I’m happy about the way we dug down and was able to get a win. It didn’t look like we could muster up at some point in the game,” James told reporters after the game.
Perhaps the only thing shining more than LeBron James in this series, especially in the aftermath of the best game the ‘King’ says he has played in, is the level of sportsmanship both teams have exemplified throughout. Neither team has been caught up in trash talking with one another, they understand they are the two best teams in the league and are leaving their battles on the court.
Play has also been clean, no technical fouls have been given as of yet in this NBA Finals series. There have only been a handful of Finals that have ever been able to avoid a technical throughout the series, this series is competitive on the court but the sportsmanship has avoided the bone headed plays that often plague teams in big moments.
San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich has to be second guessing some of his decisions towards the end of game 6. He pulled Tim Duncan, who was putting on a signature performance of his own that night, posting 25 points in the first half alone, with 19 seconds left in regulation. Just enough time for the Heat to come back and force overtime. In overtime, he pulled guard Tony Parker for the final 31 seconds, his team couldn’t overcome the small deficit it faced.
The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat will face off one more time in this legendary series. LeBron James and company will have momentum and home court advantage coming off a shining performance in the clutch game 6, a game that James said was the “best game I’ve ever been a part of.” Who will walk off the court champions? It’s hard to tell, but the encore should be just as exciting as game 6, with one team walking off the court crowned as NBA Finals champions.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express