NBA Finals Game 7 Review: Spurs' Game 6 hangover

NBA Finals Game 7 Review: Spurs' Game 6 hangover
June 21, 2013, 1:15 am
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MIAMI — The window of opportunity is small when it comes to winning an NBA title.

This is a lesson that the San Antonio Spurs know all too well following Thursday's 95-88 loss to the Miami Heat which prevented them from winning a fifth NBA title in 14 years while securing a second title in as many years for the Heat - the first team to do so since the 2009-10 Los Angeles Lakers.

While the Spurs gave themselves a chance to win on Thursday, this series will be remembered - at least in San Antonio - for the team's collapse in the fourth quarter of Game 6 which ended in a 103-100 overtime loss.

"They gave everything," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich who then added, "that was a tough Game 6."

A "big disappointment" was how Manu Ginobili described losing in The Finals, and like Popovich, his next comment immediately shifted back to the previous game.

"In my case," Ginobili said, "I still have Game 6 in my head."

And many of the participants who performed poorly in Game 6, had their share of struggles in Game 7 as well.

Namely Danny Green, the feel-good story of The Finals for the first four or five games.

Green, who set an NBA Finals record for made 3s, could never re-discover the smooth shooting stroke he had early on.

In the last two games, both losses for San Antonio, Green shot a combined 2-for-19 from the field.

There will be plenty of time to put the disappointment of this loss behind them in the offseason.

But for now, the pain is too fresh, too real to disregard quickly.

Especially for Ginobili who often interjected his comments about Game 7, with remorseful thoughts of what could have been in Game 6.

"We were five seconds away from raising that trophy," Ginobili said. "And it just didn't happen."

Although Tim Duncan said Game 7 will "haunt" him for all the missed shots and bad decisions he made in the fourth quarter, he too couldn't help but lament the lost opportunity the Spurs had in Game 6 in which they led by 10 at the start of the fourth quarter and by five with about 30 seconds to play.

"To be in a Game 6 up one and two chances to win an NBA championship and not do it, that's tough to swallow," Duncan said.

Indeed, the Spurs came up short on several fronts which included some factors outlined prior to the game. Here's a look back at those factors, as well as how they eventually played out.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: With both teams still feeling some degree of fatigue following the Game 6 overtime thriller, look for poor shooting on the part of both teams early on.

WHAT WE SAW: The two teams combined to score just 34 points in the first quarter, the lowest scoring quarter of the series.

MATCHUP TO WATCH:  Danny Green vs Dwyane Wade: The longer this series has gone, Wade seems to be getting stronger. The Spurs have gone underneath on pick-and-rolls with Wade, practically daring him to shoot. Lately, he has made them pay although those gimpy knees of his are indeed reason for Heat fans to be somewhat concerned with his effectiveness. Miami paid a lot closer attention to Green in Game 6 which led to him missing six of his seven shot attempts. We'll see if the Spurs can free Green up in tonight's winner-take-all Game 7 matchup.

WHAT WE SAW: This kept getting more lopsided as the series went on, shifting from a relatively even matchup to one that was dominated by Wade. In Game 7, Wade had 23 points and 10 rebounds while Green had just five points while missing 11 of his 12 shots from the field.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Chris Bosh has been in the shadow of James and Wade ever since he arrived in Miami. But he has shown the ability to step up in these kind of games, delivering on the intangibles such as getting to loose balls and grabbing timely rebounds. His numbers may not be all that impressive, but the potential for his imprint to be on the game in a big way, is there.

WHAT WE SAW: Bosh had a decent night on the boards with seven rebounds, but he was held scoreless for the night while missing all five of his shot attempts.

STAT TO TRACK: The 3-point shot was a difference-maker for the Heat in their Game 6 win, and it will likely play a major role in tonight's game as well. On Tuesday, Miami was 11-for-19 on 3s which was the second time (Game 2) the Heat in the Finals made at least 10 3s in a game and shot better than 50 percent from 3-point range. And in both games, the Heat emerged victorious.

WHAT WE SAW: The Heat wasn't as proficient on its 3s in Game 7 as Miami was earlier, but the 3-point shot was more than enough to offset San Antonio's dominance inside the paint. Miami connected on 12 of its 32 3-point attempts while the Spurs were a less-than-stellar 6-for-19 on 3s.