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Spurs execution fails them when it matters most. Can they get it back for Game 7?

Jun 19, 2013, 2:24 AM EDT

For three quarters of Game 6, as it has been for much of the NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs execution was just too much for the Heat to handle — the Spurs shot 50 percent, they played smart defense, they moved the ball, Tim Duncan was playing like a man possessed with 30 points and 14 rebounds, and Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker were chipping in.

Everything was coming together. It was 75-65 Spurs. They had a 10-point lead and were just 12 minutes away from hoisting a new banner.

Then it all came apart — the execution that has been the hallmark of the Spurs went away as the Heat got desperate and cranked up the defensive pressure.

Throughout the Finals the Spurs had withstood the Heat runs, such as in Game 5 when the Heat raced back to make it a one point game in the third, only to have the Spurs rattle off a 19-1 run. It has been the key to this series — the Spurs would not wilt in the face of the Heat pressure.

Except on Tuesday they did. San Antonio didn’t execute in the fourth quarter, from the players to the coach.

In the fourth quarter and overtime combined the Spurs scored 25 points on 31 percent shooting, they were1-of-8 from three, they were 0-6 in the midrange and they had three turnovers (all by Manu Ginobili, who had 8 on the night). Duncan went 0-of-5 in the fourth quarter and overtime, while during that span the hot Danny Green went 0-of-3 from beyond the arc, where he couldn’t seem to miss in the last few game games. Tony Parker was on the bench in key minutes with cramps. The Spurs were 4-of-10 inside five feet in the final 17 minutes of that game, which isn’t going to get it done. Duncan was on the bench when the Heat grabbed a couple key offensive rebounds.

Miami came back and forced a Game 7 with the win.

After the game this was a dejected Spurs team, you could feel the disappointment. This is a team that off the court acts like they do on it — business like, professional. But they looked and felt crushed after this loss.

“We were a few seconds away from winning the championship and we let it go,” Ginobili said. “A couple of rebounds we didn’t catch. A clutch three by Ray (Allen), a couple missed free throws, it’s a very tough moment.”

Will they be over it by Game 7 less than 48 hours away? Will they be physically recharged — Tim Duncan played 44 minutes, Tony Parker 42 and was cramping.

“I have no clue how we’re going to be reenergized,” Ginobili said. “I’m devastated. “But we have to. There’s no Game 8 afterwards. We’re going to have to play our best game, even better than today. Shoot better, better defense, less turnovers in my case, but, yeah, there’s no secret recipe for bouncing back.”

“Obviously, it’s a tough loss,” Tony Parker said. “We had a great opportunity to finish it. But that’s basketball. We can show what we’re made of and have a great opportunity — can’t forget we have another opportunity on Thursday to try to win a championship.”

Duncan reminded everyone the Spurs have been through plenty before. If one team can move on from something like this, if one veteran squad can put it behind them, it is San Antonio.

“We’ll use these 48 hours until the next one to get physically right, get reenergized,” Duncan said. “We’ll do what we usually do. We’ll watch a little bit of film, and make a couple of little tweaks. We put ourselves in a position to win a game.

“They made plays down the stretch to take it from us, but we know what we can do. We know that we can win games either here or anywhere else, and we just have to execute for a longer period of time. We had a lapse for a couple of minutes here and there. As I said, up 10 points going into the fourth quarter, we like our chances.”

  1. bucrightoff - Jun 19, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    You outta get an article out about the thousands of Heat fans who left before the game was over only to be denied re-entry when the Heat tied it up. Which is awesome by the arena staff and typical of Miami sports fans.

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - Jun 19, 2013 at 9:02 AM

      Not exactly “awesome”; they just aren’t set up to do the security checks that late. And how some fans who leave early are more “typical” of the fan base than the many many many more who stayed is not obvious.

    • acdc363 - Jun 19, 2013 at 10:04 AM

      ESPN is covering it quite a bit this morning! That stuff sure is funny! To think og how much money they spent on those seats just to walk out and miss the comeback! Idiots!!

  2. canehouse - Jun 19, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    The missed free throws were very bad… choke worthy! But the two allowed Offensive Rebounds by the HEAT were all effort… MIAMI wanted it more… no?

    • 2late2matter - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      I’ve contended for years that “free throws” are only free if you make them. Spurs didn’t. No win.

  3. purplekobra69 - Jun 19, 2013 at 3:20 AM

    After Westbrook went down. I knew the Spurs would be the the team that would face the Heat in the finals. Even though the Heat just won, they should of swept them.

    • bcwildcat24 - Jun 19, 2013 at 8:14 AM

      If you feel the Heat should have/were going to sweep the Spurs, you clearly don’t watch basketball. As much as I dislike the Spurs, they are one of the top franchises in the league. That was never going to happen.

  4. canehouse - Jun 19, 2013 at 3:29 AM

    bucrightoff… didn’t look like “thousands” of fans bailed… were u there? Stop listening to Wilbon… he has a serious grudge with the “Magic City”. For the sake of healthy argument… let’s say a thousand fans pulled the rip cord… can u blame them… the yellow ropes and the Larry O’Brien were in full effect! I go to a lot of games… and our base of fans are drawn from as close as 5 minutes to 2 hours away from the AAA. I can imagine tonight the fans exiting were from Palm Beach, Jupiter, or Naples. So give that rubbish a rest!! See ya Thursday night!

    • bucrightoff - Jun 19, 2013 at 3:42 AM

      Ummm, not even Wilbon, but actual Miami sports writers were tweeting that (LeBatard, Victor Oquendo). In fact Oquendo said many of the fans who stayed were from out of town. So yeah, try again there.

      • blueintown - Jun 19, 2013 at 9:22 AM

        Who cares? There’s a basketball game on the floor.

  5. rickyspanish - Jun 19, 2013 at 4:22 AM

    bucrightoff

    There will be an article and it will be hilarious. I’m glad they didn’t let those drunkards back in, serves them right. It pains me to say, but that was embarrassing. Those people that got locked out missed an amazing game.

    I hate to admit, but Miami probably has more bandwagon fans than any other city, but there are some fans that have been with this team long before LeBron and Bosh came, and tonight, they were treated to a fun night.

  6. artisan3m - Jun 19, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    I’m shocked ~ ~ ~ shocked, I tell you ~ ~ ~ that we are going to a Game 7. You’d think these two organizations would be a bit more subtle in their approach. Alternating blowouts seems a bit too suspicious to pass the smell test. The most wonderful thing about Game 7 is that the season will finally be O-V-E-R! ! ! ! !

  7. chicago240 - Jun 19, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    Epic. Missed free Throws, rebounds, shots….and a nasty uncalled foul on Ginobli (can you grab a guys arms any more??). They all even out by the end of most games. And it all came together for the Heat in a remarkable comeback that had me dying (not a Heat fan). Credit the Heat. They dug in, Lebron was awesome, Allen was clutch, and a resurrected Bosh came up big at the end. On to game 7.

  8. loungefly74 - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Game 7 has the potential to go down as one of the greatest games of all time. lets all hope for that. I don’t have a horse in the race but this is epic.

  9. Great Caesar's Ghost - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    You can tell Lebron is frustrated with himself. He will win a ring but cannot get to legends status. It’s just a different echelon of players that belong there.

    • blueintown - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      You’re insane.

  10. drjehr - Jun 19, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Is Helin watching the same finals? I see a series where each team won a squeaker (game one for the Spurs, last night for the Heat) and each team has won by double digits twice. I see two evenly matched teams playing great basketball with outstanding effort yet not one technical foul in 6 games. The Spurs have been helped handily by having a player shooting almost 70% for 3-point land, clearly not something that can be done consistently, while the Heat have suffered from some uncharacteristically poor shooting. Too bad it’s only best of 7. I say change it just for this year into best of 17. Football season isn’t coming for 2 1/2 months

  11. whit0101 - Jun 19, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Last night was exhibit A in how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. When Leonard went to shoot those two free throws that would have iced the game, you could see he was about to soil his shorts. The moment was simply too big for him. I could never be a coach. I would have stabbed Ginobli to death for the way he played with 8 turnovers. He persisted in trying to drive the lane when it was clogged up with 3 or 4 Miami players. The guy simply cannot dribble anymore. This was not his first game like this in this finals. He is a walking turnover machine.

  12. rohozx - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    ginobli SUCKS?

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