News Column

How Miami Heat Fought Off Spurs' Final Desperate Attempt in Game 6

June 19, 2013

With 1.9 seconds left in overtime Tuesday night, San Antonio still had a last-gasp chance to erase a 103-100 deficit and tie the score in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Here is how Chris Bosh ultimately ruined the Spurs' plan by blocking the 24-foot shot of Danny Green.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich drew up an in-bounds play with three options.

The main target for Tim Duncan's entry pass was Spurs sharpshooter Danny Green.

He started across the court from Duncan, who prepared to in-bound from the sideline with Miami's Mario Chalmers in front of him. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra assigned Ray Allen to Green.

When the official handed Duncan the ball, San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili stepped toward Green and set the first of three staggered screens on Allen, just clipping him as Green hustled toward Duncan.

Then, Spurs center Tiago Splitter stepped into Allen's path, but missed him.

The first two staggered screens did nothing to keep Allen off Green, who spun back away from Duncan as Splitter stepped into a much harder screen on Allen about 30 feet from the basket.

Ginobili spun off his screen and flashed across the middle as he approached Duncan, eventually stopping on the strong-side wing.

Gary Neal stood in the corner, guarded by Miami's Dwyane Wade. (As an aside, a basketball mind might wonder if Neal's job was simply to keep Wade away from the shooter. Wade, even though he's hurt, is arguably the Heat's best shot blocker in the open court.)

This is how basketball decisions are made. A pass to Ginobili would have given him a post-up, fall-away 3-pointer with LeBron James on him.

Wade would likely have deflected or even stolen a pass toward Neal.

That left one option for Duncan, who telegraphed his pass.

Green was hustling back toward the far corner. Splitter locked up Allen with a strong pick -- and may have even fouled him -- and Duncan saw his opening.

Duncan's lofted pass led Green into a tough corner 3. Chris Bosh, the lurking help defender whose man, Splitter, was out of the play, did his job.

A 6-foot-6 shooter will always have a tough time extending over a 6-foot-11 shot blocker, even if it's Michael Jordan shooting the ball.

"I knew they were going to run something for a shooter," said Bosh, who made his second block of the game. "I followed Duncan's eyes and I followed the flight of the ball. With 1.9 seconds left there isn't much you can do."

The Spurs likely got the shot they wanted, but the Heat got the help defense they wanted. And that's how there's a Game 7, and not a second overtime.

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(c)2013 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

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