This game wasn’t about who won or lost necessarily, considering Gregg Popovich’s decision to send home his three best players before it even got started.
The controversy created by that move will be discussed for days, and maybe longer depending on what David Stern has in mind for Popovich and the Spurs as punishment for resting his healthy stars against the defending champs in a game that was nationally televised.
But there was competitive basketball played in spite of the Spurs’ attempt at derailing things, and Ray Allen made sure the Heat wouldn’t be losing to a bunch of scrubs.
Down by one with under 30 seconds remaining, LeBron James dribbles into the paint and is momentarily stripped by the defensive combination of Tiago Splitter and Nando De Colo. With the defense collapsing to try to gain possession, LeBron ends up with the ball and finds Allen on the wing, who calmly drains a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down to give his team the lead for good.
This was remarkably similar to how things ended for Miami against the Cavaliers just a few days earlier, although this particular defensive lapse on Allen was more understandable considering that the ball was momentarily in play.
Still, this proves yet again why the addition of Allen was such a deadly one for this Miami Heat team. You almost have to double or play a scheme involving all five players with the ball in Lebron’s hands in late-game situations, but if you do, you leave one of the greatest shooters the game has ever seen wide open to beat you from the outside.