NBA Finals Game 6: Heat comeback in fourth, win in overtime to force Game 7

125 Comments

That was a great game.

And Game 7 sets up to be something special.

For three quarters San Antonio’s execution was too much for Miami and the Spurs entered the fourth up 10 (75-65) and just 12 minutes away from a title. Tim Duncan had been a force, with countermoves spinning Chris Bosh around and Duncan had 30 points (and he finished with 17 boards on a monster night).

But the fourth quarter belonged to LeBron James — he had 16 points in the quarter, cranked up his defensive pressure, hist teammates followed along and they forced overtime thanks to an amazing Ray Allen three pointer with 5 seconds left. Miami won the fourth 30-20 and their season still was on the line (and Duncan did not score in the fourth).

Ray Allen had 4 points in the overtime, Manu Ginobili had the last of his 8 turnovers on the night — and got jobbed on a foul call late that will go down as an Allen steal.  Chris Bosh made some key offensive rebounds and had two key late blocked shots. All of it was enough to give Miami a dramatic 8-5 win in the OT and a 103-100 win in Game 7.

Check out PBT for more details out of the game… and be back here Thursday night for what should be one heck of a contest.

———————————————–

Here is the live blog from tonight:

END OF OVERTIME Chris Bosh bocks Danny Green and the Heat hang on for the win. Heat forces Game 7 Thursday night.

:02 Overtime: Wade misses jumper, but Ginobili gets board and tries to go coast to coast, he gets fouled by Ray Allen but no call made late. Ray Allen gets ball and is fouled, hits both. 103-100 Heat, Spurs get one last shot to tie.

:31 Overtime: On switch Tony Parker tries pull up over Bosh, but Bosh blocks it. Spurs can get stop and get lost shot.

:40 Overtime: Spurs going to try and get 2-1 possessions at the end, they want the last shot. 101-100 Heat.

:40 Overtime: Ginobili drives baseline and makes terrible kickout pass right to LeBron, so LeBron drives in transition and Danny Green makes a great transition defensive play to strip ball, out off LeBron. Spurs get ball and can retake lead.

:55 Overtime: Parker sits out one possession, Spurs get stop with LeBron missing jump hook over Ginobili.

1:18 Overtime: Time out, Spurs look a little tired and like they need it.

1:18 Overtime: James floater in lane gives Heat 101-100 lead. Spurs then have 24 second violation.

2:42 Overtime: Tony Parker gets the steal, is fouled hard (but fairly) in transition. hits 1-2 free throws. 100-97 Spurs.

3:01 Overtime: Leonard with another little jumper in the lane, 99-97 Spurs.

3:33 Overtime: Chris Bosh outruns all the Spurs in transition, gets a long pass from LeBron and gets fouled and makes bucket. Misses and-1, 97-97.

4:20 Overtime: Leonard makes first bucket of OT in the lane, 97-95 Spurs.

END OF REGULATION: Tim Duncan has 30 points and 16 rebounds to lead Heat in regulation. LeBron has 40 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists.

END OF REGULATION: Heat got two key late game offensive boards, in both cases Tim Duncan was on the bench.

END OF REGULATION: Tony Parker misses a leaner and we are headed to overtime…. WHAT A GREAT GAME!!

:05 Fourth Quarter: Ray Allen ties the game with a three. James missed the first attempt but Chris Bosh got the offensive rebound. Spurs get one last shot, or we are going to OT.

:19 Fourth Quarter: Leonard misses first, hits second, three point game.

:20 Fourth Quarter: This is where it is nice to have Popovich drawing inbounds plays. Gets it in, Leonard fouled.

:20 Fourth Quarter: LeBron misses first three, out of timeout, but Heat get offensive rebound and pass it out to LeBron and hit hits it. 94-92 Spurs. Heat need steal on inbounds and if not must foul. Both teams out of timeouts.

:28 Fourth Quarter: LeBron tries shot up and under in the lane and airballs. Ginobili gets ball and is fouled again, hits 1-2, 94-89 Spurs.

:37 Fourth Quarter: LeBron tries to back down Tony Parker, loses ball and it is Spurs in transition, Ginobili fouled by Allen, hits both 93-89 Spurs. Spurs on 7-0 run.

:58 Fourth Quarter: Tony Parker gets in the lane, hits floater and it is 91-89 Spurs with the lead again. San Antonio executes in the clutch, can the Heat?

1:27 Fourth Quarter: Tony Parker with step-back three and ties it 89-89.

1:46 Fourth Quarter: Ginobili missed a wild three, but on LeBron tip out Spurs get loose ball.

2:09 Fourth Quarter: Wade cuts baseline, gets ball and draws foul. He hits both. 89-86 Heat.

2:22 Fourth Quarter: Ginobili layup makes it a 1 point Heat lead.

2:57 Fourth Quarter: Finally a close game again at the end. This has been a great series but the fourth of every game but the first has been a blowout. This is a lot of fun.

3:18 Fourth Quarter: Ducan missed, Tony Parker 4-of-16 on the night. Spurs have just 9 points this quarter, lucky to be down just 87-84.

3:48 Fourth Quarter: Wade re-enters the game after a short rest.

5:05 Fourth Quarter: Great run by the Heat but a Leonard runner makes it a one-point game. Then LeBron’s 12th point of the quarter makes it 3 again. 87-84.

5:28 Fourth Quarter: LeBron goes to line with chance to extend 84-82 lead. This all started because Miller and Chalmers hit some outside shots — the Spurs had packed the paint but had to adjust when the Heat shooters started knocking down shots. Created room for LeBron to attack.

6:03 Fourth Quarter: Heat on 19-7 run to start fourth quarter.

6:03 Fourth Quarter: LeBron with block of Duncan them up-and-under bucket on the other end, then a Ray Allen reverse puts the Heat ahead 84-82 Heat.

7:08 Fourth Quarter: Birdman gets fouled on another good baseline cut, two free throws make it 82-80 Spurs.

8:44 Fourth Quarter: Heat defensive intensity up, but Spurs still making plays. Even broken plays. 82-77 Spurs.

9:57 Fourth Quarter: Splitter with a bucket, LeBron with a dunk to pump the crowd. Four point game.

11:01 Fourth Quarter: Heat open fourth with Chalmers three, bucket in the paint, Miller three with one shoe off. 77-73 Heat. Here comes the run.

END OF THIRD QUARTER: 75-65 Spurs. The Spurs simply are executing better at both ends, packing the paint and making the Heat jump shooters, and getting the looks they like at the other end. San Antonio one quarter away from the title.

:10 Third Quarter: Heat shooting 8-22 in the lane, 9-22 from the midrange.

1:08 Third Quarter: Heat trying to drive and finding no room and getting no calls as Spurs pack the paint. Meanwhile, Spurs just score. 75-63 Spurs.

2:19 Third Quarter: Wade elbow jumper cuts lead to 71-63.

3:30 Third Quarter: San Antonio is packing the lane and the Heat are not making them pay with open outside shots. 71-58 Spurs.

4:27 Third Quarter: After lead got to 1 Spurs go off on 11-0 run, capped by Tim Duncan and-1. 68-56 Spurs. They are pulling away and we’ll see if the Heat have a run in them.

4:54 Third Quarter: Leonard with the steal and he goes end to end to get the and-1 and the lead up to 9. And that’s four fouls on Wade.

5:08 Third Quarter: The Spurs do not wilt like other teams when Miami makes a run. It’s the difference in this series. Heat got lead down to 1, now it is 6.

5:10 Third Quarter: Chris Andersen picks up his fourth foul in 8 minutes of play. He is a foul sponge. 62-56 Spurs.

5:40 Third Quarter: Mike Miller picks up his fourth foul battling Tim Duncan for a rebound. Then on the next possession Tony Parker with the crazy and-1 from Tony Parker. Miami had a run but Spurs still lead 60-56.

6:15 Third Quarter: Mike Miller’s glacial drive gets to the rim and makes it a 1-point game, a sign the Spurs are not sharp on their rotations. Popovich calls a timeout.

6:50 Third Quarter: Wade knocks down elbow jumper, 57-54 Spurs.

7:37 Third Quarter: Ginobili with another turnover, his fifth. Then he Euro-fouls LeBron at half court to prevent breakaway, but that puts Miami in penalty already. 55-52 Spurs.

8:12 Third Quarter: The Spurs defensive rotations are sharp, Heat not able to get any easy buckets.

9:01 Third Quarter: LeBron is trying to assert himself to start the second half. But will the Heat defend well and will anyone help him from the Heat. 55-50 Spurs.

10:17 Third Quarter: Ray Allen started the second half was Wade was late from the locker room. No report why yet.

11:23 Third Quarter: On first Heat possession, LeBron put his head down, got to the rim and was fouled. Expect a lot of that. 53-45 Spurs.

HALFTIME: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh a combined 9-24 shooting in first half.

HALFTIME: Heat shot 41.5 percent and are only this close because they grabbed 8 offensive rebounds and forced 8 Spurs turnovers. Mario Chalmers leads the Heat with 14 points. LeBron James with 9 points on 3-of-9 shooting and he’s not getting to the rim again, but does have 5 assists. Wade and Bosh each with six points and more missed shots than made.

HALFTIME: Tim Duncan has 25 of Spurs 50 points on 11-13 shooting. Read that sentence again, that is insane. Bosh has defended Duncan pretty well on the block but Duncan has counter moves for everything and just can’t miss. Kawhi Leonard has 10 points, Tony Parker is setting it all up with 6 assists. Spurs shot 58.3 percent in the first half. So much for all that talk from the Heat about defense.

HALFTIME 50-44 Spurs at the break, Spurs end on 8-0 run and 17-4 run total.

1:50 Second Quarter Bosh defends Duncan well, but fade away can’t be stopped. Then dunk on next possession, Duncan has 13 straight for Spurs, 46-44 Spurs now.

2:34 Second Quarter Ginobili with another turnover, that is four already. He is a mess again. 44-42 Heat.

2:47 Second Quarter LeBron really has trouble scoring consistently when bigs like Diaw or Duncan are on him. 44-42 Heat.

3:32 Second Quarter Birdman picks up his third foul on Duncan in the block, and Timmy hits both. 21 points for Duncan, 44-42 Heat.

4:32 Second Quarter LeBron draws a shooting foul, blocking foul on Duncan 44-39 Heat.

5:59 Second Quarter Tim Duncan 8-8 for 16 points.

5:59 Second Quarter Andersen picks a couple quick fouls battling Duncan in the post. 40-37 Heat.

7:35 Second Quarter Chalmers scores on the floater, he has 14 points. So does Duncan, 40-35 Heat.

8:46 Second Quarter It looks like the Birdman got all Haslem’s minutes in this game. At least to start.

8:46 Second Quarter 36-30 Heat after a Wade midrange jumper falls. Spurs will live with him taking that shot all night long.

9:20 Second Quarter Manu Ginobili not the same player so far, 0-2 shooting to start. 34-28 Heat.

10:17 Second Quarter Miami 5-7 from three to start after a Battier one (set up by a 5th Heat offensive board). 32-28 Heat.

START OF SECOND QUARATER: From Tom Haberstroh of ESPN: With 4 of his 5 assists leading to 3s, LeBron has accounted for 24 of the Heat’s 27 points in the first quarter.

END OF FIRST QUARATER: Spurs shoot 61.1 percent in first quarter, Heat shoot 50 percent (they got to the line more, grabbed some offensive boards). First team to get a string of stops could win this thing.

END OF FIRST QUARATER: 27-25 Heat after one, with the quarter ending on Boris Diaw blocking LeBron James. Don’t see that every day.

:55 First Quarter Danny Green misses a three, Mario Chalmers makes one. 10 points for Chalmers 27-24 Heat.

1:41 First Quarter Shane Battier banks in a three and we are tied 24-24. Don’t think he missed it so bad he made it. Battier called bank. We all heard him, right?

2:40 First Quarter Make that 6-6 for Duncan, he scores over Battier on a switch. So the Birdman is coming in. 24-19 Spurs.

3:55 First Quarter Tim Duncan starts game 5-5 shooting, he has just been amazing. His counter moves are killing Bosh, who has played solid defense. 22-19 Spurs.

5:17 First Quarter Boris Diaw in with the first subs for the Spurs, and in the Spurs first offensive possession Diaw gets the ball, goes hard at LeBron and scores right over him. 20-17 Spurs.

5:56 First Quarter Leonard has 8 early points after that dunk, 18-16 Spurs. So much for all the defensive talk from the Heat, Spurs are making the plays.

5:56 First Quarter Kawhi Leonard just dunked all over Mike Miller. All over him.

7:14 First Quarter If both teams keep this pace, they will end regulation tied 117-117.

7:14 First Quarter LeBron and Parker each with three early assists. Both teams are shooting great to start.

7:42 First Quarter Wade attacks, bangs knees with Ginobili and is clearly in some pain (he got the charging call, too). We’ll be watching him. 14-14.

8:17 First Quarter Both teams start 5-7 shooting. 12-12 tie.

9:31 First Quarter Kawhi Leonard gets a fortunate foul on LeBron in transition (there was no foul there) and got the and-1. He hits a corner three next time down. 12-10 Spurs.

10:10 First Quarter LeBron got his wish, a three from Mike Miller early on. Bosh and Duncan each with a couple more 7-6 Heat.

11:20 First Quarter Same starting lineups, game opens with a Chris Bosh and Tim Dunan midrange make. 2-2.

12:00 First Quarter Julia Dale sure can sing.

12:00 First Quarter We are 6 minutes away from the start of introductions and I’ll note this: People hate the Heat, they don’t hate the Spurs. I did Miami Radio on Tuesday (the Big O show) and he said as much, you can’t hate the Spurs. The teams have been respectful in a way you don’t normally see six games into a hard-fought series.

12:00 First Quarter Two pregame notes: The Heat talked a whole lot about defense leading up to this one. With reason — if the Spurs shoot 60 percent and score 114 points again, there will a parade down the River Walk in a few days. The other thing, expect to see some Birdman in this game. Miami went small and Chris Andersen has been glued to the bench, expect that to change a little.

It is elimination game time — welcome to the PBT Live Blog for Game 6 of the NBA Finals. San Antonio has the 3-2 series lead now they have a chance to close it out on the road, do that and it builds the legacy of a Spurs team that will challenge the Lakers for best of this era. And if the Heat lose… that is a whole lot of looming questions.

I’m Kurt, your host and agent provocateur for the evening. I will be updating you on the score, what is going on in the game, making snide remarks and generally just having some fun. This has been a very entertaining, generally well played series and I’m hoping that we finally have a close game that goes down to the wire.

Steve Alford: LaVar Ball never meddled with UCLA Basketball

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Leave a comment

Is LaVar Ball just a harmless loudmouth, or will he actually undermine the team that drafts his son, highly touted guard Lonzo Ball?

The Lakers, who hold the No. 2 pick, are the most likely team to find out.

President Magic Johnson said LaVar won’t affect whether they draft Lonzo, but coach Luke Walton wants the team to ask UCLA coach Steve Alford about LaVar’s involvement.

Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times did just that:

Was LaVar Ball around the team much?

“Zero,” Alford said.

Was he ever at practice?

“Never at practice,” Alford said. “Never at practice; never called me.”

Did he ever try to meddle in your coaching?

“Never,” Alford said.

LaVar has said his other sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, will play for UCLA. So, Alford has incentive to maintain a productive working relationship with LaVar. The players’ high school coach had a much worse experience dealing with LaVar.

Alford vouching for LaVar means something, but the total picture is more complex.

Still, LaVar would hardly be the first difficult parent of an NBA player. He’s just the most public. Even if he’d try to meddle into the Lakers, they might be willing to handle that to get his talented son.

John Wall: Bench was Wizards’ ‘downfall’

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

John Wall left the Wizards’ season-ending loss to the Celtics talking about how badly Washington’s bench got outscored.

Now that he has time to reflect and isn’t just speaking with raw emotion shortly after a devastating loss, how does he feel?

Wall, via CSN Mid-Atlantic

“We need to help our bench,” Wall told CSN’s Chris Miller. “Just to be honest, that was our downfall in each series that we had in the [Eastern Conference] semifinals, our bench got out played.”

It starts from upstairs – just building the right bench guys and building the chemistry. That’s all it is.

I think that’s where they won the game at. I heard Marcus Smart say after the game that I had no legs. He’s basically right. I don’t make excuses. I’m going to play. If I miss shots or make shots, I’ll live with it. I know people will say he finished oh for 11, but I play – I took everything I had in me to keep fighting.

It’s just that their bench guys came in and played well. I think Kelly Oubre could’ve played a little bit more. I wish he would’ve played a little more than Jason. But coach makes the decision, and we stick behind him 100 percent. I feel like those two guys could have really helped us.

Wall – eligible for a designated-veteran-player extension but reportedly unsure about signing one – is clearly telling the Wizards what he wants. Marcin Gortat similarly criticized Washington’s bench earlier in the season, and he apologized. Wall has the leverage not to stand by his assessment.

Both Wall and Gortat were right. The Wizards’ bench was the source of much of their problems.

Washington’s starting lineup outscored opponents by 4.7 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs. Its bench (all other lineups) got outscored 15.5 points per 100 possessions.

Only the Thunder had a similar split in net rating:

image

The Wizards knew their flaw and tried to hide it. Washington’s starters played 34.2 minutes per game together in the postseason – second only to the Pacers (34.5). Wall’s heavy workload contributed to him running out of gas late in Game 7 against Boston, which Marcus Smart noted.

What can the Wizards do to upgrade their bench? Spend.

They sound committed to keeping Otto Porter, a restricted free agent this summer. But that would push them near the luxury tax – so they could scrimp on the bench in a variety of ways:

  • Don’t re-sign Bojan Bogdanovic, another restricted free agent. He’s in line for a raise.
  • Trade Marcin Gortat, elevating Ian Mahinmi into the starting lineup and therefore weakening the bench.
  • Trade Jason Smith, who might be expendable at his salary (especially given Wall’s comments about not wanting him to play as much) but at least still provides depth.
  • Don’t use the mid-level exception. That’s Washington’s best mechanism for adding outside help, but it’d be costly.

Will the Wizards take any of those cost-saving measures? Wall is certainly watching.

Don’t like the wait for this year’s Finals? Here’s the top 10 plays from the last two (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Que the Tom Petty

Nobody is enjoying the week-long break between the end of the Eastern Conference Finals and the start of the NBA Finals (except maybe a few of the older Cavaliers players trying to get healthy). For those of us basketball junkies, we just want to get on to the two best teams in the league battling it out.We need a fix.

Here’s the best we can do today: The top 10 plays from the last two NBA Finals, the last two Cavaliers/Warriors showdowns. Courtesy the folks at NBA.com. There’s plenty of LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and a big shot by Kyrie Irving made the list. Enjoy. And just try to be patient.

Warriors’ center Zaza Pachulia cleared to play in Game 1 of NBA Finals

Getty Images
3 Comments

These playoffs, the Golden State Warriors have been 15.4 points per 100 possessions better when Zaza Pachulia is on the court as opposed to on the bench. That’s a bit misleading, the reason for the gaudy number is he rounds out the dominant starting lineup, which has outscored teams by 32.6 points per 100 this postseason (that is actually better than the legendary “death lineup” in these playoffs). Pachulia is just the first big in the rotation with four All-Star, powerhouse players, but he fills his role well.

Pachulia was slowed by a sore right heel against the Spurs but is 100 percent and ready to go for the Finals when they tip-off Thursday night at Oracle Arena. Here are the details via Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News.

Zaza Pachulia, the only injured Warrior rotation player late in the Spurs series, has participated in all parts of all three practices, without restriction on that sore right heel. He is on track to start Game 1 of The Finals on Thursday.

“We’ve done running, had scrimmages and he’s done everything,” Mike Brown said.

He will have a crucial role on the glass against the Cavaliers. Cleveland brings two dominant rebounders to the party with Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love (plus that LeBron James guy can get some boards), the Warriors will use Pachulia to counter. Before you roll your eyes, he had 13 boards in the second meeting of these teams in the regular season, a blowout Golden State win.

He’s the first big in a rotation of them the Warriors will throw at Cleveland — JaVale McGee may get a little time, but expect a lot of small-ball lineups from the Warriors. If Pachulia can give Golden State a solid 18 minutes a night where he is strong on the glass and helps protect the rim, it will be huge for them.

Pachulia is going to get his shot, he’ll be healthy and ready to go.