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.

Three Things to Know: Paul George returns to Indiana, gets bailed out by OKC defense

Getty Images
1 Comment

Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Paul George returns to Indiana, gets booed, and gets win… thanks to Thunder defense. Russell Westbrook got his triple-double (10 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists). Paul George got some measure of satisfaction with a win on a night he returned to Indiana and was booed mercilessly by the Pacer faithful.

But George didn’t earn them this win, at least on the offensive end. This was a typical Thunder win because it was their elite defense bailing out an unimpressive offense. Again. The Thunder’s big trio of Westbrook, George, and Carmelo Anthony remained in an offensive funk they cannot shoot their way out of, going a combined 10-of-45 from the floor Wednesday, or 22.2 percent.

What the Thunder can fall back on is their defense — second best in the NBA this season (100.9 points allowed per 100 possessions). Indiana came into the game with a top-10 offense and OKC held them in check. The Pacers scored 7.7 points per 100 less than they have averaged for the season. Victor Oladipo, who had been destroying teams for a week, shot 9-of-26 on the night with George as the primary defender on him most of the game. However, Oladipo did lead a charge from 11 down with just more than 5 minutes to go to make it a game late. Then came the big play of the game: Down three with 10 seconds to go, the Pacers tried to get the ball to Oladipo, but it was George who tipped and stole the inbounds pass, followed by hit two free throws after being fouled, to ice the game.

The Thunder got a huge performance from Steven Adams, who had 23 points but more importantly nine offensive rebounds — Oklahoma City grabbed the offensive board and got a second chance on 35.4 percent of their missed shots, and that was the difference in this game.

This didn’t feel like a game where the Thunder turned any corners, but it’s a win on the road and the Thunder will take that without asking any questions.

2) Rockets have yet to lose since Chris Paul returned, win streak reaches 11 after beating Charlotte. It’s not as simple as “Chris Paul came back and Houston can’t lose.” First off, they were winning a lot before he came back. Second, if you’re going to credit something credit the Houston defense, which has been the best in the NBA over the last 11 games (allowing 100.5 points per 100 possessions).

That said, Chris Paul dropped 31 points and 11 assists on Charlotte, torched the Hornet defense, and did it effortlessly as always.

It’s this simple: Houston is a legit contender and the team best poised to knock off Golden State this postseason. How they match up with the Warriors in a series is a question left for late May. We’re a long way from there. But that big question is not going to be answered until then, and the Rockets have answered all the other ones thrown at them so far.

3) Gordon Hayward got his boot off. Celtics’ fans fever dreams of Gordon Hayward returning from his horrific dislocated ankle injury in time for the playoffs — giving Boston a better shot at dethroning LeBron James and the Cavaliers — got a boost on Wednesday.

Hayward is out of his walking boot.

Not to put a damper on those dreams (well, kind of actually) Hayward himself said if things don’t progress he will be back in the boot, and there remains no official timetable for his return. Hayward, his agent, and the Celtics have all said not to expect him back this season… but if you’re a dreaming Celtics fan that just sounds like a PR statement, a managing of expectations so butts are covered if he’s not back.

Hayward is reportedly working hard on his rehab. He talked to Kobe Bryant and Paul George early in the process, guys who know about bouncing back from injury, and both told him to go at rehab hard every day like it was preparing for a game. Do everything the doctors and trainers say. There would be good days, bad days, but work the process. By all accounts, Hayward is doing just that.

And that still doesn’t mean he will be back for these playoffs. We all saw that injury, right? If he’s not back this season, nobody should blink. That was nasty. But he is out of his boot and walking normally, and that’s a good sign because what everyone wants to see is him back on the court. Whenever it happens.

Thunder pick up Paul George in his return to Indiana

5 Comments

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Paul George made a winning return to Indiana, hitting the clinching free throws with 10.7 seconds left in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 100-95 victory over the Pacers on Wednesday night.

Steven Adams had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Russell Westbrook finished with 10 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists in his ninth triple-double this season. The Thunder have won two straight on the road.

Victor Oladipo led the Pacers with 19 points and Bojan Bogdanovic scored 15. Indiana had a chance to tie the score after getting the ball back with 15.2 seconds left, but George got a steal then hit a couple free throws.

The Pacers’ winning streak ended at four.

But the highly anticipated matchup between George and Oladipo, the key components in last summer’s blockbuster trade, didn’t go as expected.

George was booed loudly during introductions and every time he touched the ball. Fans only cheered for George when he was called for a foul or made a mistake and it seemed to take a toll on the four-time All-Star. He finished 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting, had two rebounds and four turnovers.

Oladipo, the reigning Eastern Conference player of the week, didn’t have a typical night either. He was 9 of 26 with five rebounds and six assists.

The result: Both teams struggled.

Indiana led 27-22 after one but gave the lead right back by allowing Oklahoma City to start the second quarter on a 9-0 spurt.

After the Pacers answered with a 9-0 run, the Thunder closed the half on a 9-3 spurt to make it 51-46.

The trend continued in the second half.

Indiana charged back to take a 63-59 lead before the Thunder used an 11-2 run to pull out to a 73-69 lead going into the fourth.

Oklahoma City extended the lead to 92-81 with 5:16 to go but only scored six points the rest of the way. That was just enough to hold on.

TIP-INS

Thunder: Oklahoma City is 4-10 on the road. … Oklahoma City got its first series split with the Pacers since 2012-13. … Oklahoma City had 17 offensive rebounds and was 13 of 29 on 3-pointers.

Pacers: Thaddeus Young had 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals. … Made 11 3s but fell to 14-3 when making 10 or more 3-pointers in a game this season. … Center Myles Turner had three blocks, his 12th game this season with three or more. … Former Colts coach Tony Dungy attended the game. He’s in town for Thursday night’s NFL game between the Colts and Broncos.

ALL-STAR DAY

The Pacers got a win before they even took the floor.

A little less than three hours before tip, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Indiana would host the 2021 All-Star Game. It will be the first time the Pacers have hosted the marquee event since 1985.

The move comes seven months after Larry Bird hand-delivered the formal proposal at the league’s New York headquarters in an IndyCar.

UP NEXT

Thunder: Faces Philadelphia on Friday, trying to improve to 17-1 in the series since moving to Oklahoma City.

Pacers: Host Detroit on Friday, seeking a seventh straight home win in the series.

 

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

Getty Images
7 Comments

During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

1 Comment

Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.