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

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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.

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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.

Adam Silver: ‘Sounds like’ NBA All-Star draft will be televised next year

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the point of the All-Star draft wasn’t to create a new TV event, but a better All-Star game. He even pointed out Stephen Curry favored not televising the draft this year.

But All-Star after All-Star – from captain LeBron James to last pick LaMarcus Aldridge – expressed a comfort with the selections being known. Good thing, because most of the draft order leaked, anyway.

So, will the draft be televised next year?

Silver, in an interview with Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

I was misinterpreted the other day, because people thought I was diming Steph by saying he didn’t want to televise it. I have no idea whether he wanted to televise it. What he said after the decision came not to televise it, he said let’s give it a chance to see if it works, and then if it works, then we’ll televise it. So, I said I agree with him. But I don’t know whether he was for or against it.

By the way, I’ll take as much responsibility. When we sat with the union and we came up with this format, we all agreed, let’s not turn something that’s 100 percent positive into a potential negative to any player. But then maybe we were overly conservative, because then we came out of there, and the players were, “We can take it. We’re All-Stars. Let’s have a draft.” So it sounds like we’re going to have a televised draft next year. But I’ve got to sit with LeBron and all the guys in the union and figure it out.

Overly cautious is right. This year was a missed opportunity. But the more important thing is getting next year right.

It sounds as if the NBA will.

Twitter reaction All-Star pre-game, Fergie’s national anthem vicious, priceless

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LOS ANGLES — In an intensely polarized nation, few things unite Americans anymore. Sunday night the NBA and its All-Star Game broadcast gave us one of those unifying forces — a pre-game run-up so bad it was universally panned.

The NBA is lucky the new format seemed to work and we had a dramatic, actual basketball game to talk about, helping us move on a pre-game show that, to put it kindly, simply did not work.

It started with a roughly 20-minute singing and dancing skit that was supposed to be about comedian Kevin Hart’s journey to being an NBA player (I think that’s what it was, anyway, it made as much sense as the movie “Wild, Wild West”). It felt forced, was not funny, and just dragged on and on. Even a Kardashian thought this was terrible television.

And that wasn’t even the worst part of the pregame, nor the part that sparked the most outrage online.

Fergie’s sexy, slow, bluesy rendition of the national anthem became the lightning rod.

Charles Barkley joked on TNT that he “needed a cigarette” after the Black Eye’d Peas’ singer’s performance. Shaquille O’Neal jumped in quickly to defend her (“Fergie, I love you. It was different. It was sexy. I liked it.”) as the broadcast quickly pivoted away from that topic.

Twitter was not so kind, and Draymond Green‘s face caught by camera’s during the anthem became a quick meme.

Twitter had a field day with Fergie’s rendition.

Now, let us never discuss this All-Star opening ever again. Please.

Three things to know from All-Star Weekend: New format worked, for now

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LOS ANGELES — Our regular feature “Three Things to Know” usually wraps up and breaks down the news of the day in the NBA, but in this case we are stepping back to take in all of All-Star Weekend. Three Things will then be off this week until Friday (there are no games until Thursday night as the league takes a little break).

1) The new “captains pick teams” format may have worked as intended. But will it last? This much we can agree on: This was the best played, most dramatic All-Star Game we have seen in a while. There was some actual defense played, guys tried and played with a little pride, they played hard, we had a close and intense ending, and (unlike last season) the night featured something that resembled basketball. There was even a game-tying and game-winning shot.

The new format — where captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry (the highest vote-getters from fans) picked the teams playground-style — got the credit for the change.

“The great thing about our commissioner, he’s absolutely okay with trying something new, to change the format, and it definitely worked out for everybody,” said LeBron, who scored 29 points including the go-ahead bucket late, and was named MVP. “It worked out not only for the players, not only for the league but for our fans, for everybody. It was a great weekend, and we capped it off the right way.”

Was it really the format that led to the change? Tune in next year, and frankly the next few years, to find out.

First off, the players were genuinely embarrassed by the lack of defense and level of play in last year’s game, they talked about it afterwards in New Orleans and it was players’ union president Chris Paul who first pushed for the format change as a way to inject some energy into the game. To a man, the players and coaches talked about “changing the narrative” around the game.

The reality is the game was close, and often in the past when the All-Star Game was close late we got real energy and something resembling defense the final six minutes or so of the game. This year’s game was close, so the genuine energy late was not wildly out of character.

If the league had stuck with East vs. West (but upped the payout to winners and kept the new charity component) would the players have come out and played with this same energy and defense from the start to change the narrative anyway? My sense is probably, again they didn’t want to embarrass themselves again. We’ll never know for sure, but the format got credit for bringing a new energy to the game that may have been coming anyway.

The NBA is going to keep this format — although expect the player draft to be televised next time around — so we will see in Charlotte next February and in Chicago in 2020 if the change was about the format or just a conscious effort by the players to make the product better.

Either way, let’s hope it continues.

2) Donovan Mitchell, welcome to the spotlight. Utah’s rookie Donovan Mitchell is averaging 19.6 points and 4.5 assists a game (and much more than that the past couple of months), has become the Jazz’s go-to scorer and shot creator late in games, and for my money is the current frontrunner for Rookie of the Year (with Ben Simmons a close second). Yet for casual fans Mitchell was flying under the radar — people don’t really tune in to see the Jazz play (they don’t get on national television much) and in a deep rookie class with big names the No. 13 pick out of Louisville was not one of the pre-draft hype guys.

People know who he is now — he took over the spotlight in Los Angeles for a while. He was featured Friday’s Rising Stars challenge, then on Saturday went out and won the Dunk Contest.

“I’ve always been a player who’s not really been talked about a lot,” Mitchell told NBC Sports heading into the weekend. “Never really hyped coming out of high school — I was ranked top 50, but I wasn’t a name that was all over Ball is Life and all those platforms. Then coming into college I wasn’t a McDonald’s All-American, I wasn’t one of those guys averaging 30.

“Playing under (Rick) Pitino (in college), it’s grit and grind basketball, and that’s how I was perceived. That just adds to the chip I have on my shoulder.”

Mitchell had plenty of style and flash in Los Angeles. First, he brought out a second backboard, and did a self-alley-oop off one to the other.

Then he sealed his Dunk Contest win with a tribute to Vince Carter and one of his legendary dunks.

No player did more for his national profile over the three-days in Los Angeles than Donovan Mitchell.

3) Dunk of the weekend? Give that one to Larry Nance Jr. The newly-minted Cleveland Cavalier Larry Nance Jr. (he was traded from the Lakers at the deadline just more than a week before) may have come in second in the Dunk Contest to Mitchell, but he had the best dunk of the weekend. No doubt.

It was the double self-alley-oop off the backboard.

That was the dunk we’ll be talking about out of the weekend.

‘Tired’ Jimmy Butler sits out All-Star Game at his own request

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LOS ANGELES — Jimmy Butler leads the NBA in minutes played per game at 37.3. He’s ninth in the league in total minutes played and played 77:35 minutes in the two games leading up to All-Star Weekend.

Butler was tired and asked Mike D’Antoni to give him some rest, according to both parties (despite speculation this was really a win for the Los Angeles nightlife). Butler did not play in Sunday’s All-Star Game.

“Rest,” Butler said when asked why he didn’t play. “I have to rest. I have to rest my body up. This Timberwolves season is very, very important to me. I’ve got to make sure I’m ready to roll when I get back there.”

“He was tired and he just felt like his legs weren’t there,” Team Stephen head coach Mike D’Antoni. “He didn’t practice yesterday or play today. You have to respect that. He plays hard. Sometimes your body just needs a rest.”

Butler is having the kind of season that has him in the discussion for a place on the MVP ballot. He’s averaging 22.4 points per game with a very efficient true shooting percentage of 59.3, plus he’s playing strong defense. He and Karl-Anthony Towns have led the Timberwolves to a 36-25 record that has them as the current four seed in the West, poised to break an 11-year playoff drought for the franchise.