MIAMI — The Spurs held a five-point lead with a little more than 28 seconds remaining in Game 6, before the Heat mounted a furious comeback to send it into overtime and ultimately force a seventh game.
As things looked particularly dire, with San Antonio on a 10-2 run and seemingly on their way to the title, some fans in Miami decided they’d had enough, and prematurely headed for the exits.
Speaking to reporters before practicing at the American Airlines Arena on Wednesday, Chris Bosh had a message to those who weren’t willing to stick around and support their team until the final buzzer had sounded.
“For all those guys who left, don’t come back for Game 7,” he said.
Fans that did leave attempted to return once they learned of the comeback, but arena policy states that once you leave, you’re not allowed back. Bosh was asked if he felt this punishment served them right.
“You can’t get let back in after you leave,” Bosh said. “I know that. Hell, I’ve been to games. You can’t leave a game and then come back. It doesn’t make any sense; you left. It’s not punishment, that’s protocol.”
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra maintained his stance from late Tuesday, when I had asked him what the effects might have been seeing arena staffers line the court with a yellow rope in preparation for a potential trophy presentation to the Spurs. He was too focused on the game to realize that anyone had left.
“[I just heard] that walking here,” Spoelstra said Wednesday. “I didn’t have any idea about it. It’s one of those situations where I think every single one of us — somebody asked me last night about the yellow rope. I don’t think any of us saw any of that until afterwards. We were fully engaged in the moment.”
Bosh and LeBron James, however, told a different story.
Regardless of the reasons that those in attendance decided to bail, Bosh wasn’t in a forgiving mood a day later. And he would prefer that those supposed fans stay away for the final game of the season.
“You never give up,” Bosh said. “People gave up on us, and they can stay where they are and watch the game at home.”