The Miami Heat captured their third NBA Championship with a 95-88 Game 7 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. The uneven, seesaw series ended when the Spurs center Tim Duncan missed an easy hook shot and follow-up tip with 48 seconds remaining and his team trailing 90-88. The play would have tied the game. A visibly upset Duncan slapped the court in frustration after missing a shot that he has made hundreds of times over his surefire Hall of Fame career. “That's out of me just missing a bunny,” said Duncan. In the post-game interview, a visibly dejected Duncan described the moment saying, "Missing a layup to tie the game. Game 7 is always going to haunt me."
The play was one of the most memorable in a seven-game series that had plenty. The Spurs-Heat series had great plays, great moments, and great stories. Here is a list of the five things to remember about the 2013 NBA Finals.
1. The “Shot”
With seconds remaining in Game 1, Tony Parker brought out his Harlem Globetrotters routine and hit a circus shot. Guarded by Lebron James, Parker dribbled feverishly, maneuvering to find an open shot. Losing his balance, Parker fell to the ground, but maintained his dribble and composure and hit a bank shot over James to secure San Antonio’s Game 1 victory. James said, “Tony did everything wrong and did everything right on that possession.” “It’s money time,” exclaimed Parker.
2. The “Block”
In Game 2 in the midst of a 33-5 run, Lebron James demonstrated why he is one of the best to ever play the game. Six-foot-eleven-inch Spurs center Tiago Splitter had what appeared to be an open lane and was preparing to complete a slam dunk when James appeared from under the rim, met the ball at its apex, and soundly rejected the dunk. James said, “Basically, I told myself, you’ll end up on SportsCenter one way or another, either getting dunked on going to get a block. Luckily I was on the good side of the Top 10.”
3. The “Three-Point Artist”
In Game 5, role-player Danny Green broke Ray Allen’s NBA Finals record of 22 three-point shots made in a series. Green, who made 25 of 38 three-point shots through Game 5 said, “I'm not worried about catching any records. I'm worried about helping my team and playing well and helping us win a game. The numbers are things I don't like to reflect on or look back on. I don't want to jinx it, but at this point numbers really don't matter.” How right he was, because in Games 6 and 7 Green shot a combined 2-19, including only 2-11 from the three-point line. Green was held to eight points total in the final two games after scoring 90 points, shooting 70% from the three-point line, and averaging 18 points a game in the first five.
4. The “Choke/Comeback/Headband” Game
Game 6 was as exciting a game as there has ever been in sports history. The Spurs were 28 seconds away from winning a championship, leading 93-89 with Manu Ginobli on the foul line shooting two free throws. They seemed to be on their way to winning their fifth NBA championship when everything fell apart. Miami fans began exiting the stadium and the NBA staffers had brought the championship trophy out on the floor. But then something happened. Ginobli missed one of two free throws, and Lebron James made a 25-foot three-point jump shot to make the score 94-92. The Spurs' Kawhi Leonard missed one of two free throws and then Ray Allen hit a three-pointer with five seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. Fans scrambled to try to re-enter the stadium but were refused re-entry. In the furious comeback James lost his trademark headband, played the rest of the game without it, and started a Twiiter storm. It was the pageantry of sports on full display in a storybook ending that you wouldn’t believe if it hadn’t really happened.
5. The “Suspense”
The 2013 NBA Finals came down to a memorable Game 7. It had seven sure-fire Hall of Famers on the court at the same time (James, Wade, Chris Bosh, and Allen for the Heat, and Duncan, Parker, and Ginobli for the Spurs.) It was a rematch of two of the greatest players in history (James and Duncan), and it came down to the wire with James outperforming Duncan in the waning seconds. Duncan finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds while James had 37 and 12 respectively. However at the end of the game it was Duncan missing a layup while Lebron shot 5-10 from the three-point line that made the difference. ABC announced that Game 7 drew the second-most viewers for the NBA Finals since it took over the series in 2003. The league's best two teams played a game that came down to the wire. It was NBA basketball at its best and it was fantastic.