Heat rally to take NBA Finals to decider

06:51, Jun 19 2013
NBA Finals 2013: Spurs vs Heat
San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker, right, and Danny Green celebrate after defeating the Miami Heat to win Game One of the NBA Finals.
NBA Finals 2013: Spurs vs Heat
LeBron James of the Miami Heat drives past the Spurs defence.
NBA Finals 2013: Spurs vs Heat
San Antonio Spurs' Danny Green celebrates a three point basket against the Miami Heat.
NBA Finals 2013: Spurs vs Heat
The Miami Heat cheerleaders do their best to get the home support revved up for Game One of the NBA Finals.
NBA Finals 2013: Spurs vs Heat
Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade pushes his way towards the net.
LeBron James and Tiago Splitter
Miami's LeBron James denies San Antonio's Tiago Splitter at the rim in Game 2.
LeBron James
LeBron James throws down a vicious fourth-quarter dunk in the Game 2 rout.
LeBron James and Mike Miller
Mike Miller and LeBron James celebrate after a key play.
Manu Ginobili and Chris Andersen
San Antonio's Manu Ginobili is fouled by Chris 'Birdman' Andersen.
Spurs bench
The long faces of the Spurs' big-three (from left) Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili in the fourth quarter.
NBA Finals 2013 gallery
San Antonio Spurs' Patty Mills celebrates during his team's win in Game 3.
NBA Finals 2013 gallery
Miami Heat's (left) LeBron James, Chris Andersen, and Norris Cole feel the pain of defeat in Game 3.
NBA Finals 2013 gallery
San Antonio Spurs Kawhi Leonard puts in a dunk during Game 3.
NBA Finals 2013 gallery
Miami Heat's Chris Bosh (left) goes to the basket against San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard during Game 3.
Danny Green and Gary Neal
Danny Green and Gary Neal, who combined for 13 of the San Antonio Spurs' NBA Finals record 16 three-pointers in Game 3.
NBA Finals Series
Miami Heat's LeBron James hugs teammate Dwyane Wade after the Heat defeat the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4.
NBA Finals series
San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker, left, and Tim Duncan look on during their team's defeat to the Miami Heat in Game 4.
NBA Finals series
Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade dunks against the San Antonio Spurs during Game 4.
Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade gets off a runner in the lane over Danny Green.
Chris Bosh
Miami's Chris Bosh muscles up a shot under defensive pressure from Tim Duncan.
NBA Finals Game 5
Chris Bosh of the Heat drives on the Spurs' Tim Duncan.
NBA Finals Game 5
Manu Ginobli of the Spurs goes for a lay-up on his way to 24 points.
NBA Finals Game 5
Tim Duncan goes high over Chris Bosh in Game 5.
NBA Finals Game 5
Danny Green reacts after nailing a three-pointer.
NBA Finals Game 5
LeBron James can't get through the Spurs defence as he attempts a lay-up in the Heat's Game 5 loss.
NBA Finals Game 5
High fives all round as the Spurs take Game 5 over the Heat and a 3-2 lead.
NBA Finals, Game 6
LeBron James of the Heat attempts a clock on the spurs' Tim Duncan.
NBA Finals, Game 6
LeBron James looks to make a move on defender Tony Parker.
NBA Finals, Game 6
Tony Parker goes for the lay up as the Heat's Chris 'Birdman' Andersen attempts the block.
NBA Finals, Game 6
A pumped up Tim Duncan reacts during Game 6.
NBA Finals, Game 6
Dwyane Wade appeals for a foul.
NBA Finals, Game 6
The Heat's Chris Bosh reacts to a call in the first half of Game 6.
NBA Finals, Game 6
Tim Duncan goes for a block on a Dwyane Wade slam.
NBA Finals 2013 - Spurs vs Heat
San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard drives to the net on Miami Heat's Mario Chalmers during the first quarter of Game 7.
NBA Finals 2013 - Spurs vs Heat
Miami Heat's Ray Allen is double teamed by San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard, left, and Boris Diaw during Game 7.
NBA Finals 2013 - Spurs vs Heat
The pre-game show before the Miami Heat play the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals series.
NBA Finals 2013 - Spurs vs Heat
Miami Heat's LeBron James gestures to a teammate during Game 7.
2013 NBA Finals - Spurs vs Heat
San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan, left, tangles with Miami Heat's Shane Battier.
2013 NBA Finals - Spurs vs Heat
Shane Battier of the Miami Heat reacts after making a three-pointer in the fourth quarter.
2013 NBA Finals - Heat vs Spurs
From left: Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Norris Cole of the Miami Heat celebrate their title win.

The Miami Heat beat the San Antonio Spurs 103-100 after overtime to square the series at 3-3 and force the NBA Finals to a decisive Game 7.

Miami's LeBron James shrugged off a poor start to get 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds while Ray Allen hit a 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds to play to force overtime.

James scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to rally the Heat from a 10-point deficit. He hit a 3 with 20 seconds to go and Allen drilled another to tie it.

James' layup with 1:43 to play in overtime gave the Heat a 101-100 lead, and Allen added two free throws to force Game 7, which is on Friday (NZT) in Miami.

"If we were going to go down tonight, we're going to go down with me leaving every little bit of energy that I had on the floor," James said.

The Spurs had one final chance when they were down 103-100, but Chris Bosh blocked Danny Green's 3-point attempt from the corner as time expired.

Tim Duncan scored 30 points for the Spurs, his most in an NBA Finals game since Game 1 in 2003, but was shut out after the third quarter. He added 17 rebounds.

The decider will be the first Game 7 to be played in an NBA Finals since the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics in 2010.

"They're the best two words in sports: Game 7," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

The Spurs looked headed to a fifth title in five chances when they built a 13-point lead with under 4 minutes left in the third quarter, then again when they recovered from blowing that lead to take a five-point edge late in regulation.

Miami, which hasn't lost consecutive games since January 8 and 10, is trying to become the fourth team to win the final two games at home since the NBA went to the 2-3-2 format for the finals in 1985.

James came in averaging 31.5 points in elimination games, highest in NBA history, according to a stat provided through the NBA by the Elias Sports Bureau.

He was well off that form early, sinking just 3 of 12 shots over the first three quarters. With the Heat trailing by 10, frustration was apparent among the players and panic was setting in among the fans.

However he finished 11 of 26, even making a steal after his basket had given Miami a lead in OT.

This wasn't quite the 45-point performance in Game 6 of last year's Eastern Conference finals in Boston, but given the higher stakes may go down as more important - if the Heat follow it with another victory Thursday.

The Heat were in the same place as they were in 2011 at the end of their Big Three's first season together, coming home from Dallas facing a 3-2 deficit in the finals and on that occasion they couldn't rally.

This time they said they welcomed the challenge and the chance to show they how much mentally tougher they were than the team the Mavericks easily handled in Game 6 that year.

Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs. Tony Parker had 19 points and eight assists, but shot just 6 of 23 from the field.

When the ball came to Green at 3-point range for the final shot, Miami fans had their hearts in their mouths - Green had shot 25 of 38 (65.8 per cent) from beyond the arc over the first five games of the series.

Bosh had vowed Green would not be given as much as space as he had in the previous five games and proved true to his word by producing the game-saving block, leaving Green with a 1-from-5 performance on 3-pointers.

The Heat, the NBA's 66-win powerhouse during the regular season, will be playing a seventh game for the second straight round, having needed to go the distance to beat the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals.

The Heat are 13-0 after losses over the last five months, though this was nothing like the previous 12 that had come by an average of nearly 20 points. Nor was it like the previous four games of this series, which had all been blowouts after the Spurs pulled out a four-point victory in Game 1.

San Antonio had an 11-0 run in the first half, then a 13-3 burst in the third quarter for a 71-58 lead, and a final flurry late in regulation that seemed to have them ready to walk off with another title.

Parker's 3-pointer over James tied it at 89 with 1:27 left. He then came up with a steal, spinning into the lane for a 91-89 lead with 58 seconds to go. Miami coughed it up again and Manu Ginobili made two free throws, and he made another after a third straight Miami turnover to put the Spurs ahead 94-89.

James nailed a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left, and the Heat had one more chance after Leonard made just one to give the Spurs a 95-92 edge. James missed but Bosh got the rebound out to Allen, the league's career leader in 3-pointers, who made another one from the corner to even it up.

The Spurs went ahead by three again in overtime, but James found a cutting Allen for a basket, then scored himself to put the Heat on top. They clinched it when Bosh blocked San Antonio's final two shot attempts.

Bosh finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Advertisement

AP