Miami forces Game 7 with OT victory
Ray Allen's three-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter capped a huge Miami rally plus essentially took the championship trophy out of San Antonio's hands, and the Heat found a way in overtime to hold off the Spurs for a 103-100 win.
The Associated Press
MIAMI — For years, Ray Allen’s routine has not changed. Show up for work hours earlier than just about everyone else, go onto the court and take hundreds of jump shots.
It paid off for him on Tuesday.
And he’ll be back out there on Thursday — since the Miami Heat season still has one game remaining.
Allen’s three-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter capped a huge Miami rally plus essentially took the championship trophy out of San Antonio’s hands, and the Heat found a way in overtime to hold off the Spurs for a 103-100 win.
“Ray did what he’s done for so many years,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team trailed by 13 in the second half and was down by 10 entering the final quarter. “And we’ve seen it on the other side so many times.”
A pair of free throws by Allen with 1.9 seconds left in overtime sealed it, and on the last play of the game, Danny Green — who took Allen’s three-point Finals record earlier in this series — had no chance at getting a potentially tying shot anywhere near the rim, the play snuffed out by Miami’s Chris Bosh.
So Allen, the one-time Sonic, lost his record in these NBA Finals.
He still has a chance at what he wants most: A second championship. It’s why he came to Miami.
“There’s a lot of shots that I’ve made in my career,” Allen said. “But this will go, you know, high up in the ranks, because of the situation.”
And without him, Game 7 probably wouldn’t be happening for Miami.
“This is the reason why we wanted him, in games like this,” Miami’s LeBron James said.
The Spurs were up 95-92, and workers were surrounding the perimeter of the court with yellow rope in anticipation of the trophy-awarding celebration. Heat players, like Bosh and James, said they noticed and were upset by that move, and others around the team called it “disrespectful.” When time expired, those workers were to rise and basically use the rope to keep fans and others from getting on the floor for the Spurs’ party.
One of the subtle moves that set up Allen’s game-winner came with 19.4 seconds left, after Kawhi Leonard missed a free throw and Spoelstra inserted Bosh back into the game in place of Mike Miller. Leonard made the second to push the Spurs’ lead to three, and James took a three-pointer that would have tied it for Miami.
James, who had 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, missed and Bosh got the rebound. Allen took several steps backward, both getting ready to receive the pass and getting his feet ready for the shot that only would potentially decide Miami’s season. He caught the ball, as James stood alone at the top of the key, both arms raised, wanting the shot.
“If it’s not me, I have no problem with Ray taking that shot, man,” James said. “He’s got ice water in his veins. Like I’ve said before, Ray can be 0 for 99 in a game. And if he gets an open look late in a game, it’s going down.”
Sure enough, the shot went down. Allen never thought about passing the ball — shaking his head no, somewhat comically, when asked if shipping the ball to James was an option. He shot, waited and then saw the ball drop with a swish.
“When I parted ways with Boston, they went their direction and obviously I went mine,” Allen said. “The minute I got here, this team made me feel welcome. I didn’t win it last year with this team, but they made me feel a part of it. The redemption has been winning 66 games this year and having the best record in the NBA, making it to the playoffs and getting to this point and being with a great group of guys.”
After Allen’s shot, the rope was quickly re-collected, and won’t be back until Thursday night.
How will the Spurs collect themselves?
“I have no clue how we’re going to get re-energized,” the Spurs’ Manu Ginobili said. “I’m devastated. But we have to. There’s no Game 8.”
Tim Duncan scored 30, 25 in the first half, and had 17 rebounds for the Spurs.
Given a choice, there’s no question what Allen would want more: His record back, or a second ring.
His thoughts, down the stretch: “Until the clock runs out,” Allen said, “we still have an opportunity to win this game.”
There have only been five Game 7s in the finals since 1978, with the home team winning all those contests. The last road team to win a Game 7 for the title was the Washington Bullets over Seattle in 1978.
• Monta Ellis has informed the Milwaukee Bucks he won’t exercise his $11 million option for the upcoming season, making him an unrestricted free agent July 1. The move wasn’t a total surprise, coming after Ellis rejected a two-year contract extension last fall.
• The NBA Finals’ television viewership for Game 5 was down 12 percent from last year. The Spurs’ 114-104 victory over Miami on Sunday on ABC was watched by an average of almost 16.3 million. That’s down from nearly 18.5 million for the Heat-Thunder series in 2012.