After Game 6′s dramatic ending, which culminated in a Miami Heat 103-100 overtime victory, there is one thing that is for certain entering Game 7—there is no reason the Heat should not win tonight.
Let’s get the basics out of the way—the Heat are playing at home. The last team to win a Game 7 in the NBA Finals on the road happened more than 30 years ago.
The most glaring reason? The way that the Spurs lost Game 6.
San Antonio had the game in the bag. They had the game clinched. They had the championship all but locked them. And they choked it away.
In non-Spurs fashion, in non-Gregg Popovich fashion, the Spurs choked away the championship.
Now, if this series is any indication, it would seem to indicate the Spurs would bounce back just fine in Game 7. In fact, if this series is any sort of indication, it would indicate that the Spurs would actually win Game 7, based upon the back-and-forth exchanges of victories throughout this seven-game series.
But there hasn’t been a loss in this series like there was in Game 6. Not even close. Every victory in this series has been defined by a pivotal scoring run by the winning team late in the third quarter, or during the fourth quarter. This has led to the final scores looking like blowouts.
Game 6 was a tough loss. It wasn’t just a tough loss, it was a series-changing loss that has completely shifted the momentum from the Spurs’ side in favor of the Heat.
It wasn’t just that the Spurs blew a 13-point lead entering the fourth quarter. It was that they blew the game with 30 seconds remaining and a five point lead.
Missed free throws by Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobli gave the Heat an opportunity to come back to tie this game at the end of regulation, and that they did.
Now, the pressure is on the Spurs to win—not the Heat.
Yes, if Miami loses Game 7, the talk will once again be about LeBron James’ legacy, and how he stacks up to all-time greats with his third Finals loss in four tries.
But if the Spurs lose?
Game 6 will forever be remembered as one of the all-time choke jobs in sports history.