The word resilience is at times the most overused, if not misused, word in sports. What happened on Tuesday night in South Beach between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs (Game 6) of the NBA Final should serve as a reminder of what the word really means.
Both teams faced defeat numerous times in the fourth quarter and both squads made the necessary plays to survive until overtime. Miami made the key defensive plays when it needed to edge the Spurs in overtime, 103-100. The resilience shown by the Spurs came late in the fourth.
Trailing 89-86 with 1:27 to go, Tony Parker hit a contested three, made a steal on the Heat’s ensuing possession and hit a running two in the lane to give the Spurs a 91-89 lead at the 58-second mark. That’s resilience.
Miami answered even later in the fourth as LeBron James and Ray Allen both hit 3-pointers in the final 20 seconds to force overtime. Then there was Chris Bosh, who had two blocks in the final 32 seconds of overtime. That is also resilience.
So what can the Spurs do to win their fifth title? This may sound crazy, but Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili (eight turnovers) need to realize they have teammates. Tim Duncan (30 points) played brilliantly through the first three quarters but got few quality touches late the fourth and overtime. Parker and Ginobili, although great playoff performers, forced drives and jump shots at times when a simple dump-off might have sufficed.
“It’s a tough moment,” said Ginobili. “We were a few seconds away from winning the championship. We let it go.”
Danny Green was all but locked down by the Heat, but the Spurs appeared to give up trying to get him open looks in the second half. It was an oversight that cost them dearly down the stretch. But all will be forgiven tonight if the Spurs can overcome what should be a fired up Heat team.
“It is what it is,” said Duncan. “It’s a one-game series.”
Do we need anything else?