San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat: Game 6 Postgame Grades and Analysis
Once LeBron's headband came off, his play elevated to an entirely different, epic level, on his way to a triple-double consisting of 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
Without Ray Allen's game-tying three ball with under six seconds left in the game, none of LeBron's production would've mattered. But luckily for the Heat, that wasn't the case.
Most importantly though, LeBron set the tone defensively in the fourth quarter, helping his Miami Heat hold the Spurs to just 20 fourth-quarter points.
The Spurs just couldn't get the production they needed down the stretch, with Tim Duncan scoring just five of his 30 points in the second half.
Tony Parker, with 19 points and eight assists, had an average game, but his horribly inefficient shooting—6-of-23 from the field—held him and the Spurs back.
If the Spurs fail to win Game 7, they will see Game 6 as one of the biggest missed opportunities in franchise history.
If the Heat go on to win Game 7 and the NBA title, it will go down as one of the most memorable in franchise history and one of the defining moments of LeBron's career.
We're all set for a Game 7 on Thursday, June 20, and it's going to be nothing short of incredible.
Tony Parker, PG Spurs
There were some amazing moments for Tony Parker throughout Game 7.
First, his three-point dagger over LeBron James to tie the game up at 89 points apiece. Then there was the two-point floater he hit to give the Spurs a two-point lead with 58 seconds left.
Those moments were followed by forgettable ones though, like his inability to hit a game-winner at the end of regulation and his inability to will the Spurs to an NBA title in overtime, thanks to a solid block by Chris Bosh near the end of the game.
All in all, Parker had a solid yet inefficient game, with 19 points on 6-of-23 shooting from the field.
The Spurs need Parker to be a lot more efficient in Game 7 if they are going to beat a red-hot Heat team looking to repeat.
Overall Grade: B-
Mario Chalmers, PG Heat
No matter how you look at it, Mario Chalmers had the best game of his entire 2012-13 season, and it couldn't have come at a better time.
Chalmers was uncharacteristically efficient, shooting 7-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, on his way to an impressive 20 points.
With LeBron driving into the paint, Chalmers was a solid option on the perimeter, and that's something the Heat lacked throughout the first six games of the series.
If Chalmers plays like this in Game 7, the Heat have a very solid chance of winning back-to-back NBA titles. Who would've thought that Mario Chalmers would be a difference maker in a must-win game of the NBA Finals?
Overall Grade: A
Danny Green, SG Spurs
The Heat promised to step up their defensive pressure on Danny Green, and they followed through on that promise.
Whether Chris Bosh's last-second block on Green was a foul or not, there's no questioning the fact that Green's inability to score from the perimeter hurt the Spurs down the stretch.
Green ended the game with just three points on 1-of-5 shooting from deep, and he also accounted for two turnovers and failed to dish out a single assist.
It's clear the Spurs can't win this series if they aren't going to get production from guys like Green from beyond the arc.
Overall Grade: D
Dwyane Wade, SG Heat
Dwyane Wade's 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and two blocks pale in comparison to LeBron James' dominance, but that doesn't mean Wade had a bad game.
It was certainly an uncharacteristic performance, shooting just 6-of-15 from the field, but he did what's best for the team by giving the ball to LeBron in the clutch instead of continuing to put up shots.
Defensively speaking, Wade did a much better job staying locked in on the Spurs' perimeter shooters, and that was a difference-maker for the Heat.
It has to be hard deferring to teammates in the clutch when you're used to being "the guy," but Wade's ability to do just that and be opportunistic with how he plays is a very valuable asset for the Heat.
Overall Grade: B
Manu Ginobili, SG/SF Spurs
With a minus-21, Manu Ginobili couldn't have been much worse for the Spurs.
It was hard for the Spurs to swallow after such a special game in Game 5, with his nine points being completely overshadowed by the eight turnovers he committed.
Those eight turnovers hurt the Spurs at pivotal points in the game, and his inability to knock down free throws down the stretch gave the Heat the opportunity they needed to get back into the game.
Hopefully Ginobili will be able to put this game behind him and be the perimeter player the Spurs need him to be.
Overall Grade: D
Mike Miller, SG/SF Heat
One of the lasting moments of this NBA Finals will be the shot of Mike Miller draining a pivotal three-pointer, rocking a tall white sock instead of a shoe.
Miller hit big shots at the right time for the Heat, ending the game with eight points on a perfect 2-of-2 shooting from the field.
He wasn't just a sharpshooter all game, though. Miller also grabbed seven rebounds, dished out two assists and brought serious energy and hustle to the defensive side of the ball for Miami.
You knew we were in for a hard-nosed game when Miller got an inadvertent forearm to the face from Kawhi Leonard and he didn't skip a beat.
Miller is one of those guys who can impact a game by simply by being on the floor and hustling each and every second, and he did just that in Game 7.
Overall Grade: B
Kawhi Leonard, SF/PF Spurs
Aside from the missed free throw that let the Heat stay in the game and ultimately led to Ray Allen's game-tying three ball, Kawhi Leonard had a great game.
Leonard had 22 points, 11 rebounds and three steals, and he shot an impressive 9-of-14 from the field.
Unfortunately, all that Spurs fans will remember from Game 6 is his 3-of-4 shooting from the line, and more importantly the shot that kept him from being 4-of-4 from the line.
Leonard also saw a version of LeBron that he hadn't seen before in the fourth quarter, and his defensive intensity on him took a hit.
All in all, Leonard had a solid game that was overshadowed by a shot he'll remember for the rest of his career, that is, if the Spurs don't win the series.
Overall Grade: B+
LeBron James, SF/PF Heat
It's official. LeBron James is still capable of putting an entire team on his back and willing it to victory.
After a pedestrian three quarters, LeBron, sans headband, went off in the fourth scoring 16 of his 32 points in the final quarter and overtime.
There's no question LeBron rose to the occasion, accounting for a triple-double of 32 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and three steals.
LeBron shot just 11-of-26 from the field and 1-of-5 from beyond the arc, but the one three-pointer he made was the biggest of the season, giving the Heat the chance they needed.
The most impressive moment of the game for LeBron though came when he swatted Tim Duncan's layup attempt that would've given the Spurs a four-point lead as the Heat were surging back into the game.
For Heat fans, Game 6 is a game they will forever remember for all the right reasons. For Spurs fans, it's one that will haunt them if San Antonio is unable to win Game 7.
It will be interesting to see if LeBron brings the intensity he brought in the fourth quarter to to all four quarters of Game 7.
More interesting, though, will be whether he starts Game 7 off with a headband or not.
Overall Grade: A+
Tim Duncan, C Spurs
It was Tim Duncan's world in the first half, as he scored 25 points on a ridiculous 11-of-13 shooting from the field. Then the second half and LeBron's dominance happened.
Duncan ended the game with 30 points on 13-of-21 shooting from the field, and he grabbed an impressive 17 rebounds.
The one rebound he didn't grab—because he was on the bench, per request of Gregg Popovich—during the Heat's final possession was the one that the Spurs needed him to get.
It certainly wasn't his fault, but it has to be something he'll second-guess for at least a little bit of time.
Duncan's defensive presence was strong in the first half, but it tapered off in the second, which can be tallied up to his age or the Heat's enhanced intensity into the paint.
Overall Grade: A-
Chris Bosh, C Heat
Chris Bosh couldn't have picked a better time to get a double-double and pick up two blocked shots.
He grabbed the offensive rebound that led to Ray Allen's game-tying three ball, and he blocked Danny Green's final attempt at sending the game into a second overtime.
Where he didn't impress with huge numbers, Bosh made up for it with intensity and passion down the stretch.
It's like Bosh hit a switch in the final five minutes of the game and decided to be the physical and commanding player we all know he can be.
With 10 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocked shots, Bosh had his most impactful game of the series, and it couldn't have come at a better time.
Overall Grade: B+
Boris Diaw, C Spurs
There were moments when Boris Diaw impressed, with defensive pressure on LeBron James and an opportunistic approach to his offensive game.
But that was overshadowed by his inability to stop LeBron for the entire time he was on the floor.
Diaw ended with seven points on 2-of-6 shooting from the field, and he grabbed four rebounds, but that was overshadowed by the way LeBron dominated him in the fourth quarter.
Overall Grade: C
Ray Allen, SG Heat
And that my friends is why the Miami Heat signed Ray Allen this offseason.
With a few seconds left in regulation, the ball bounced out to the corner and Allen did what he does best—he knocked down an absolute dagger that gave the Heat life and sent the game into overtime.
Allen ended the night with just nine points in 41 minutes of action, but three of those points will be remembered forever if the Heat go on to win the NBA title on June 20.
It's clear that Allen still has ice in his veins, and thanks to that, the Heat's shot at back-to-back NBA championships isn't over yet.
Overall Grade: B+
San Antonio Spurs Bench
The San Antonio Spurs didn't get the bench production from Gary Neal that they're used to, as he accounted for just five points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field.
They also didn't get the defensive production they needed from Tiago Splitter, though he did score five points on 2-of-2 shooting in just eight minutes of action.
In the fourth quarter, with Tim Duncan resting to start it off, Splitter came onto the floor, and the Heat, led by LeBron James, got back into the game. It wasn't Splitter's fault alone, but his defensive play did play a big role in the Heat's fourth-quarter resurgence.
The Spurs certainly need more production from their bench if they are going to beat this red-hot Heat team on June 20.
Overall Grade: C
Miami Heat Bench
Everyone coming off the bench for the Heat brought something different to the floor.
Ray Allen was inefficient, but he hit the biggest shot of his 2012-13 campaign, sending the game into overtime.
Shane Battier, scored as many points as Allen, with nine, but he did so on a much more efficient 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
Chris Andersen finally found his way back into the lineup and fouled like a mad man, but he also brought intensity and physicality in the paint at just the right time.
It was a well-balanced and well-rounded bench effort for the Heat's second unit, and its play is a major reason why this series is headed to a Game 7.
Overall Grade: B+
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