Game 6’s result showed that the NBA Finals are completely unpredictable, and you can bet that several unlikely things are going to happen in Game 7.
The sixth game between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs had a little bit of everything in it, and even with time winding down, we still didn’t know what was going to happen.
Was Miami going to make a comeback? Could the Spurs prevent such a comeback? Who would be the hero?
Well, the Heat came back, the Spurs blew the lead and LeBron James and Ray Allen were Game 6’s heroes.
So, what’s going to happen when the Heat and Spurs take the floor one last time this year? Here are three predictions for Game 7 of the NBA Finals, looking into what has happened throughout the series and what isn’t likely to happen on Thursday, but will.
Danny Green Goes Cold…Again
Danny Green has been hitting three-pointers during the NBA Finals like it’s nobody’s business. Well, that was before he took the floor for Game 6 in Miami.
Through the first five games of the series, Green set an NBA Finals record with 25 three-pointers made. His shot chart was unreal, according to the official Twitter account of NBA Statistics:
After Green torched the Miami defense and helped give his team a 3-2 series lead, Chris Bosh told David Aldridge of TNT that Green “won’t be open tonight.” Bosh couldn’t keep his promise, though, as ESPN Stats & Info tweeted during the game that Green was still getting some open looks:
But while Green got at least a pair of open shots from downtown during Game 6, it was all for naught. He went cold from the floor and, more specifically, where he’d been so hot coming into the game; he made just 1-of-5 attempts from three-point territory and finished the matchup with just three points.
In order for the Heat to win the NBA Championship, they have to continue to make things difficult for Green. If he hits two three-pointers over a short span, he could get hot in an instant. Miami has seen Green play enough that it knows how to defend him. Chris Bosh did a great job down the stretch to keep Green in check.
In Game 7, the Spurs are likely to rely on Green contributing at least a few three-balls throughout the game. San Antonio wouldn’t have won three games this series if it weren’t for Green’s deep shooting. The Heat will put as much pressure as possible on Green, trying to make every shot an adventure.
It worked in Game 6 and it will work in Game 7.
LeBron Doesn’t Show Until the Fourth
LeBron James had one of the best games of his career during Game 6, but you wouldn’t have guessed that after watching the first three quarters. Through 36 minutes, James was 3-of-12 from the field and eight of his 14 points came from the free-throw line.
The Heat, however, needed more from James, as they sat 10 points back of the Spurs with just 12 minutes remaining in regulation. Then, LeBron went to work. He started playing with extreme intensity, leaving everything that he had on the floor. He put the Heat on his back in the fourth quarter.
LeBron played all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter, hitting 7-of-11 shots for 16 points. While James didn’t hit the game-tying shot to send the game into overtime, Ray Allen wouldn’t have even had that shot if James hadn’t hit a late three a few seconds earlier. James deserves some credit for the Heat forcing overtime too.
James would finish Game 6 with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for a triple-double. For those wondering, triple-doubles during an elimination game aren’t very common, as shown in the tweet below from ESPN Stats & Info:
In Game 7, LeBron will have a tough time getting going again. Instead of taking forced shots, he’ll look to spread the floor and allow his teammates to do most of the work. If the Heat are down late in the game, expect to see the same guy we all saw on Tuesday night. LeBron will have 15 points through the first three quarters and then put the pedal to the metal in the fourth.
Game 7’s Hero Is…Ray Allen
Ray Allen hit the biggest three-pointer of his career on Tuesday night, drilling a shot with time winding down and the Heat desperately needing a miracle. If the Heat win Game 7, there’s no question that Allen deserves most of the credit.
Here’s what Allen told Alex Kennedy of USA Today about the shot after the game:
It’s going to be a shot that I’m going to remember for a long time. There’s a lot of shots that I’ve made in my career, but this will go high up in the ranks because of the situation.
Just being able to be in that situation where the ball bounced in our direction. We’ve been a part of many plays where the ball has a funky bounce to it. And I’ve known my whole career sometimes you just get lucky. When you win championships, it involves a little luck. That right there was luck shining on our side.
Some may forget that Allen—not just Danny Green—has had a pretty good NBA Finals too from downtown. He’s shot 60 percent from three-point land through the first six games and is averaging a pair of three-pointers made per contest. His 12.3 points per game aren’t much, but he has played a huge role.
Three-point shooting has been a big part of this series. In Game 7, Allen is going to emerge as the player who led the Heat to a title. He scored 21 points in Game 5, shooting 7-of-10 from the field and was a perfect 4-of-4 from deep.
When the Heat need to go on a run, Allen will step up. Expect a 20-plus point performance from the game’s best three-point shooter en route to the Heat winning back-to-back titles.