As you may have heard by now, the Miami Heat came back from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to eventually steal Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals away from the San Antonio Spurs in an instant-classic overtime battle.
With the championship now undeniably set to be decided in Game 7, scheduled for Thursday night, you are going to want to keep reading to find out the most important stats and other interesting tidbits that may end up altering the outcome.
At the very least, knowing these things will make you an intelligent viewer, so read on to impress your friends and become a more knowledgeable fan.
Obviously, having the ability to make treys on a consistent basis is a huge advantage for a team in the NBA. As expected, the three-ball has been a big determining factor for the outcomes of games in this series.
Look no further than LeBron James’ and—especially—Ray Allen’s back-to-back bombs with the clock winding down, daggers that forced both overtime and arena security to put away the yellow ropes that would allow the Spurs to celebrate their championship without hindrance.
As a team, the Heat went a sizzling 11-of-19 from downtown, which makes a huge difference when contrasted with the Spurs' brick-filled 5-of-18 performance in Game 6.
However, the Spurs have used the long-distance shot to their advantage in this series. Emerging star swingman Danny Green has made a living from the perimeter, knocking down 26 three-pointers and counting thus far—shattering Allen’s previous Finals record of 22.
It’s not a sure bet, but the team that makes the most and shoots the highest percentage on threes will likely win the championship on Thursday. That was the case in Games 2, 3, 4 and 6 and certainly could be the deciding factor in Game 7.
Tim Duncan May Have Given His All
Through the first five games of the series, Tim Duncan was solid, but not excellent. He quietly grinded away in the low post, scoring when he could and grabbing plenty of rebounds, but never made the major difference that a two-time Finals MVP should.
That all changed in Game 6, when Duncan came out and put on a clinic, wowing us all with one of the most dominant first halves of basketball the Finals has ever seen. He connected on 11-of-13 attempts for 25 points—half of San Antonio’s 50 points after 24 minutes of play.
He put the team on his back and finished with 30 points and 17 boards, numbers in line with his other huge performances in must-win scenarios.
As per Grantland’s Bill Simmons, The Big Fundamental always comes to play with a chance to end a critically important series. Check out the graph below to see some of his very best performances:
He was no different in Game 6, but the Spurs ultimately failed due to his second-half shortcomings and the last-minute meltdown.
If he’s not able to muster another performance of that ilk in Game 7, it will be hard to blame the 37-year-old power forward. He gave it his all and came up just short.
No Road Team Has Ever Won in this Situation
Going into the final game of the 2012-13 NBA season, the Spurs would be wise to stay away from the history books.
The last time a road team won a Game 7 was all the way back in 1978, when Wes Unseld led his Washington Bullets to a championship over the Seattle Supersonics, back when the Finals format was still 2-2-1-1-1.
Now that the modern 2-3-2 method is installed, the Heat are looking to prove that their sterling regular season mattered and home-court advantage through the Finals was a worthy proposition to fight for.
They would be following the 1988 Los Angeles Lakers, 1994 Houston Rockets and 2010 Lakers as just the fourth team in history to win Games 6 and 7 at home, as per ESPN Stats & Info:
Considering the Spurs had their hearts ripped out in the waning moments of regulation and overtime on Tuesday night, it’s hard to imagine them recovering and mustering the spirit to go another round.
Don’t be surprised when Miami claims its second straight championship in a Game 7 blowout.