MIAMI – Tim Duncan was delivering a vintage performance, and the San Antonio Spurs were streaking to the franchise’s fifth championship.
Then the 37-year-old forward ran out of gas, and the Spurs collapsed down the stretch like they so rarely have before.
Duncan had 30 points and 14 rebounds in the first three quarters, but was scoreless and grabbed just three boards in the fourth quarter and overtime of San Antonio’s 103-100 overtime loss to the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night.
The Spurs led by 10 points at the start of the fourth quarter and by five with 28 seconds to play. But Duncan missed all five of his shots in the fourth quarter and overtime and Ray Allen hit a 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds to play in regulation that kept the defending champions alive.
For a team that has been so very good and very precise in the biggest of moments over the years, coughing up two such enormous advantages in the final minute of regulation and let them slip away was unfathomable.
“We were in a great spot,” Manu Ginobili said. “We just gave them another chance and it hurts. It’s one of those moments where you’re going to be thinking about what we could’ve done better in those last possessions, so many times, all night long, till the next game. It’s terrible.”
“Obviously it’s a tough loss,” Parker said. “We had a great opportunity to finish it, but that’s basketball. Now we can show what we’re made of and have a great opportunity. We can’t forget that we have another opportunity on Thursday.”
The Spurs had a chance to go ahead in the closing seconds of overtime, but Ginobili’s drive to the bucket was thwarted.
“That last play down the stretch there, it can go either way,” Duncan said. “We obviously believe it was a foul going down the middle.”
“It is what it is,” Duncan said. “It’s a one-game series now. I don’t know what happened in the fourth and overtime, just the opportunities weren’t there.”