Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Last word: What I’ll remember most about the 2013 NBA Finals is …?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Twenty-eight seconds left. Spurs up five. Miami fans heading for the exits. Then everyone got a refresher course in the fat lady and Yogi Berra.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Ray Allen‘s tying 3-pointer in Game 6. It goes in annals of the greatest clutch shots in Finals history.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: It was different. The Heat didn’t beat a team in The Finals for the first time, as in 2012. They didn’t steamroll the competition, as was the case for long attaches of the regular season. The Heat had to gut and grind these seven games out against a quality team. Different in a good way.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: How close the Spurs were to winning the championship in Game 6. If Manu Ginobili hits both free throws with 28 seconds left, if Kawhi Leonard hits both with 19 seconds left, if they could just grab a rebound on either of the Heat’s last two possessions of regulation, or if Ray Allen’s three is a couple of inches to the left or right, everything would be different. The title certainly wasn’t given to Miami, but it’s amazing how it was determined by a series of somewhat random events. Heck, Leonard’s three with 1:26 left or Duncan’s layup in the final minute of Game 7 could have been the difference as well. The whole season — 1,315 games — all came down to just a few seconds.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Ray Allen’s corner 3-pointer that sent Game 6 to overtime saved so much bacon in Miami the Heat need to retire his jersey. The fallout would have been catastrophic if he missed that shot. The fact that he had the wherewithal to back up to the 3-point line the way he did in that situation is a testament to the sort of preparation and understanding of the game that you expect from a future Hall of Famer.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Game 6. I think it’s the best game I’ve ever seen in person, and I’ve been to more games than I can count. I know the Heat fans took some criticism for leaving early, but I understand — with 28 seconds left and Miami down five, I actually went on Delta.com and tried to change my flight home. I’ve never been so glad to have had bad wireless service.
Adriano Albuquerque, NBA Brasil: It has to be Game 6 as a whole. That whole game had just so many storylines — Duncan’s first half, Birdman’s return to the rotation, Kawhi’s facial on Miller, Miller’s shoeless 3-pointer, LeBron’s eruption without the headband, the Spurs’ collapse in the final seconds, Parker’s big shots, “the yellow rope”, Ray Allen’s game-tying 3, and Bosh’s two blocks in the end. Allen’s 3 is an instant “Forever is Big” commercial.
Philipp Dornhegge, NBA Deutschland: The class that both organizations displayed. No surprise from the Spurs, but they also brought out the best in the Miami Heat. The Heat’s series with the Pacers and Bulls were dogfights, marked by a lot of chippiness. In The Finals, we got the cleanest series I’ve seen in a long time. Zero technical fouls (!), an infinite amount of mutual respect between the teams and great sportsmanship after all was said and done.
Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: It can’t be anything else but Game 6. From LeBron’s dominance to Ray Allen’s 3-pointer and from the Spurs’ meltdown to Gregg Popovich‘s “we don’t foul over here”. It was maybe the best NBA Finals I can recall, one for the ages. It had it all. The MVP who shushed all the haters, the old-timers with a heart as big as their legacy, newcomers (Green, Leonard, Chalmers) and above all the feeling that “we want more.” Don’t stop the season NOW. Not after THESE games! Who can wait until October?