The worst day in San Antonio Spurs history took place on June 18, 2013, and let’s just says it felt like literally the worst day for all Spurs fans. To see a three-pointer from the Miami Heat’s Ray Allen splash the net with 5.8 seconds left of what would have been the last game for the Spurs was definitely heartbreaking. Allen destroyed San Antonio’s chances of getting their fifth championship, and for a guy to have made his first and only triple of the game, it was definitely poison for the Spurs.
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Don’t get me wrong, there were missed free-throw attempts by Manu Ginobili at the 28-second mark and also by Kawhi Leonard with 20 seconds remaining in the game. EIther could have indeed helped the Spurs with a five-point advantage. But no, good ol’ Jesus Shuttlesworth had to come through for the Heat, blazing that corner three to tie the game.
Heat fans who left early missed the epic comeback and wanted to come back to witness the overtime, but of course, they were not allowed to re-enter the arena. The result of that contest left Spurs fans second-guessing decisions by the team.
For example, Tim Duncan was pulled out the game during two crucial three-pointers by the Heat, both of which were after offensive rebounds. If Duncan was on the court for either of those plays, the game could have changed drastically and leaned in favor of the Spurs winning it all. With Duncan’s size and length, he could have snagged the rebound, causing the Heat to foul immediately and hoping for Duncan to miss his foul shots.
Some thought Gregg Popovich could’ve sent in 6’7″ DeJuan Blair, even though he didn’t really get to see any playoff action. But Blair wasn’t fit to be in that position. You never know what could have taken place, and a strong rebounder could have helped out in that circumstances.
The past can never be changed, and the Spurs learned recovered from that deflating NBA Finals loss. They came out stronger the in 2013-14 and completely manhandled the Heat in the Finals, not giving LeBron James and Co. a chance to reinforce why they were the defending champions. Leonard reached a new level during the NBA Finals, and the Spurs were able to live that championship dream again. The 2013 Finals will never be forgotten, but it will forever be used as an example for the Spurs to show them what it takes to play with heart and what not to do when it all comes down to the wire.
And so this never happens again.