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San Antonio Spurs: Reliving that Ray Allen shot from the NBA Finals

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MIAMI, FL - JUNE 18: Ray Allen #34 of the Miami Heat hits a three-point shot to tie the score and send the San Antonio Spurs into overtime in Game Six of the 2013 NBA Finals on June 18, 2013 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 18: Ray Allen #34 of the Miami Heat hits a three-point shot to tie the score and send the San Antonio Spurs into overtime in Game Six of the 2013 NBA Finals on June 18, 2013 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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San Antonio Spurs fans will want to forget the shot in the 2013 NBA Finals that extended the series.

The NBA Finals has mostly resulted positively for the San Antonio Spurs. Whether it’s Tim Duncan‘s year-to-year dominance or Tony Parker‘s MVP performance in 2007, championship opportunities have usually been fulfilled. Though, this did not happen in 2013. Yes, it’s that Finals.

The scoreboard for the first five games of this series between the Spurs and Miami Heat told a story of mostly wide scoring differentials aside from Game 1, when Parker went for 21 points and Duncan had a double-double in a 92-88 win. (LeBron James had an eye-popping 18-18-10 triple-double.)

Other stories from those five games: Mario Chalmers was the high-point man in Game 2, Danny Green had 27 in Game 3, and the Spurs routed the Heat by 36 points in Game 3. However, this brought on a Game 4 onslaught from Miami that included the following stat lines from the “Big 3”:

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  • LeBron James: 15-for-25 shooting, 33 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks
  • Dwyane Wade: 14-for-25 shooting, 32 points, 6 rebounds, 6 steals, 4 assists, 1 block
  • Chris Bosh: 8-for-14 shooting, 20 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 1 assist

(Side note: We live in a 3-point-centric universe in the NBA in 2018. Bosh, James and Wade combined on 1-for-2 from behind the arc and all played at least 37 games each.)

That only brought the series to 2-2, and the Spurs even took Game 5 after gaudy performances from Duncan, Green, Parker, Manu Ginobili and a young Kawhi Leonard stole the show. Each player shot above 50 percent from the field and had at least 15 points. That’s without mentioning the double-doubles from Duncan and Ginobili.

That brings us to the events of Game 6 and the shot you were probably not waiting for. Let’s first set the stage:

  • The Spurs had a 75-65 entering the fourth quarter. Not a runaway but still an okay cushion. (Then again, with the talent this Heat team had, it feels similar to the Golden State Warriors when they are down at halftime. Miami also did outscore the Spurs 30-20 in the third quarter, so there’s that, too.)
  • The Heat were 9-for-14 from the field in the fourth quarter before that shot.
  • In the moments leading up to that shot, Kawhi Leonard went to the free throw line for two shots. He missed the first and made the second, which made it 95-92, Spurs. It’s hard to blame the future face of the franchise, but it’s something to ponder, given what happened afterward.
  • The Heat had 19.4 seconds to make a basket, more than enough time to create at least one play.

Tony Parker lagged in front of Mario Chalmers into the halfcourt, but something broke down defensively. It almost looked like Parker, who lost his balance, was not ready for Leonard to switch from LeBron James to Chalmers, or expected James to set a screen (which he did not).

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Instead, James moved to the top of the key and Parker was screened off by the much bigger Chris Bosh. That kept Boris Diaw, who had been on Bosh, to sit back, which allowed James to shoot an open 3-pointer and miss.

Meanwhile, Bosh, who just laid some of this play’s groundwork, went directly to the boards and snatched the rebound away from three Spurs, none of which were Tim Duncan, who was surprisingly benched for this crucial defensive stop. Danny Green, Manu Ginobili and even a pre-superstar Leonard could not do anything against Bosh’s size.

Then there’s Ray Allen. He lingered away from the Chalmers bring-up, James’s miss and Bosh’s screen and rebound. Actually, Allen went in for the rebound off James’s miss but backed off when Bosh snatched the ball from the air.

Allen back-pedaled to the 3-point line, and maybe that was Bosh’s intention to find him there or to just get rid of the ball. But Allen caught the ball while backing up and took a no-hesitation shot — with Parker trying a last-second defensive hand-in-the-face maneuver — which felt like a chuck in real time. Spurs (and Heat) fans know what happened next.

Lost in translation is that, after Allen’s shot, the Spurs actually had a chance to win the game. A frantic sprint to the basket by Parker, with James draped all over him, led to a falling-away shot that did not hit anything.

Of course, there was also an overtime period that actually put the Spurs ahead by three points for a moment. However, Allen scored four of the game’s final six points and gave the Heat the 103-100 win. San Antonio went 0-for-5 with three turnovers in the final two minutes, 42 seconds of the game and dropped Game 7 just two nights later.

Next: 2018 NBA Mock Draft: After the lottery

The Spurs did win the 2014 title against the Heat and redeemed the 2013 nightmare. But this will still go down as a forgettable moment in a mostly unforgettable postseason history for this organization.

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