Who do you blame for the Spurs meltdown to end game 6?
First and foremost, Tim Duncan turned back the clock in the first half with 25 points and 7 rebounds. It’s arguably the greatest performance for a half in Finals history when you consider his age and the defense he was facing. The Heat vowed to take away the Spurs 3 point shooting, and consequently Duncan dominated as if he were in his prime.
Now we knew the Heat would make second half adjustments, however, would that mean sacrificing perimeter defense to do so? That didn’t happen as the Spurs shot an abysmal 5-18 from downtown. Danny Green was just 1-5 from beyond the arc.
With 4:31 left in the third quarter Tim Duncan scored his 30th point. That means he went the final 21:31 (including overtime) without another point. It’s easy to say the 37 year-old tired a bit, but I do feel the Spurs didn’t make the proper effort to feed the big man down the stretch. Now clearly the game wasn’t lost for that reason; I just feel the Spurs had wasted possessions where Ginobili and Parker took questionable shots without involving Duncan.
Speaking of which, is it fair to say Ginobili’s game 5 performance was perhaps that one last great game that I had written about? http://www.faniq.com/blog/Manu-Ginobili-not-living-up-to-the-third-part-of-the-big-3-Blog-67980 He was as bad as it gets in game 6. Eight turnovers, just nine points and if you care about this stat, his plus/minus was -21, which was the worst in the game. Not to mention his missed free throw in the final 30 seconds.
It seems a lot of people are focused on the missed free throws as the reason the Spurs lost. Some say the refs played a part, while there’s even been criticism of the great Gregg Popovich himself for the substitutions with Duncan and Parker.
I’m not going to dismiss the missed free throws; obviously they are crucial in closing out games. I just can’t lay the blame solely on them when we can’t guarantee the game would’ve played out the way it did. The two rebounds the Heat controlled off James’ missed 3’s, especially the one that allowed Ray Allen to tie the game, was the difference and the reason the game went to OT.
The first rebound off the James missed 3 is what they call a 50/50 ball and the Heat were just quicker to the ball. The second rebound was a result of over helping on James and not putting a body on Chris Bosh. Now this is where second guessing Popovich is warranted. He took Duncan out of the game in fear of him not being able to guard the 3 point shot. However, by doing so he gave up a great deal of size having Diaw on the floor.
With that said, when the Heat set the pick for James, Diaw went out to defend it and that allowed Chris Bosh to literally walk to the basket untouched to get an easy offensive rebound. Somebody has to recognize that Bosh wasn’t guarded and should’ve at least put a body on him. Hindsight is always 20/20 and it’s hard to expect everyone to rotate properly in such chaos; I just think if one team would be able to handle that situation, it’s a team coached by Gregg Popovich.
And to those who want to blame the refs: Was Danny Green fouled by Chris Bosh? Very questionable indeed. He did get all ball but appeared to make some body contact. The Spurs did take 7 more free throws in the game than the Heat did. James went to the hoop multiple times where the refs swallowed the whistle, while the Spurs shot free throws on a few phantom calls.
I do not agree with people who feel the Spurs will definitely lose game 7 based on how game 6 ended. I’ve heard some people say will get blown out in game 7. Well, I heard a lot of people say the same thing before game 6. The Spurs may lose game 7, but they will NOT, I repeat NOT be mentally broken by the game 6 loss.