How close were the Spurs to another title? Well, in terms of terms of proximity, the trophy was on a platform positioned not far from the Gatorade bucket.
On the scoreboard, the Spurs led by five points with just under 30 seconds left in regulation. Yet, the
Spurs lost Game 6 in overtime to the Heat. Hence, the question becomes – have the Spurs lost any real chance of taking the title trophy back to San Antonio?
"It was a helluva game, a helluva game. It was a game of mistakes,'' Spurs head coach Greg Popovich said. "And they ended up on the winning side.''
The only thing beyond a "helluva" game in sports parlance? Two words – Game 7. Translation: it's one game for the one thing that every team desires – an NBA Championship.
And the Spurs better remedy those costly mistakes.
For instance, Manu Ginobili went from a career game to a career high in turnovers (8). Tim Duncan didn't score after the third quarter. Tony Parker missed 17 of his 23 shots. The Spurs went just 5 for 18 from beyond the arc. Plus, the Spurs failed on three of their eight free throws in the fourth quarter, with two misses in the final 28 seconds.
After an epic overtime win that saw LeBron James ditch his trademark headband early in the fourth quarter, LeBron James made the following proclamation: "It was by far the best game I've ever been a part of."
James played 50 of the 53 total minutes to help even the series at three games apiece. Tim Duncan, the 37-year-old Spurs center, played more than 44 minutes. Even NBA senior citizen Ray Allen exceeded 40 minutes for just the second time all season.
"It's the last game of the season,'' James said. "You have to muster up all the energy that you might have. It's not about X's and O's at this point. They know what we're running and we know what they're running."
"It's about getting stops defensively, staying in it mentally, not turning the ball over and making a few shots.''
Which team musters up the energy might determine which team adds to its trophy case.
"I have no clue how we're going to be re-energized,'' Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. "I'm devastated. But we have to. There's no Game 8 afterwards. We're going to have to play our best game."
Then again, maybe we're all overthinking it. Asked next about how he'd ready his team for Game 7 in Miami after the devastating loss, Popovich kept it ultra-simple.
"I get them on the bus. It arrives at the ramp over here. We get off the bus. We go on the court, and we play,'' Popovich replied. "That's how we get ready.''