Miami miracle for heat
MIAMI — The headband was knocked off; the cape came on.
Now LeBron James’ legacy can be scrutinized for yet another day. Unnecessarily dragged through the news cycle by media, fans and even his own peers.
Thanks to James’ hostile takeover in the fourth quarter Tuesday, the Miami Heat overcame a 13-point deficit to force a Game 7 in the NBA Finals with a 103-100 victory in overtime in Game 6.
On the biggest stage at the biggest moment, James went from a player who was shrinking through the first three quarters — shooting 3-for-12 for 14 points — to finishing with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists and willing the defending champs to one more game. A last stand with no gray area and, really, a no-win situation for James.
The perceived best player on the planet is supposed to do this.
But if he loses, well, he’d be 1-3 in Finals appearances, and the Michael Jordan comparisons would appear way out of line
News flash: The legacy is already firmly established: four MVPs, an Olympic gold medal, a championship trophy earned in the Finals last season with one of the best statistical performances of all time and a career that still has close to a decade to go.
And now “The Headband Game.’’
“I don’t even remember the play much,’’ James said of that moment. “I guess the headband was the least of my worries. It was, by far, the best game I’ve ever been a part of. The ups and downs, the emotions, good and bad. … I’m blessed to be a part of something like this.’’
With Miami looking dead in the water early in the fourth, James’ headband was knocked off onto the court. Then James started scoring at will, blocking shots, rebounding. Headband be damned! Yes, it has been the King’s crown for years, but a switch seemed to flip with James showing off his receding hairline in all its running-up-the-scalp glory.
“Absolute desperation and will,’’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of James’ post-lost-headband performance. “To do it on both ends. Obviously, he had an extremely tough cover with [Spurs guard Tony] Parker, making every play for us, really aggressive, able to get into the paint. Just gave us life.’’
Ray Allen gets the assist in that life-giving area. After Kawhi Leonard split two free throws that could’ve given San Antonio a four-point lead and likely ring No. 5 with 19 seconds left, it was Allen’s corner three-pointer that sent the game into overtime.
A three that came seconds after fans were leaving and the court was being roped off to present the trophy.
“That [ticked] me off,’’ Heat big man Chris Bosh said. “We all saw that.’’
In the overtime, Bosh, Allen and, of course, James finished it off.
“We’re going to be thinking about all the missed chances we had, two free throws with a two-point lead, a few seconds left,’’ Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. “Missed rebounds … we’re going to think about that for a long time, all night long, all day [Wednesday]. I’m devastated.’’