Battier: ‘Basketball gods’ owed him in Game 7
by Alex Kennedy, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — On the morning of Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals, Miami Heat owner Micky Arison predicted that Shane Battier would have a big game.
He pulled Heat President Pat Riley aside and told him, “I know Shane. When he starts hitting threes, he doesn’t stop.” After watching him go 3-for-4 from beyond the arc in Game 6, Arison said that Battier was the key to a Game 7 victory. He couldn’t have been more spot-on.
LeBron James was outstanding yet again, and Dwyane Wade had one of his best games of the playoffs. But Battier hitting six of eight three-pointers and contributing 18 points in 29 minutes was the difference for the Heat in a 95-88 victory vs. the San Antonio Spurs. The Heat had a plus-12 point differential with him on the court, better than for any other player.
“I knew he would do it,” Arison told USA TODAY Sports. “I knew it. That’s what happened last year and it happened again.”
Last year, it was Mike Miller who stole the show in the Heat’s last Finals game, hitting seven three-pointers and contributing 23 points off of the bench. In Thursday’s game, Battier was the seldom-used veteran who stepped up in the biggest game of the season.
The 34-year-old forward struggled throughout most of the postseason — at one point, even losing his spot in the rotation — but he delivered Thursday and admitted he felt like Miller when his shots were falling.
“I did a little bit, I did feel like him,” Battier told USA TODAY Sports. “I was pretty bad for most of the series so it felt good to finally get back to the law of averages.
“I wanted to be there for my guys, there for my brothers. I’m glad I was able to pull my weight.”
Battier was mobbed by his teammates in the locker room and doused with champagne after his big game.
“Shane ain’t hit a shot since I don’t know when, but tonight he was unconscious,” Wade said with a laugh. “He’s just a big-time player. You want that for Shane so bad. You wanted to … [For more on Shane Battier says 'basketball gods' owed him in Game 7, click here.]