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Spurs won’t forget this NBA Finals loss
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On June 21, 2013 @ 12:55 am In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — When the San Antonio Spurs would discuss the story behind their drive for five, the inspiration to keep pushing when their collective fading seemed all but inevitable, they often spoke of the pain that came from opportunity lost the year before.
But their 95-88 Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat on Thursday night at American Airlines Arena will bring with it a level of regret they’ll wish they’d never known, something even worse than their 2012 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Conference Finals. They had the title within their grasps – again – until they didn’t.
“The obvious word is ‘disappointing’,” Spurs big man Tim Duncan said. “Tough end to the game. We made some bad decisions, missed some shots. I don’t know what to say. Just give credit to the Miami Heat. LeBron (James) was unbelievable. Dwyane (Wade) was great. I just think they found a way to get it done. We stayed in the game. We gave ourselves opportunities to win the game, we just couldn’t turn that corner. They made more plays down the stretch, bottom line.”
This meant little for their legacy, but was everything to them.
The yellow tape had come out in Game 6, the championship stage set for their title celebration before it all fell apart. And then, in a Game 7 in which they showed no ill effects of the heartbreaking way it all came crashing down in the game before, the Spurs waited to long to seize what could have been theirs before James did just that.
His stepback jumper from the right wing with 27 seconds left put the Heat up four, just moments after Duncan had missed a vintage drive to his right – and the subsequent tip-in – that could have sparked something different.
After the game Heat star Dwanye Wade had nothing but praise for Duncan.
“Tim Duncan is one of the greatest players of all time,” Wade said. “If I’m able to do what Tim Duncan did at 37 years old, I’m happy. That guy is a warrior.”
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