MIAMI (AP) — When LeBron James‘ greatness almost wasn’t good enough, officials began preparing for a San Antonio celebration.
James and the Heat wouldn’t let it happen.
“To be a part of something like this is something you would never be able to recreate once you’re done playing the game. And I’m blessed to be a part of something like this,” James said. “And I’m happy about the way we dug down and was able to get a win. It didn’t look like we could muster up at some point in the game.”
James powered Miami to a frantic fourth-quarter rally and overtime escape as the Heat beat the Spurs 103-100 on Tuesday night to extend the NBA Finals as far as they can go and keep Miami’s repeat chances alive.
Losing his headband but keeping his cool while playing the entire second half and overtime, James finished with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, making the go-ahead basket with 1:43 remaining in the extra period.
“It’s by far the best game I’ve ever been a part of,” James said.
He wouldn’t let the Heat lose it — or their NBA title. If the Spurs want to take it, they’ll have to fight just a little harder to get it.
One last game, winner take all.
So close to being eliminated that they noticed officials bringing yellow tape out to block off the court for the Spurs’ trophy presentation, the Heat hit a couple of big 3-pointers and got some defensive stops — everything that makes a great team a champion.
“We seen the championship board already out there, the yellow tape. And you know, that’s why you play the game to the final buzzer,” James said. “And that’s what we did tonight. We gave it everything that we had and more.”
Game 7 is in Miami on Thursday, the NBA’s first do-or-die matchup to crown a champion since the Lakers beat the Celtics in 2010.
“They’re the best two words in sports: Game 7,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
And two the Spurs were oh-so-close to avoiding.