When the fourth quarter started last night the Miami Heat found themselves in a spot that they were seldom in during the regular season but had come all too familiar with in the post season: down and pressing.
Down 3-2 in the series and entering the fourth quarter down ten points, Lebron James had 12 minutes left to make sure the San Antonio Spurs did not celebrate on the floor of the American Airlines Arena. Dwayne Wade had 12 minutes left to stage a comeback and force a game seven. And, Chris Bosh had 12 minutes left to save their season.
They had battled all year to defend their trophy. 82 games in the regular season, another 15 games in the postseason, and thanks to some late game heroics at the end of regulation and overtime they will have one last chance to do so on their home floor Thursday night.
Ray Allen hit a three with five seconds left in the fourth quarter to tie it up. Chris Bosh had two game saving and game winning blocks in the waning seconds of overtime. The Big Three of Wade, Bosh, and James accounted for 56 of the team’s 103 points. Lebron had yet another playoff triple double (32 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists).
It was a night where fans left halfway through the fourth quarter because the Heat was down. It was those same fans who tried to get back into the arena after Allen hit that three, only to be turned away.
The NBA started roping off the court and preparations were being made for the trophy presentation, but the Heat would play spoiler. When Ray Allen hit that three the arena erupted, people leapt off their couches, sports bars went nuts. You could feel something special was coming.
Whether the Miami Heat successfully defend their NBA Championship on Thursday is still to be determined, but one thing is for sure. Last night was special, and tomorrow night is almost certain to be as well.