MIAMI: LeBron James made the go-ahead jump shot and Ray Allen drained two clutch overtime free throws as the Miami Heat rallied to beat San Antonio 103-100 on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) to force a game seven in the NBA finals.
James hit a seven-foot jumper with 1:43 left in overtime to give Miami a 101-100 lead and the Heat evened the best-of-seven series at 3-3 after being down by five points with 28 seconds remaining in regulation.
“That was by far the best game I have ever been a part of,” James said.
Game seven will be played on Thursday in Miami.
James scored 18 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter and overtime as he sparked the late comeback for the Heat, who trailed by 13 points late in the third quarter in front of a crowd of 19,900 at American Airlines arena.
Mario Chalmers scored 20 points and Chris Bosh added 10 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots for the Heat, who are a perfect 7-0 following a loss in the post-season. Miami dropped game five at San Antonio on Sunday.
Tim Duncan finished with 30 points and 17 rebounds and Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who last won the NBA title in 2007 when they knocked off a Cleveland Cavaliers team led by a young James.
“I don’t know what happened in the overtime and fourth,” Duncan said. “Just our shots weren’t there. It is a disappointing loss.”
San Antonio appeared to be heading for their fifth NBA title in franchise history when the wheels fell off late in the fourth quarter as they blew a 10-point lead entering the final quarter.
“It was a helluva game. It was a helluva game,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “It was an overtime game. It’s a game of mistakes and they ended up on the winning side.”
Heat veteran Allen drained a clutch 25-foot three-pointer with five seconds to play in regulation time to tie the game at 95-95.
Tony Parker had a chance to clinch the win for the Spurs in regulation, but his shot at the buzzer from 12-feet never got near the rim.
“This is elite competition. Two teams that aren’t backing up,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “We feel very grateful we have an opportunity to play for a title in game seven. There is nothing bigger than a game seven.”
Allen helped spark Miami’s season-saving rally as he scored all of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime after missing his first four shots from the field.
He made a lay up with six minutes left in the fourth to make it 84-82 and give the Heat their first lead since the opening quarter.
After Spurs posted a wire-to-wire win in game five, Tuesday’s contest started out as a tight affair with four lead changes in the first quarter.
Miami led 27-25 at the end of the first, but the Spurs went on a 17-4 surge to end the second quarter as they took a 50-44 lead into the locker room.
The Heat win spoiled a brilliant performance by San Antonio’s Duncan who scored 25 points in the first half on 11-of-13 shooting from the field. Duncan scored half of the Spurs points in the first half.
Miami’s Dwyane Wade, who is playing on two balky knees, missed the first three minutes of the third quarter as he was late coming out of the locker room.
Wade appeared to aggravate his left knee early in the contest when he collided with Manu Ginobili on a drive to the basket.
San Antonio made just four turnovers in game one but the mistake-prone Spurs had 13 in game six as Ginobili committed eight of those.