They could have been on a charter jet somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico, clothes still damp from the victory champagne, basking in the aura of a fifth championship. Instead, the Spurs spent the wee hours of Wednesday morning at an Italian restaurant near downtown Miami, commiserating over a meal that quickly turned into a group therapy session. Over plates of pasta, players talked about all they had squandered in a 103-100 overtime loss to the Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals hours earlier, swapped stories about hard times they had been through before, and vowed to forget it all before Game 7. “We’re not going to hang our head and dwell on it,” captain Tim Duncan said. “When that ball goes up, we’ll all be ready.” When the Spurs return Thursday night to the site of arguably the most deflating defeat in franchise history, for a winner-take-all Game 7, their fortunes will be dictated in large part by their own mental state. Nobody would blame them for being crushed. With 28.2 seconds to go in Tuesday night’s Game 6, the Spurs owned a five-point lead. Manu Ginobili was at the foul line. Heat fans fled for the exits. Somewhere backstage at American?Airlines Arena, the Larry O’Brien trophy was being prepped for a celebration. It took an incredible sequence of events to keep the Spurs from leaving with it. Two missed free throws; one from Ginobili and one from Kawhi Leonard. Two blown defensive rebounds with Duncan off the floor, leading to two second-chance 3-pointers for Miami in regulation. Ray Allen’s 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds to go sent the game to OT, where the Spurs fumbled it away with turnovers on three consecutive possessions late. “I feel like I am on the organ donor transplant list and there is an accident in front of me,” Miami’s Shane Battier said. “We have been given a new life.” The end of Game 6 certainly felt like a train wreck to the Spurs, who were still as stunned Wednesday afternoon as they were Tuesday night. “I’m still down,” said Ginobili, who also had eight turnovers. “A blow like that, it’s not easy to get back up.” The Spurs have no choice but to try, though the odds are stacked against them.
One more chance to win fifth title ‘all that matters’ to Spurs
San Antonio Express-News | Jun 20