Heat, Spurs face a Game 7 for which they've long prepared

Wednesday June 19th, 2013
Ray Allen's three-point accuracy comes from relentless practice and a desire to shoot in the clutch.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

If each team could nominate one player with the cold-bloodedness to perform in the closing minutes of a Game 7, it would probably be Allen for Miami and Duncan for San Antonio. Duncan was 0 for 5 in the fourth quarter and OT of Game 6, but that had more to do with the Heat's intensified defense and his own fatigue at age 37 in the midst of generating 30 points and 17 rebounds in 44 minutes. The inbounds pass Duncan threw with 1.9 seconds remaining in overtime across the court to lead Danny Green into the corner was the equivalent of Peyton Manning or Tom Brady finding a receiver in the end zone in the final seconds of a playoff game. Chris Bosh (who had promised that Green wouldn't be left open in Game 6) blocked that shot, but the pass was one that few players would have dared to attempt with such confidence.

The players who thrive in a Game 7 are those who are familiar with the demands. Look for Ginobili to make a strong recovery. And then, if the seventh game is tight into the final minutes, watch closely to see who looks most comfortable while others are losing their focus. You'll be looking at the next NBA champion.

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