The Miami Heat entered the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's Game 6 in need of a run to extend their season to one more game. Down 75-65 to the San Antonio Spurs entering the quarter, the Heat responded with five quick points from a Mario Chalmers three-pointer and LeBron James lay-up. A lay-in by Spurs center Tiago Splitter communicated that the visitors wouldn't give up, but the Heat made their statement. They would work through any obstacles to get back in the game.
Of course, teams don't win NBA Finals games simply through hard work and gumption — sometimes it takes a heavy dose of the improbable to get a victory. As Splitter made his basket, Heat wing Mike Miller lost his left shoe while jockeying for rebounding position with Boris Diaw. In order to make sure his team wouldn't play a key possession down a man, Miller carried his shoe back up the court to the offensive end and threw it towards his team's bench.
That's not to say that Miller was in good position to make a player. Anyone who's stepped onto a hardwood floor in socks knows that it can be difficult to maintain balance or traction. Yet Miller gingerly jogged to his spot on the right wing, took a pass from LeBron James, and calmly drilled a three-pointer to cut the lead to 77-73. Gregg Popovich followed up the shot with a timeout, and Miller retreated to the bench to recover his lost sneaker. Meanwhile, the Heat went on to capture the game 103-100 in overtime.
The craziest thing about this shot may have been that it wasn't the first time Miller performed well with one shoe in a big playoff game. In Game 5 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Miller played two defensive possessions without one of his shoes and helped to hold the Indiana Pacers scoreless on both.
All we can assume, really, is that Miller should play with one shoe on every possession for the rest of his career. At the very least, the man has earned himself a high-profile sock endorsement.
- Sports & Recreation
- Tiago Splitter
- San Antonio Spurs
- Miami Heat
- LeBron James