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Ball Don't Lie

Tony Parker gets off floor, nails buzzer-beater dagger to give Spurs Game 1 win over Heat (Video)

The San Antonio Spurs have been called boring, dull and workmanlike many times during their 15 years of NBA championship contention. While basketball fans are free to argue over the validity of those labels, there's no question that the Spurs' last possession of Thursday's Game 1 of the NBA Finals was absolutely amazing.

With 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Spurs holding on to a 90-88 lead after two LeBron James free throws, point guard Tony Parker held the ball for what figured to be San Antonio's final possession of regulation. With mere seconds left on the shot clock, Parker drove down the middle of the lane on Heat center Chris Bosh, who forced him to the right side and toward LeBron. After more stellar defense, Parker fell to the ground, got up, pivoted to his right to slip under James and put up a desperation 16-footer that went off the backboard, settled on the front rim, and dropped through the hoop for the game-clinching bucket and a 92-88 win.

It initially looked as if Parker might not have gotten the shot off before the shot-clock buzzer, but one replay angle showed that Parker just barely got the ball out of his hand before the clock went down to 0.0 seconds. It was a thrilling, improbable play, a big-time basket that will be remembered for years no matter what happens to the Spurs in the rest of this series.

Heat fans may be upset about the decision to let the basket stand, and it was close enough that the officials' ultimate choice might have rested on a lack of sufficient evidence to overturn, not incontrovertible proof that he got it off in time. The angle from the opposite baseline does make it look as if the call was correct, but this replay decision was about as close as it gets in big moments.

A playoff series can see many shifts in momentum, but the end of this game will certainly change the course of the NBA Finals. The Spurs now have home field advantage for the rest of the series, will return home to San Antonio for Games 3 through 5 with a 1-1 split at worst, and have proven that they can win on Miami's home floor. If the Spurs go on to win the title, Parker's dagger could very well go down as the biggest moment of the postseason.

Related NBA Finals coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Tony Parker, Spurs win Game 1 thriller over Heat
Spurs pick up where they left off following 10-day layoff

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