San Antonio Spurs sharpshooter Danny Green has had an unbelievable 2013 NBA Finals, setting a new record for the most three-pointers in a championship series and making a much greater name for himself in the process. It's been enough to get the Miami Heat to notice his skills. In the lead-up to Tuesday night's Game 6, big man Chris Bosh said that the Heat would not let Green stay open for the rest of the series.
On the last play of the game, Bosh kept his word. With the Heat up 103-100 and 1.9 seconds left in overtime, the Spurs ran a play to get Green a look from the far corner that would have tied the game. (There were some similarities to Manu Ginobili's game-winning shot in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Golden State Warriors.) However, Bosh tracked the pass, closed out on Green, and managed to block the shot for one of his several big defensive plays down the stretch. The Heat held on to win, and the two teams will meet again on Thursday for a decisive Game 7.
The block was immediately met with some speculation as to whether Bosh had fouled Green. Join us after the jump for a screengrab of the contact (via Erik Malinowski) and more discussion of the play.
In the aftermath, ESPN on ABC commentator Jeff Van Gundy noted that this play would have been called as a foul at any other moment in the game. As this image shows, Bosh got ball up top, but it does not communicate the force with which he hit Green's body. Yet, while the letter of the law suggests this should have been a foul, NBA referees have always called the game based on situation. Simply put, defenders get more leeway on game-deciding plays. That's why Van Gundy also said he liked the non-call, and why most of the outcry after this block was limited to pro-Spurs observers.
Regardless, the result of the play ensures that Bosh's terrific effort in the fourth quarter and overtime will be remembered for some time. Despite his importance to the Heat, Bosh has been derided often for perceived soft play and difficulties protecting the rim. In Game 6, he covered several Spurs all over the court and helped ramp up the Heat's defensive intensity with their season on the line. This block — his biggest play of the night, surely — was just the best expression of his stellar performance.
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• LeBron James, Ray Allen rally Heat to Game 7 of NBA Finals
• Miami Heat fans leave NBA Finals Game 6 early, not allowed back in for comeback win
• Ray Allen nails huge late 3-pointer to send Heat-Spurs Game 6 to overtime
Through the first five games of the NBA Finals, San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard has received praise mostly for his defensive work on Miami Heat MVP LeBron James. Yet Leonard has also been very impressive at the offensive end, where he's chipped in four double-figures scoring games and added another option to the Spurs' balanced attack.
Leonard has also had his fair share of athletic highlights. In the first quarter of Tuesday night's Game 6, he had perhaps his best of the playoffs. After a stellar outlet pass from Tim Duncan to Tony Parker, Leonard took the ball on the fast break and exploded over Mike Miller at the rim. Miller did his best to challenge the dunk, but Kawhi has a clear athletic edge in that matchup and took full advantage. The resulting posterization is available for your viewing pleasure above.
Join us after the jump for a GIF of the play, along with some thoughts on a potential offensive foul by Leonard and some words of encouragement from one of Leonard's previous postseason victims.
As you can see from this screengrab (via @badlhoch), Barnes put his hand over Miller's face while completing the jam. The ESPN on ABC broadcasting crew — including retired official Steve Javie — agreed that the referees on the floor were right not to blow the whistle on Leonard, although Heat fans can be forgiven for thinking the rule book does not allow players to push opponents in the face at any point during a game. On the other hand, this call is pretty much never made on dunks, so it is not terribly surprising that the basket stood.
Miller will have to contend with the fallout, most of which will be limited to internet jokes and rumblings. The good news for him is that other players have been in the same position during this postseason. During the Spurs' Western Conference Semifinals series against the Golden State Warriors, Leonard had a similar posterization on rookie Harrison Barnes. Right after the dunk on Miller, Barnes had some words of encouragement:
Happens to the best of us Mike
— Harrison Barnes (@HBarnes) June 19, 2013
Chin up, Miller. Every player gets a chance to reclaim his good name.
More NBA Finals video from Yahoo! Sports:
NBA Finals coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Ray Allen nails huge 3-pointer to send Game 6 to overtime
• Watch: LeBron James blocks Tim Duncan at the rim
• Slideshow: LeBron James loses headband, leads Heat to victory
As Bill Simmons once said, if aliens were to conquer Earth and challenge us to a game of pickup basketball, who would be choose as our team? Better yet, who would we choose as our best player in a game of one-on-one?
The Golden State Warriors held pre-draft workouts on Friday and Saturday, which included a pair of players with Seattle ties.
Because what would the offseason be without rumors connecting Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors?
Looks like we'll be starting the new season without Festus Ezeli. His recovery is 6-9 months, which puts his return some time between December 2013 - March 2014.
The Golden State Warriors have announced that they will hold a workout for six 2013 NBA Draft prospects tomorrow, including Pac-12 products Arsalan Kazemi and Aziz N'Diaye.
Let us know by submitting a url: