TIME: Wednesday 19th of June, approximately 9:19pm
PLACE: My living room
SCENE: My beloved San Antonio Spurs were up 94-89 in Game Six of the NBA Finals, holding a 3-2 lead in the best of seven series. There is less than a minute to go in regulation. 28 seconds to be precise. Tim Duncan has gone to the bench. Job done. We’re 28 seconds away away from our fifth NBA title, and first since 2007. Yellow tape has been brought out along the sideline in preparation for the trophy presentation. I’m that much closer to going to nba.com and ordering my Spurs Championship Pack. A DVD, a hat, a t-shirt.
The Heat are in possession. LeBron James takes a three it misses, Miami gets the offensive rebound and it goes back out to James, who attempts another three and hits it. 94-92. I am so nervous my palms begin to sweat. My heart rate increases. I’m starting to wonder if I’m cut out for fandom in any capacity at this age. I’m 36, a few months older than Manu Ginobili. I have more hair and less money that him, and that’s okay for now.
Down the other end, Kawhi Leonard gets fouled. He misses the first one and looks nervous. It looks like the moment is too much for him. He’s just 21 and in his second NBA season. Leonard is a fantastic player and I’m glad he plays for us. He’ll learn from this and grow. He makes the second. 95-92. I can’t take this. I just want it to be over. This is excruciating.
It was all a blur. A Heat player, I can’t recall who, takes a shot, it misses and Chris Bosh gets the rebound and kicks it out to Ray Allen. He takes a three and makes it. Game tied. I am heartbroken. Game goes to overtime. We were never going to win that one, not in their house.
We lose, 103-100. LeBron plays the last part of the game without a headband and he looks really strange without it. It makes him look 50 years old. He certainly doesn’t play like a middle-aged man as he tears our hearts out.
This is the most painful loss as a Spurs fan that I’ve experienced. It now trumps Derek Fisher’s 0.4 second heave in Game 5 of the 2004 Western Conference Finals by a wide margin. This game was ours. We were meant to be hoisting the Larry O’Brien as Duncan raised the Finals MVP trophy on enemy territory. We were flipping the script. Laying waste to the Superfriends, that manufactured masterwork, concocted in 2010 under dubious circumstances by Overlord Riley. We were the antithesis to that. We built our team gradually, piece by piece around our core of Ginobili, Parker and Duncan. There were no Decisions, no fanfare, no WWE-style pep rallies like the one the Heat did in July 2010.
We won’t win Game 7. We can’t. Maybe it’s the eternal pessimist in me, but it just feels like Game 6 was our chance and we blew it. There’s no coming back from a loss like that. I’d love to be proven wrong, but 20+ years of solid NBA fandom tells me otherwise. It’s Manifest Destiny. Your 2013 NBA Champions, Miami Heat!
I feel sick…