As they await Game 7 of the NBA Finals, San Antonio players said Wednesday they will not allow themselves to be dragged down emotionally by the disappointment of squandering a five-point lead with 21 seconds left in Game 6, when they had a chance to close out the series.
“We don’t get affected by big losses,” point guard Tony Parker said. “I’m not really worried about our team bouncing back.”
A night earlier, Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said: “I have no clue how we’re going to be reenergized. I’m devastated.”
On Wednesday, Ginobili said: “I’m still down. A blow like that, it’s not easy to get back up. After 12 hours, I feel a little better. We are still in a good situation.”
Forward Kawhi Leonard said the Spurs did not watch any film from Game 6 and coaches didn’t broach the loss.
But Parker said that after Tuesday’s game, Spurs players dined together and discussed games in which their teams had squandered big leads, including in international competition.
He said that was therapeutic in moving past Tuesday, when the Heat became only the second team in an NBA Finals elimination game to win a game that it trailed by10 entering the fourth quarter.
“It was a great dinner. It definitely helped, because we knew that we blew a big opportunity to win a championship,” Parker said. “It was great to just talk to everybody and make sure everybody doesn’t stay sad too long.”
Said Tim Duncan: “We know the opportunity we let slip through our fingers. And we’re not going to hang our head and dwell on that.”
The NBA confirmed that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made an illegal substitution when he reinserted Duncan after referees reviewed Ray Allen’s game-tying three-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Parker missed a fade-away jumper, sending the game to overtime.
Popovich did not answer when asked Wednesday whether he thought the substitution was legal. Instead, he used the forum to vent about the game being stopped briefly for a review.
“I was upset because I wanted to take it out and go,” he said. “That’s one of the great times when you can push the basketball against another team. They don’t want to foul. The game is tied. Oftentimes, you’ll see somebody go right to the hole. Get a foul or get a layup. And that was taken away with the review.”
Because of the illegal substitution, the Heat planned to protest the game if it had lost, the Miami Herald’s Dan Le Batard reported.
This and that• Popovich defended his decision to remove Duncan from the game twice in the final 28 seconds of overtime. In both sequences, the Heat secured offensive rebounds that to led to three-pointers, include Allen’s shot off a Chris Bosh offensive board. Popovich said “it makes sense” to use Boris Diaw instead in that situation because “he has a little more speed than Duncan. Unfortunately, we had two guys that went to LeBron and didn’t switch with Bosh, and he went right to the hole. So it has nothing to do with Duncan.”
• ABC’s Jeff Van Gundy said on 790 The Ticket on Wednesday that Ginobili was fouled on his drive to the basket with 2.4 seconds left in overtime (he lost the ball) and that Bosh fouled Danny Green while blocking his three-pointer with 1.2 seconds to go in overtime. A foul was not called on either play.
“The only people who don’t think those two were fouls are people with a vested interest in the Heat,” Van Gundy said.
Green, asked whether he was fouled on the play, said: “Seeing the replay, it didn’t look like it. The refs didn’t call it. It wasn’t a foul.”• Green, who entered Game 6 shooting 56.6 percent overall and 65.8 percent on threes (25 for 38), said the Heat defended him more tightly Tuesday night. He scored three points, shooting 1 for 5 on threes and 1 for 7 overall.
“They weren’t leaving me, but it opened up lanes for Tony and Timmy to do damage,” Green said. “But there were a couple shots I got off that I should have made.”
Asked whether he could do anything to get Green better shots, Popovich said: “We don’t call any plays for Danny Green, never have.”