Spurs put up valiant fight, still fall to James, Heat 95-88 in Game 7 of NBA Finals

  • Article by: JON KRAWCZYNSKI , AP Basketball Writer
  • Updated: June 21, 2013 - 12:15 AM

MIAMI — Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili trudged off the court, their heads hanging, bald spots that come from more than a decade of games like this for all to see.

These proud San Antonio Spurs gave everything they had in Game 7. And when their valiant fight fell just short, they couldn't stop thinking about the title they gave away two nights earlier.

LeBron James scored 37 points and the Spurs couldn't quite finish one last stand in a 95-88 loss to the defending champion Miami Heat on Thursday night.

"To be at this point with this team in this situation, where people every year continue to count us out, is a great accomplishment," said Duncan, his voice quivering in a rare show of emotion for the intensely private star. "To be in a game 7 or be in a game 6 and up one with two chances to win an NBA championship, that's tough to swallow."

Duncan had 24, 12 rebounds and four steals and Ginobili scored 18 points with five assists. But Tony Parker struggled with just 10 points on 3-for-12 shooting and the Spurs were left lamenting the Game 6 collapse that cost them their fifth title under coach Gregg Popovich.

"Being so close and feeling that you are about to grab that trophy and then seeing it vanish is very hard," Ginobili said. "I think that if we would've lost both games like this, I would be a little more up. But it's a tough feeling."

The Spurs were in it the whole game, down 90-88 with two minutes to go after a 3-pointer by Kawhi Leonard. But Duncan missed two point blank chances to tie and had a turnover in the closing minutes, and James went out and grabbed the title that was there for the taking after the Spurs let it slip away.

"For me, Game 7 is always going to haunt me," Duncan said.

It was a heart-breaking way to end it for these Spurs, who were 21 seconds from title No. 5 when everything went wrong in Game 6. James hit a 3 and Ray Allen hit another with 5.2 seconds to go to tie it, and the Heat outlasted the Spurs in overtime to force a Game 7.

"It's such a fine line between celebrating and having a great summer with now feeling like crap and just so disappointed," Ginobili said.

Now, once again, they will face proclamations of their demise. Only this time, it may be harder to hold those off.

Duncan is 37, but coming off an All-NBA First Team season and a vintage performance in the finals. The 31-year-old Parker is nearing his apex after one of his finest seasons. But Ginobili will turn 36 next month and will be a free agent, perhaps marking the end of the three-person core that helped put the Alamo City on the NBA map, and keep it there for 10 years.

"I couldn't love our guys more," Popovich said. "What they accomplished this year was something nobody ever expected. They showed a lot of mental toughness and a lot of good play to get where they got. I couldn't be more proud of them."

They gave it their all, these Spurs. But in the end, James was just too much, and a prophecy came to be.

Back in 2007, when the Spurs swept James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the franchise's fourth title, Duncan found the young superstar for a quiet moment to tell him that the league would one day be his.

Now James has four MVPs, two Olympic golds and back-to-back titles on his resume. Duncan has been right so many times throughout his career. This time, it's at his expense.

The questions begin now. Will Ginobili return? Can Duncan keep turning back the clock? And does the 64-year-old Popovich have another year left in him?

Parker chafed when asked if he thought this was the last run with this group.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - J. Lester 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Boston
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Ottawa 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Carolina 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
Dallas
Colorado 8:00 PM
Calgary
Los Angeles 9:30 PM
San Jose
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close