Heat’s LeBron James: Game 6 was ‘by far the best game I’ve ever been a part of’
MIAMI — LeBron James has the basketball equivalent of a photographic memory, as he is able to recall sequences with remarkable accuracy following a game and can remember results of games years after they took place.
Tuesday’s Game 6 between the Heat and Spurs marked the 902nd game (regular season and playoffs) of James’ career, and the man that never forgets a shot or outcome declared afterward that none of those other 901 games can compare to the drama offered during Miami’s 103-100 overtime victory.
“It was by far the best game I’ve ever been a part of,” James said, after tallying his second triple-double of the 2013 Finals. “The ups and downs, the roller coaster, the emotions, good and bad throughout the game. To be a part of something like this is something you would never be able to recreate once you’re done playing the game. I’m blessed to be a part of something like this.”
The Heat trailed by 10 points entering the fourth quarter, in large part because James couldn’t get going offensively. With San Antonio leading the series 3-2 and Miami’s season hanging in the balance, James upped the intensity on both ends, losing his headband as he helped key a rally.
The final minutes of the fourth quarter went back and forth, with Tony Parker setting up the Spurs for a title with a step-back three, a steal and a jumper. Manu Ginobili then hit three free throws to make it a five-point San Antonio lead with less than 30 seconds remaining.
The action only increased from there: James hit a three-pointer with 20 seconds left, Kawhi Leonard split a pair of free throws and Ray Allen hit a game-tying three with just 5.2 seconds remaining. Meanwhile, the court was already being prepared for San Antonio’s trophy presentation, and a number of Heat fans had already left the area, thinking that the home team’s season was over.
Miami, of course, would go on to win in overtime. James finished with a game-high 32 points (on 11-for-26 shooting), 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
“We saw the championship board already out there, the yellow tape,” James said. “That’s why you play the game to the final buzzer. That’s what we did tonight. We gave it everything we had and more.”
The talk will soon turn to Game 7, set for Thursday in Miami. That game will offer James the opportunity to win the second title of his career. On Tuesday, all he wanted to do was bask in an instant classic.
“The emotions, the ups and downs, us being up, us being down,” James said, expounding on his “best ever” declaration for Game 6. “More than anything, just our mental toughness to make it almost look like the game was out of our hands and to come through victorious. To be a part of something like this, once you’re done playing this game, you would never be able to recreate a feeling like I had, we had, the fans had, you guys had, people at home. Never be able to recreate that. I’m just blessed I could be a part of such an unbelievable moment.”