Miami: In a span of just two days, the San Antonio Spurs when from being seconds away from winning their fifth NBA title to losing a heartbreaking game seven to the Miami Heat.
"The obvious word is disappointing," said Tim Duncan of the Spurs 95-88 loss late Thursday to the Heat, who won the NBA finals four games to three.
"Tough end to the game. I made some bad decisions, missed some shots. I don`t know what to say.
"We gave ourselves opportunities to win the game, we just couldn`t turn that corner. They made more plays down the stretch, that`s the bottom line."
Losing game seven was bad enough, but knowing they let the NBA title slip through their fingers in game six makes it even worse.
San Antonio was up by five points and appeared to have their fifth championship in hand when they allowed the Heat to tie the game in the final seconds and force overtime. Miami then went on to win 103-100 in the extra session, setting the stage for Thursday`s game.
"We`re really disappointed," said guard Tony Parker. "We had a great opportunity in game six. Tonight we did a great fight, but just couldn`t get over the hump."
Asked if their game six meltdown affected their confidence, Parker said, "No, I don`t think it matters. But after game seven, of course, you`re going to think about game six and how close we were.
"One free throw, one rebound. But I don`t think game six affected game seven."
San Antonio was trying to become the first team to win game seven of an NBA finals on the road since the 1978 Washington Bullets.
But they were unable to find an answer for playoff MVP LeBron James, who shredded their defense for 37 points, including five three pointers and 12 rebounds.
"LeBron was unbelievable," Duncan said. "He stepped up in this last game and he made enough shots to make us change our defense over and over again. We just couldn`t find a way to stop him."
The Spurs lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in last year`s NBA semi-finals, but came back this season to earn the number two seed behind Duncan`s best play in three years.
Try as he might, Duncan`s 37-year-old legs couldn`t carry the Spurs over the Heat.
"Probably for me game seven is going to haunt me," said Duncan, who scored 24 points but had a couple of missed shots from inside five feet in the final minute of Thursday`s contest.