LeBron forces Game 7 with all-around gem

Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports

Tim Duncan (left) started out hot in Game 6, but LeBron James turned up the Heat in the fourth quarter and overtime to force a Game 7 on Thursday in Miami.The Miami Heat staved off elimination with a thrilling 103-100 overtime win over the San Antonio Spurs, behind a clutch 3-pointer from Ray Allen and an all-around masterpiece from LeBron James.

Let’s take a look at how this went down.

Key Plays

Allen tied the game with 5.2 seconds left, his fifth postseason game-tying or go-ahead 3-pointer in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime. That’s the most by any player in the past 15 postseasons. Robert Horry and Reggie Miller are the only other players with multiple such shots in that span.

It was the second 3-pointer after an offensive rebound for the Heat in the final 20.1 seconds (James made it a two-point game after his miss was rebounded by Mike Miller).

Chris Bosh struggled defensively early on; Tim Duncan shot 9-for-9 with Bosh defending him in the first half. After halftime, Bosh pulled down six rebounds, none bigger than the offensive rebound that led to Allen’s game-tying 3-pointer.

He also blocked the Spurs’ final two field-goal attempts of the game, both in overtime, including a potential game-tying 3-point attempt by Danny Green at the buzzer.

All-Around Domination

The MVP had 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, his 11th career postseason triple-double -- tied for second-most all-time, according to the Elias Sports Bureau -- and his fourth in the NBA Finals (only Magic Johnson has more, via Elias).

Triple-Double in Elimination Game NBA Finals History

In fact, the past four NBA Finals triple-doubles have been recorded by James.

He joins an illustrious list of players to register a triple-double in an NBA Finals elimination game (see chart on the right) and he’s just the fourth in history with a 30-10-10 game in the NBA Finals, according to Elias.

And he came alive late, scoring 18 points in the fourth quarter and overtime after scoring just 14 in the first three quarters combined.

The Other Superstar

Tim Duncan came out firing on all cylinders, scoring 25 points on 11-for-13 shooting in the first half, the most he’s ever scored in the first half of an NBA Finals game. Over the past 15 seasons, only Allen Iverson in 2001 and Ray Allen in 2010 scored more in the first half of a finals game.

Tim Duncan By Half in Game 6

His 25 points were the same as the rest of the team combined and more than Miami’s Big 3 (21 points combined). But the rest of the game was a different story.

He attempted only eight shots after halftime, making just two of them, and scoring five points in the second half and overtime.

A Rare Loss for Spurs

The Spurs led 94-89 after Manu Ginobili hit a free throw with 28.2 seconds remaining, but were outscored 6-1 the rest of the fourth quarter. Over the past 15 postseasons, teams win 98.6 percent of the time when leading by exactly five points with between 20 and 30 seconds left.

Looking Ahead to Game 7

The Heat’s win came exactly seven years to the day after they beat the Dallas Mavericks in overtime in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Two days later, they won their first NBA title.

The Spurs can look to the 1974 Boston Celtics, who are the only team to lose Game 6 of the NBA Finals in overtime. They came back to beat the Milwaukee Bucks on the road in Game 7 and win the NBA title.