Today in Sports History: June 18, 2013

On June 18, 2013, the LeBron James and Dwyane Wade-led Miami Heat prevailed to win a dramatic overtime Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, 103-100, evening the series 3-3. As James said after the game: “It’s by far the best game I’ve ever been a part of.” 

With 28.2 seconds remaining in regulation of Game 6, the Spurs had a comfortable five-point lead and were very close to being able to celebrate as the 2013 NBA champions. The ball was inbounded to James, who attempted a three-pointer that rimed out, before the loose ball was then tipped around and eventually kicked back out to him — James fired another “three ball” that this time went in. On the Spurs’ next possession, Kawhi Leonard was fouled, and sunk just one of two free throws. The Heat were left with one more opportunity to save themselves from elimination and to send this game into overtime. James attempted the game-tying three-pointer — a miss, but Chris Bosh grabbed the offensive rebound and quickly kicked it out to Ray Allen, the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers made. Allen knocked down what now stands as one of the most pivotal three-point baskets in NBA history. Miami prevailed in overtime of Game 6 and they wound up winning the deciding Game 7 and their second consecutive title. 

James played some of the best basketball of his career in 2012-13. He won his second consecutive league MVP award in 2012-13 and the fourth of his career. Throughout the 2012-13 regular season, James averaged 26.8 points per game, 8 rebounds per game, and 7.3 assists per game. In capturing his second consecutive championship and second consecutive Finals MVP, James averaged 25.3 points per game, 10.9 rebounds per game, and 7 assists per game throughout the 2013 Finals series. In the hardwood classic Game 6, James finished with 32 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds. In Game 7, another thriller, James led the way with 37 points and 12 rebounds and was certainly much warmer from three-point range. 

Ray Allen, a 10-time NBA All-Star, and a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, was near the end of his career by 2012-13. He had won a championship in the prime of his career with the Boston Celtics in 2007-08. By 2012 when he signed with the Heat, Allen was more of a role player at this point. Allen’s game-tying three-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals turned out to be Miami’s literal championship-saving shot. 

The Popovich-guided Spurs, led by Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and the young-and-emerging Kawhi Leonard, got their revenge in their 2014 NBA Finals rematch against the Heat. Allen retired following the 2013-14 season. During free agency of 2014, James decided to “take his talents” back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the franchise that drafted him in 2003. James would lead the Cavaliers franchise to their first-ever NBA championship in 2015-16, claiming his third Finals MVP in the process. James, who decided to sign with the historic Lakers franchise amid free agency of 2018, led them to their most recent title in 2019-20 and claimed his fourth Finals MVP.

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