Heat coach Erik Spoelstra compares Patriots rally to Ray Allen ‘yellow rope’ game in 2013 Finals

 

 

Heat players and staff at Sunday's Super Bowl watch party in Minneapolis.
Heat players and staff at Sunday’s Super Bowl watch party in Minneapolis.

 

MINNEAPOLIS – For the Miami Heat, at least those around in June of 2013, the Patriots’ comeback Sunday in the Super Bowl brought back memories.

“It certainly reminded us of the yellow ropes,” coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Spoelstra was referring to the final seconds of Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals when the NBA ordered the yellow ropes be brought at AmericanAirlines Arena in the final seconds out to control the crowd as the San Antonio Spurs were preparing to celebrate the championship.

But then the most famous shot in Heat history happened as Ray Allen hit a corner 3 to tie the game with 5.2 seconds remaining and the Heat won in overtime. Miami then won Game 7 for its second consecutive title.

The Falcons were ready to celebrate their first Super Bowl win leading by 25 points late in the third quarter before Tom Brady led a stirring New England comeback that culminated in a game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion with less than a minute to play before the Patriots drove 75 yards on the opening possession of  overtime for a 34-28 victory and its fifth Super Bowl.

Udonis Haslem is the only member of the Heat that was on the team for their run of four consecutive Finals and back-to-back titles.

Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters at Super Bowl part.
Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters at Super Bowl party.

“It crossed my mind,” Haslem said about the comparison. “I saw the owner (Arthur Blank) on the sideline getting ready to celebrate but at the same time I was still engaged in the game still hoping Atlanta was going to pull it out.”

The Heat got together at a local restaurant in downtown Minneapolis to watch the game, with players and coaches witnessing the drama together.

Well, mos of them.

Goran Dragic, who is a bigger fan of futbol than football, said he was bored at halftime and left. He caught the second half in his room while talking with his family.

“It was a huge achievement for what the New England Patriots did and Brady,” said Dragic, who admitted he was rooting for the Falcons because they were the underdog.

Spoelstra has started thinking about more of these outings the last few years. This season the team has gotten together in Portland for a dinner at a restaurant in which Spoelstra is a part owner and Memphis for a Thanksgiving dinner.

“It just makes this life more memorable and more enjoyable,” he said. “You can get whatever you want out of it. It’s not necessarily to try to cultivate more wins but we’re going to be on the road, we’re going to be out there together, you want to make the season memorable and not just go through it like a robot.”

Haslem agreed.

“It’s always fun for us to get together and create those relationships and build an atmosphere,” he said. “I think that’s part of a winning foundation.”

While Haslem and Dragic were rooting for the Falcons, Hassan Whiteside was happy with the outcome.

“I had the Patriots winning,” he said. “I hadn’t watched a play this year but if I’ve learned anything, don’t bet against Brady. I thought it was going to take a miracle and Tom Brady showed himself.”

[Heat expected sign Okaro White to two-year deal, release Derrick Williams]

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The five best Game 7s in Miami Heat history

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The World Series is going to a decisive Game 7 tonight as the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians look to break their respective decades-long title droughts.

The Miami sports landscape has yet to experience a championship dry spell of those proportions — thankfully. But the Heat do have their own storied history with Game 7s, having played in several winner-take-all affairs in the franchise’s 28 years of existence.

Here are the five best Game 7s in Heat history:

5. 2004 Eastern Conference first-round series vs. New Orleans Hornets

The 2004 Heat closely resembled the present day squad, a group of players with no real established star that had the ability to provide consistent production on a nightly basis. In the first round of the playoffs, the Heat squared off against a Hornets team led by Baron Davis, who averaged 18.1 points and seven assists over the course of the series. After surrendering series leads of 2-0 and 3-2, the Heat found themselves with a Game 7 on their home court. Miami jumped out to a seven-point lead in the first quarter and never looked back, narrowly outscoring the Hornets over the final three quarters en route to an 85-77 win. Miami held Davis to just five points on 2-for-7 shooting, but Steve Smith was able to pick up some of the slack with a 25-point night. The Heat were led by Caron Butler’s 23 points and nine rebounds, while a young Dwyane Wade scored 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting while posting seven assists.

4. 2013 Eastern Conference finals vs. Indiana Pacers

Coming off of an NBA title the previous season, the Heat were considered favorites to repeat, but they almost didn’t get the opportunity after running into a talented young Pacers team. A 22-year-old Paul George averaged 19.4 points, six rebounds and 5.1 assists and center Roy Hibbert dominated to the tune of 22.1 points and 10.4 rebounds a game as the upstart Pacers took the defending champs to the brink. After dropping Game 2 at home, Miami regained home-court advantage in Game 3. Eventually facing a Game 7 at home, Miami stepped up defensively, allowing no Pacer to reach the 20-point mark and holding George to just seven points on 2-of-9 shooting. On offense, the Heat rode 53 combined points between Dwyane Wade and LeBron James to return to the finals.

Alonzo Mourning is restrained by Knicks Charles Oakley and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy (bottom) after Mourning and Knicks Larry Johnson brawled during the final seconds of Game 4 of the playoffs. (Staff photo by Allen Eyestone)
Alonzo Mourning is restrained by Knicks Charles Oakley and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy (bottom) after Mourning and Knicks Larry Johnson brawled during the final seconds of Game 4 of the playoffs. (Staff photo by Allen Eyestone)

3. 1997 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. New York Knicks

In what is still likely the most heated playoff series in franchise history, a matchup that came to a head when a full-scale brawl broke out in Game 5 (see image at right), Miami was able to overcome the Knicks in seven games. The Heat got great guard play out of Tim Hardaway and solid production out of center Alonzo Mourning as they fought to force a Game 7 despite going down 3-1 in the series. Coming into the decisive matchup with two straight wins, the Heat used their momentum to jump out to a 25-14 first-quarter lead. The Knicks scored 36 points in the final quarter to make the game close, but the Heat held on to win 101-90. Miami withstood a masterful performance from center Patrick Ewing, who scored 37 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, while the Heat were led by Hardaway’s 38 points, seven assists and five steals.

2. 2012 Eastern Conference finals vs. Boston Celtics

When the “Big Three” formed, one of the main goals that bonded each player was his desire to get past the Celtics in the playoffs. After achieving that feat the previous year, Miami found themselves again matched up with a motivated and revenge-driven Boston team, but the Heat had plenty of motivation themselves to return to the NBA Finals, having lost to the Mavericks the year before. In this series, Miami went down 3-2 as talk swirled about a potential breakup of the “Big Three” model. But the Heat would run away with Game 6 in Boston, setting up a deciding game at American Airlines Arena. Despite each Boston starter scoring in double-figures, Miami held Boston’s bench to only two points. The Heat got 31 from LeBron James, 23 from Dwyane Wade and another 19 from Chris Bosh as they pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 101-88 victory.

1. 2013 NBA Finals vs. San Antonio Spurs

In a game that delivered Miami its third championship in franchise history, the Heat outlasted the Spurs in one of the most evenly matched Finals of the 21st century. The Spurs featured its own classic trio of Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, while Miami’s “Big Three” of James, Wade and Bosh proved a formidable grouping in its own right. Game 6 ended with a furious Heat comeback, capped off by the improbable corner 3-pointer by Ray Allen that sent the game to overtime and ultimately helped the Heat get a season-extending win. Game 7 was a close contest throughout, and the Heat held a two-point edge heading into the final minute of play. After a missed hook shot and tip-in by Tim Duncan, Miami came down the floor and called a timeout. After the timeout, James scored two of his 37 points on an elbow jumper that gave the Heat a lead they would not surrender. Miami went on to win the title with their 95-88 Game 7 victory.

It’s been three years since Ray Allen’s clutch 3-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals

Ray Allen #34 of the Miami Heat makes a game-tying three-pointer over Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs in the fourth quarter during Game Six of the 2013 NBA Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena on June 18, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Ray Allen #34 of the Miami Heat makes a game-tying three-pointer over Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs in the fourth quarter during Game Six of the 2013 NBA Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena on June 18, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been three years since Ray Allen hit one of the most memorable shots in Miami Heat playoff history.

Today marks the three-year anniversary of the shot that helped the Heat win the NBA championship in 2013. Continue reading “It’s been three years since Ray Allen’s clutch 3-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals”