MIAMI – They brought out a big yellow rope and a small army of security guards to ring the court. There was a NBA title to be won. Perhaps. The San Antonio Spurs held a three-point lead with just 19.4 seconds remaining. Thousands of Miami Heat fans already fled into the night.
It was right there for the Spurs, who'd come here to eliminate the Heat, and that's when Gregg Popovich made a substitution.
In went Boris Diaw, 6-foot-8 and somewhat athletic. Out came Tim Duncan, 6-11 and 37 years old, but perhaps the greatest power forward of them all and certainly the greatest Spur. He owned 30 points and 16 rebounds at that moment. He was shown the bench anyway.
The Spurs like to switch off picks in those moments, like to be fluid and versatile, and Gregg Popovich is not a man prone to variation or sentimentality. So for the final two Miami possessions of the fourth quarter, Duncan was out.
Seconds later, a LeBron James shot bounced off the rim and high in the air. There were gasps from theRead More »from Gregg Popovich's substitutions open to second-guessing after Spurs' Game 6 NBA Finals loss