San Antonio Spurs sharpshooter Danny Green has had an unbelievable 2013 NBA Finals, setting a new record for the most three-pointers in a championship series and making a much greater name for himself in the process. It's been enough to get the Miami Heat to notice his skills. In the lead-up to Tuesday night's Game 6, big man Chris Bosh said that the Heat would not let Green stay open for the rest of the series.
On the last play of the game, Bosh kept his word. With the Heat up 103-100 and 1.9 seconds left in overtime, the Spurs ran a play to get Green a look from the far corner that would have tied the game. (There were some similarities to Manu Ginobili's game-winning shot in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Golden State Warriors.) However, Bosh tracked the pass, closed out on Green, and managed to block the shot for one of his several big defensive plays down the stretch. The Heat held on to win, and the two teams will meet again on Thursday for a decisive Game 7.
The block was immediately met with some speculation as to whether Bosh had fouled Green. Join us after the jump for a screengrab of the contact (via Erik Malinowski) and more discussion of the play.
In the aftermath, ESPN on ABC commentator Jeff Van Gundy noted that this play would have been called as a foul at any other moment in the game. As this image shows, Bosh got ball up top, but it does not communicate the force with which he hit Green's body. Yet, while the letter of the law suggests this should have been a foul, NBA referees have always called the game based on situation. Simply put, defenders get more leeway on game-deciding plays. That's why Van Gundy also said he liked the non-call, and why most of the outcry after this block was limited to pro-Spurs observers.
Regardless, the result of the play ensures that Bosh's terrific effort in the fourth quarter and overtime will be remembered for some time. Despite his importance to the Heat, Bosh has been derided often for perceived soft play and difficulties protecting the rim. In Game 6, he covered several Spurs all over the court and helped ramp up the Heat's defensive intensity with their season on the line. This block — his biggest play of the night, surely — was just the best expression of his stellar performance.