Tony Parker has certainly made more ridiculous shots in his lifetime.
The man has made a career out of wild floaters, spinners in the lane, points in the paint that typically belong to big men, and long jumpers that make his head coach cringe. And as obviously injured and winded as Parker appeared to be in the second half of Tuesday’s Game 6 NBA Finals loss to the Miami Heat, many in the moment thought that Parker’s jumper at the buzzer of regulation still had a great shot to go in.
Mainly because this is Tony Parker, noted slayer of giants, that we’re talking about. Alas, it was not to be. Watch:
Parker’s jumper, as ABC color analyst Jeff Van Gundy noted in the broadcast, “wasn’t even close.” It still wasn’t a bad look, considering the circumstances.
San Antonio was without a timeout with 5.2 seconds left in regulation, and mindful of this (following the previous Ray Allen three-point make) the Spurs attempted to immediately push the ball into play while taking advantage of a recovering Miami Heat defense. Referee Mike Callahan, though, decided to stop the ballgame to check to see if Allen’s feet were behind the three-point arc, a move that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich vehemently disagreed with, yelling “you can’t do that” to the refereeing crew as they stopped San Antonio’s attempt at putting the ball into play.
San Antonio – and pay attention to this, all you wack-job NBA conspiracy theorists – then countered with a massively illegal move of its own that the refereeing crew allowed.
[Related: Did Popovich cost Spurs victory in Game 6?]
The Spurs entered Tim Duncan back into the game while Allen’s shot was being reviewed. Teams are not allowed to substitute players during referee reviews, because reviews aren’t technically a dead ball situation.
Think about that. Tim Duncan could have capped a legendary career with a game-winning shot to win the 2013 NBA Finals, and it wouldn’t have even been legal. And there wouldn’t have been anything the referees – considering the NBA’s current in-game rules regarding mulligans – could have done about it.
Once again, put that in your pipe, conspiracy lovers. The Spurs were allowed to re-introduce their best player into the game illegally in the game’s final seconds. This refereeing crew made some significant mistakes in Game 6, but not because they were trying to tilt the action one way or the other. They just screwed some calls up.
[Related: Heat feast on late-game miscues]
More important is the state of Parker, who played more than 42 minutes in the loss with a hamstring pull, and was obviously tripping over his own dragging tongue by the time the third quarter ended. Tony ended up missing all three of his shots in overtime and clanking on 17 of 23 shots overall, and if he’s unable to drive the San Antonio offense in Game 7, then it may not even be worth it for the Spurs to drive to the arena.
Though they will. And Parker will try. And we’ll get a Game 7, to see if Tony can try to nail another game-winner.
(With legal players on the court, this time, we hope.)
NBA Finals coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• LeBron keys big-time Heat rally
• Watch: Allen's three bails out Miami
• Green's shot blocked at the buzzer
• Mike Miller dominates while shoeless