Shane Battier saved his best for last. He averaged just 3.86 points per game in the playoffs leading up to Game 7, but capped it off with a pivotal performance in the decisive game.
The Miami Heat shooting guard went 6-of-8 from three-point land in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. He knocked down the first five threes he took and seemed to be stockpiling daggers to bury in the San Antonio Spurs‘ side. He wasn’t a huge factor leading up to the decisive game, but stepped up to the plate when it was his time to shine.
Battier earned more and more playing time as the series went on. It culminated over 28 minutes in which it felt like he couldn’t miss. His 18 points seemed to carry more weight than just 18 points.
There wasn’t enough room on the court to accommodate both him an Ray Allen. Allen didn’t register a point in Game 7, and credit Erik Spoelstra for sticking with the hot hand in Battier. Allen was the Heat‘s spot-up shooter up until the decisive game and for some reason, Spoelstra decided to let Battier do the dirty work. It was a great choice.
Battier summed it up perfectly in his post-game interview to when he said, “reports of my demise were premature.” After a physically and emotionally draining Game 6, Battier knew he would get an opportunity to step up for his team, and he did not disappoint.
Battier said, “I believe in basketball gods and I felt like they owed me.” Whether he was due or not, he certainly picked a good time to get it going.