Three the hard way

Twenty-eight seconds rewrote the legacies of two teams in Game 6

Updated: December 10, 2013, 12:12 PM ET
By Brian Windhorst and Tom Haberstroh | ESPN The Magazine

Ray Allen, Tony ParkerCharles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/MCTAllen had made 3,208 three-pointers in his NBA career before he let this one fly.

Spurs 94, Heat 89 | 28.2 seconds

The first chords of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" are rattling through AmericanAirlines Arena, the bass notes imparting an appropriate sense of doom. Otherwise, the giant room is silent, save for the sound of scores of shoes shuffling on concrete steps.

Heat fans -- long, snaking streams of fair-weather Heat fans -- are leaving. Pat Riley, the team's president, is the only man standing in his section of Heat families, friends and employees, all stone-faced and in shock. Riley looks determined, but he's standing, because otherwise he would not be able to see the Heat bench for the dozens of fans in front of him surrendering their four-figure courtside seats for the exits.

The Spurs lead Game 6 of the NBA Finals by five points, Manu Ginobili having just split two free throws to complete an 8-0 run. Ahead three games to two, San Antonio is less than half a minute from the franchise's fifth title in the past 15 years. Tim Duncan wraps a giant hand around the top of Tony Parker's head and gives it a little shake, his way of rewarding him for sinking two chilling shots during the run.