LeBron lost his headband.
Pop lost his head.
Onto Game 7 we go.
The NBA season comes down to a one game Thursday night, the final countdown between a team given a reprieve from the executioner, and a team that dropped the axe when it had a chance to move in for the kill.
Long live the Miami Heat, your 2013 NBA champions.
I don't see how the San Antonio Spurs recover from their epic implosion in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Every game of these NBA Finals has morphed into its own theme. There is very little carry-over from one game to the other.
But this one feels different.
The Spurs werethisclose to celebrating their first NBA title since 2007. NBA officials had already rolled out yellow tape to block off the court in preparation for the trophy presentation.
The yellow tape quickly took on the feel of a crime scene. The Heat stole one Tuesday night; the Spurs the victim of their own carelessness.
A five-point lead in the final minute of regulation vanished. A missed free throw by Manu Ginobili, and then a miss by Kawhi Leonard. Two huge offensive rebounds setting up Heat 3s. Spurs shattered.
Nobody saw it coming, including thousands of pseudo-Heat fans who had left the building and scrambled back, knocking on doors, wanting to get back in so they could pretend to care again. Shallow Hal would be proud.
"We were a few seconds away from winning the championship and we let it go," Ginobili said. "It hurts because it's one of those moments where you're going to be thinking about what we could have done better in the last few possession so many times all night long, all tomorrow until the next game.
"I have no clue how we're going to be re-energized. I'm devastated. But we have to. There's no Game 8."
What does Gregg Popovich have in his post-devastation game plan? For all his ornery greatness as a coach, Pop screwed this one up big-time by getting too cute with matchups. He took Tim Duncan out for Miami's last possessions in regulation, and it backfired with those offensive rebounds against an overmatched Spurs lineup.
And then there's the decision not to foul at the end of regulation with a 3-point lead.
"That's a European question, right?" Popovich responded, with a sarcastic smile. "We don't (do that in the NBA)."
If the Spurs lose the series, their misery will resonate in all the seven continents.
The truth is, we shouldn't be having this conversation. If the Spurs don't implode -- ABC commentators Michael Wilbon and Magic Johnson prefer the word "choke" -- the ESPN crawler would be giving us ad nauseam updates on the Heat meltdown.
It was looking epic, and scripted perfectly for all the Heat haters. LeBron James -- who played possessed after he lost his headband in the second half -- committed two turnovers in the final minute of regulation.
The name "LeChoke" was about to be etched in NBA lore again until the Spurs bailed him out, with a lot of help from Ray Allen, as "Jesus Shuttlesworth" delivered the Immaculate Three for the Heat.
"If we were going to go down now, tonight, we're gonna do it with me leaving everything on the floor," James said. "I think losing the headband at that point was the least of my worries."
LeBron still took quite a bit of abuse in cyberspace after he lost his headband. Lots of people had fun with #LebronsHeadband, paying homage to the headband and LeBron's hairline.
Lost in all the jokes about LeBron's receding hairline was the diminishing lead for the Spurs that eventually vanished altogether.
Now, it's very likely we will see the Big Three deliver on their promise of multiple titles.
The question now becomes: What do the Spurs have left, physically and emotionally, to stop that from happening?
Call it a European question if you must, but a very legitimate one as the ball rolls out for Game 7 Thursday night.