"To be at this point with this team in this situation, where people every year continue to count us out, is a great accomplishment," said Duncan, his voice quivering in a rare show of emotion for the intensely private star. "To be in a Game 7 or be in a Game 6 and up one with two chances to win an NBA championship, that's tough to swallow."
Duncan had 24, 12 rebounds and four steals and Ginobili scored 18 points with five assists. But Tony Parker struggled with just 10 points on 3-for-12 shooting and the Spurs were left lamenting the Game 6 collapse that cost them their fifth title under coach Gregg Popovich.
"Being so close and feeling that you are about to grab that trophy and then seeing it vanish is very hard," Ginobili said. "I think that if we would've lost both games like this, I would be a little more up. But it's a tough feeling."
The Spurs were in it the whole game, down 90-88 with two minutes to go after a 3-pointer by Kawhi Leonard. But Duncan missed two point blank chances to tie and had a turnover in the closing minutes, and James went out and grabbed the title that was there for the taking after the Spurs let it slip away.
"For me, Game 7 is always going to haunt me," Duncan said.