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Ray Allen of the Miami Heat shoots before (Credit: Getty Images)

Ray Allen of the Miami Heat shoots before Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. (June 19, 2013)

Close but no cigar: Famous sports collapses

The San Antonio Spurs were on the cusp of winning the NBA Finals in Game 6, but were unable to seal the deal in the last minute. They are not the first team unable to close a series or win a championship despite having a chance late.

2013 NBA FINALS, San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami
(Credit: Getty Images)

2013 NBA FINALS, San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat
San Antonio led the game by five points with 28 seconds remaining and seemed ready to win their fifth NBA Championship. The Heat, however, capitalized on missed free throws from San Antonio and three-pointers from LeBron James and Ray Allen to tie the game with a 6-1 run. The Heat finished off the win in overtime, forcing a deciding Game 7. |

2013 NHL PLAYOFFS, Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston
(Credit: AP)

2013 NHL PLAYOFFS, Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins
Entering 2013, Toronto's last series win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs was in 2003-04. Despite trailing the series 3-1, Toronto recovered and looked like a sure winner in Game 7, holding a 4-1 lead in the third period. Boston scored with 10:42 remaining to inch closer. In the final two minutes, the Bruins pulled their goalie and scored two goals to tie and force overtime. At 6:05, Boston scored again for the unprobable 5-4 win, starting a run that led them to the Stanley Cup Finals. |

2011 WORLD SERIES, Texas Rangers vs. St. Louis
(Credit: AP, 2011)

2011 WORLD SERIES, Texas Rangers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
At two separate times in Game 6 of the 2011 Fall Classic, Texas was one strike away from the franchise's first championship. Down 7-5 entering the ninth, the Cardinals put two aboard for David Freese with two outs. On a 2-2 pitch, Freese tripled to tie the game and force extras. In the tenth, Texas again took a two-run lead on a Josh Hamilton homer. But after allowing one run to score, the Rangers faced Lance Berkman (pictured) and were again one strike away from a championship. Berkman insterad tied the game with a single. St. Louis won Game 6 with a solo homer from Freese and later won Game 7 to collect their 11th World Championship. |

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2011 INDIANAPOLIS 500, J.R. Hildebrand In his first
(Credit: AP, 2011)

2011 INDIANAPOLIS 500, J.R. Hildebrand
In his first big race as a rookie IndyCar driver, Hildebrand put on an impressive show, maintaining his position on the lead lap and battling for first throughout the day. In the final laps, Hildebrand was able to stretch his fuel and avoid pitting, giving him the opportunity to take the lead with three laps left. It seemed he would become the first rookie to win the 500, but on the final turn of the final lap, Hildebrand slammed into the wall, allowing Dan Wheldon to pass and win. Hildebrand, his car in shambles, slid across the bricks to finish second. |

2004 ALCS, New York Yankees vs. Boston Red
(Credit: AP, 2004)

2004 ALCS, New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
No team in Major League history had ever overcome a 3-0 series deficit, leaving the Yankees in position to win their second straight ALCS over Boston. With a one-run lead in the ninth inning of Game 4, the Red Sox managed to manufacture a run after a David Roberts (pictured) steal and win the game in extras. After a 14-inning win in Game 5 and Curt Schilling's bloody sock in Game 6, the Red Sox captured the blew out the Yankees in Game 7, sending them to the World Series. Boston then won their first World Championship since 1908 against St. Louis. |

2003 NLCS, Chicago Cubs vs. Florida Marlins The
(Credit: AP, 2003)

2003 NLCS, Chicago Cubs vs. Florida Marlins
The Cubs have been left out of the World Series since 1945, but the team was on the brink of the Fall Classic in 2003. Chicago led 3-0 and was only five outs away from winning Game 6 and the series when Juan Pierre hit a double off starter Mark Prior. Luis Castillo then hit a 3-2 pitch high into left field, sending Cubs left fielder Moises Alou into foul territory. As the ball came down, Cubs fan Steve Bartman (pictured in headphones) reached in the way, making the ball unplayable for an irate Alou. Castillo was then walked, sparking an eight-run inning for the Marlins that signaled the Cubs demise. Florida won Game 7 by three runs and eventually won the World Series. |

2003 ALCS, Boston Red Sox vs. New York
(Credit: AP, 2003)

2003 ALCS, Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
With a 5-2 lead in Game 7, Red Sox manager choose to leave Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez on the mound to start the eighth. After hits to Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams, Little went to the mound to talk to his pitcher, ultimately leaving the tiring right-hander Martinez in the game to face the lefty Hideki Matsui. Martinez gave up two straight doubles to Matsui and Jorge Posada, allowing the Yankees to tie the game and force extra innings. The Yankees won the game on an Aaron Boone walk-off solo home run in the 11th inning. |

2001 WORLD SERIES, New York Yankees vs. Arizona
(Credit: AP, 2001)

2001 WORLD SERIES, New York Yankees vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Yankees went to the bottom of the ninth in Game 7 against Arizona with a 2-1 lead and Mariano Rivera on the mound. Rivera was attempting a two-inning save and was three outs away from a second straight World Series, as well as the fourth in five seasons. Things quickly unraveled for Rivera, who allowed a leadoff hit and then made a throwing error on a bunt. The Yankees made one out in the inning, but a Tony Womack double evened the score. After loading the bases, Rivera faced Luis Gonzalez (pictured) to decide the game. Gonzalez hit the ball softly over Derek Jeter's head to plate the winning run, earning Arizona its only World Championship. |

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1999 BRITISH OPEN, Jean van de Velde Van
(Credit: AP, 1999)

1999 BRITISH OPEN, Jean van de Velde
Van de Velde was the clear leader for the better part of Sunday at the 1999 Open Championship, but one hole soon defined Van de Velde's career. Stepping into the tee box on 18, Van de Velde led by three strokes. On a hole he had birdied twice that week, he needed to hit a double-bogey score of six or better to win the British Open. After an errant tee shot, he hit a wall near the grandstand with his second. He then hit into the water across the fairway, where he thought about playing his ball as it stood (pictured) befored dropping. He finished the hole with a triple-bogey and entered a playoff with Justin Rose and Paul Lawrie with Lawrie taking the title. |

1986 WORLD SERIES, Boston Red Sox vs. New
(Credit: AP, 1986)

1986 WORLD SERIES, Boston Red Sox vs. New York Mets
The Red Sox managed to take a two-run lead in the top of the 10th inning in Game 6 and had two outs before Gary Carter stepped to bat for the Mets. Singles by Carter and Kevin Mitchell brought Ray Knight to the plate. The Red Sox were one strike from winning with an 0-2 count on Knight, but Knight also singled, driving in Carter and advancing Mitchell to third. Mitchell then scored on a wild-pitch that nearly hit Mookie Wilson, tying the game. The Mets won on a grounder that snuck through the legs of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner, scoring Knight and Game 7. The Mets won the next game 8-5, earning their second title in franchise history. |

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