Shane Battier After Clutch Game 7: 'Reports of My Demise Were Premature'

Mike Walsh@WalshWritesCorrespondent IJune 21, 2013

Miami Heat reserve forward Shane Battier wants you to know that he is indeed still relevant. 

Of course, there are few better ways to get one's point across than going 6-of-8 on three-pointers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

It wasn't just the threes, though; Battier's entire game appeared rejuvenated when the stakes were at their greatest. Erik Spoelstra realized it as much as anyone. He played his savvy veteran 29 minutes, fourth-most on the team in Game 7. Battier was on the floor for one minute more than Chris Bosh (0-of-5, zero points).

Battier posted a game-high mark of plus-12. He also picked up four rebounds, an assist and a steal. The only shots he took were threes, shooting 6-of-8 from the field overall.

The 34-year-old veteran of 12 NBA seasons was largely written off in the series. He saw only single-digit minutes for the first four games against San Antonio, but played 18 and 13 minutes in Games 5 and 6, respectively. In those two he was a combined 5-of-10 from three-point land, upping Spoelstra's confidence in him for Game 7.

Still, the last time Battier scored in double digits was Game 2 in the opening round against the Milwaukee Bucks.

He finished with 10 points in that one and averaged 24.5 minutes per game in the series. He was over 20 minutes per game again in Round 2 against the Chicago Bulls, but started to be phased out during the Eastern Conference Finals. Battier earned a DNP-coach's decision in Game 7 of that series.

By the time the Heat strolled into the 2013 NBA Finals, Battier was shooting a miserable 22.9 percent (14-of-61) from beyond the arc in the postseason. 

But the career 38.7 percent three-point shooter was bound to even off at some point. Luckily for the Heat, that point came during Game 7 against the San Antonio Spurs.

Battier accepted the confetti shower after contributing 18 points to his team's 95-88 victory. Without those buckets, the Heat likely would have fallen, losing the series and kicking off an offseason of question marks.

For Battier in particular, it would have been a tough summer. He has one year remaining on his contract, which will pay him $3.27 million next season. After his clutch performance Thursday night, it is safe to say the Heat feel a lot more comfortable bringing him back for one more year.