Miami Heat's encore: Sink or soar?

MIAMI -- LeBron James is mentally and physically running on fumes, Dwyane Wade is now coping with two shot knees, and Chris Bosh is seeing vintage Tim Duncan post moves and bank shots in his sleep these days.

But none of that matters right now.

There will be time to recover in the offseason. At the moment, there's one game left for the Miami Heat this season. And it's Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night against the San Antonio Spurs with a title at stake.

The defending champion Heat and their polarizing Big Three are 48 minutes of basketball from budding dynasty validation. Or, the ultimate frustration.

That dichotomy has James coping with a triple-double of emotions coming off his triple-double on the court in a Game 6 overtime victory that turned back the Spurs and set up a winner-take-all sweepstakes for the NBA's ultimate prize.

It's enough to have a four-time league MVP seem as giddy about the circumstances as a rookie making his NBA debut.

"I'm going to be antsy, I'm going to be excited, I'm going to have some butterflies, I'll be nervous. Everything," James said Wednesday. "Nobody's body is feeling great at this point. For me, it's mind over matter, man. I'm hurting. But it doesn't matter. It's the last game of the season."

James is essentially operating on little to no sleep this week during a series in which he's averaged 42.7 minutes a game. Over 22 playoff games, he's played 915 total minutes -- which is nearly 200 more than Spurs guard Tony Parker.

But rest is the last thing on James' mind right now. Resilience is first and foremost, especially after how the Heat miraculously avoided elimination Tuesday night by rallying from a 13-point deficit in the second half. Miami's season seemed doomed when San Antonio led 94-89 with 20 seconds left before James and Ray Allen each nailed a clutch 3-pointer to force overtime in the eventual 103-100 victory.

Because the Heat survived Tuesday's scare, they feel ready to overcome any obstacle they'll face in Game 7 on Thursday. It's a familiar predicament for the Heat, who endured a similar seesaw series against Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals before finally overcoming the Pacers with a 23-point victory at home in Game 7.

Just as they did with the Pacers, the Heat have alternated wins with the Spurs through the first six games. But San Antonio has a few intangibles Indiana lacked at this level.

They start with four championships and a veteran core that has delivered a resounding answer to every adjustment and run the Heat have made throughout this thrilling series. The Heat used Wednesday to regroup mentally and physically. Despite being a win from reaching their goal, the mission was to avoid getting too far ahead of the moment.

"You can't start to think about any rewards -- you have to think about the task," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We've been in these situations before. It doesn't guarantee anything, but at least we've learned how to compartmentalize and just focus on the moment."

On Wednesday, that task included addressing Wade's worsening knee issues. Wade confirmed he had been dealing with swelling and stiffness in his left knee overnight after he collided with Manu Ginobili in the first half of Tuesday's game. Wade received treatment on the left knee during halftime and did not start the second half.

Wade returned early in the third quarter and finished with 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting in 37 minutes.

The knee Wade banged Tuesday was the same one he had surgically repaired last summer. But he's also struggled throughout the playoffs with a bruised right knee that has limited his play for nearly three months. At the start of the playoffs, Wade said just playing through the discomfort and pain to get through games was a major challenge.

But he also said he was determined to get through the 16 postseason victories necessary to win a title and then deal with the recovery needed for his knees after the season.

With 15 victories down, Wade has one to go.

"Whatever you have inside of you, you muster it up, you give it up," said Wade, who was scheduled for treatment on both knees throughout Wednesday and Thursday leading to Game 7. "It will be a total treatment day for my body. And mentally, you just cut everybody on the outside off. I'm confident that I'll get prepared enough to give my team what they need to give us a chance to win [Thursday]."

The Heat expect nothing less than the Spurs' best shot in Game 7. Tuesday marked the first time this postseason San Antonio failed to close out an opponent facing elimination. Each of the Spurs' previous three series ended with their getting road victories against the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies.

With the Heat adjusting their defense to take away open 3-point looks for San Antonio's shooters, Duncan capitalized on low-post opportunities and had 30 points and 17 rebounds in Game 6 with Bosh as his primary defender.

But Bosh withstood the early damage from Duncan and provided the stronger finish defensively. He posted his fourth double-double of the series with 10 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 39 minutes.

"You just have to stay with it," Bosh said of his perseverance in the Finals. "You're going to make some mistakes ... and put ourselves in a compromising position. We can't make those mistakes Thursday."

There's no more room for error for either team. Either the Spurs will win their fifth title of the Duncan era, or the Heat will come back from a 3-2 series deficit for the second consecutive season late in the playoffs to repeat as champs.

"I want to go down as one of the greatest; I want our team to go down as one of the greatest teams," James said. "Not many people win back-to-back championships. I said last year it was the hardest thing I've ever done, winning my first [title]. Last year doesn't even come close to what we've gone through in this postseason and in these Finals. I'm going to leave everything on the floor. Whatever happens, happens. I'll be satisfied with that."