LeBron James and the Miami Heat not only solidified their place in NBA history with victory in Game 7 of the NBA Finals Thursday night, but by repeating they did something no other team has ever done in defeating the San Antonio Sours in the championship round. Like Game 6 the other night it was not only among the best NBA Finals games ever, but among the best NBA Finals series ever in the history of the NBA with another game that came down to the last minute before victory was decided between the Heat and Spurs in the Heat’s thrilling 95-88 victory.
James really earned the respect from me, a lot of the rest of the media and many of his other critics by finally stepping up in the grandest stage of all with that defining Hall of Fame type historic game that people remember you yours from now with his 37 points and 12 rebounds on 12-for-23 from the field that included 5-for-10 from 3-point range and 8-for-8 from the line. He did all of that down the stretch while also helping keep Tony Parker in check on the defensive end and hitting the shot that would seal a Game 7. It doesn’t get any better than that in sports and why he’s now the unquestioned leader of this Heat team, as well as the best player in the world and was without a doubt the Finals MVP. Joining the great Michael Jordan and Bill Russell as the only players in the history of the league to win back-to-back Finals MVP and regular season MVP awards.
As Tim Duncan who had 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs, but missed a potential game-tying shot and follow back with about 50 seconds left put it, “You just got to give credit to the Miami Heat. LeBron James was unbelievable. Dwyane was great. I think they just found a way to get it done. We stayed in the game. We gave ourselves opportunities to win the game. We just couldn’t cut that corner.”
And that they couldn’t, as despite efforts from Manu Ginobili with 18 points, Duncan with his effort, but even more so Kawhi Leonard with his 19 points and 16 rebounds really kept the Spurs in it several times in the fourth when they looked down and out before James and the Heat finally finished them off for good in the final minute of the fourth after Duncan’s missed sequence to tie it.
This was such a great series from both teams that really left you wanting more and Dwyane Wade, who was a huge factor with his 23 points in capturing his third title put it best with this quote, “It took everything we had as a team. Credit to the San Antonio Spurs, they’re an unbelievable team, an unbelievable franchise. This is the hardest series we ever had to play. But we’re a resilient team and we did whatever it took.”
James probably wouldn’t admit it, but he’s probably thrilled now to have a little bit of time off after going a very rigorous past two years that saw him not only help the Heat win two titles starting with the rigors of that ultra-compacted 66-game schedule last season, but go right into training with USA Basketball and eventually helping that team win a gold medal at the London Olympics. After that, he took about two weeks off, then starting getting ready for this season, which went all the way down to the last possible day.
Now James can finally get some rest and we end the season on such a high note that leaves with very great prospects for a possibly even greater NBA season next year when things get started back up around October for next season, as James and Miami’s Big Three will try to stay atop and build on their possible legacy and dynasty by going for the rare feat of a three-peat.