LeBron James and his Miami Heat have successfully won the NBA Finals and as a result are now repeat champions. Looking like a long shot to recapture the title during the second half of game six, the Heat were able to take advantage of their opportunities and earn the right to continue to call themselves NBA champions.
The final score reads 95-88, a close score fitting for a series such as this. The best NBA Finals in recent memory, both teams did wonders for the future popularity of the sport by producing a competitive series that embodied an incredible amount of respect and sportsmanship. This is what professional sports are supposed to be, the best athletes in the world giving everything they have to win, yet doing it in a way that doesn’t showboat or put down the loser. Neither team was a loser in this series, both greatly helped the sport they love with their efforts.
The win validates LeBron and the Miami Heat’s place among the greats of the basketball world. Facing another off season full of criticism and questioning should they have lost, LeBron and the Heat proved up to the challenge, and instead have made it much harder for anyone to be a critic moving forward.
Coming up huge in one of the biggest moments of his career, LeBron James lead all scoring with 37 points on the night. He was 12 for 23 from the field, and five for ten on three pointers. Efficient throughout the game, he made the Spurs pay for their defensive approach to him. Focusing on keeping James out of the lane and forcing him to shoot, James obliged and shot the ball early and often. He also grabbed 12 rebounds on the night.
The victory completes an incredible past year for ‘King’ James. Lebron has not only won repeat titles with the Miami Heat, but he has also earned an Olympic gold medal as well. Such accomplishments aren’t the result of talent alone in his mind. Explaining how he has come to play at the level he has, the back to back NBA Finals MVP told reporters that “I work on my game a lot throughout the offseason. I put a lot of work into it and to be able to come out here and [have] the results happen out on the floor is the ultimate. The ultimate. I’m at a loss for words.”
For the San Antonio Spurs the game 7 loss is the epitome of a series that slipped through their fingers. So incredibly close to capturing their fifth title of the Tim Duncan era, the game 6 loss is one that surely will sting for years to come. Just two days after that devastating loss in game 6, the Spurs were never able to get in a rhythm and capture that elusive fifth title. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker are all heading towards the twilight of their illustrious careers, so one has to wonder if we have seen the dominant trio in an NBA Finals series for the last time.
After the game, the teams had nothing but respect for each other, recognizing the beauty that this series brought to the table. Players and coaches alike hugged and conversed with each other following the conclusion of the game, and although their emotions were obvious, they were able to put that aside and realize they all were a part of something special.
Dwyane Wade, who earned his third championship ring last night, had nothing but praise for his competition afterwords. “It took everything we had as a team,” he said. “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.”
No NBA franchise has won a game 7 in the NBA Finals on the road since Washington defeated Seattle in 1978.
The Miami Heat and LeBron James have solidified their place among the all time greats of the game by repeating as champions. LeBron also doesn’t have to worry about recalling his Nike shoe that released earlier in the week. The insole of that shoe reads ‘2 time champion’ and would have looked awful silly had his team lost last night.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express