action:article | category:SPORTS0201 | adString:SPORTS0201 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Basketball » Celtics/NBA

June 21. 2013 12:04AM

James leads Miami past San Antonio for second straight NBA championship


From left, Miami's Dwyane Wade holds the Larry O'Brien Trophy, LeBron James holds the Bill Russell MVP Trophy and Chris Bosh and Norris Cole celebrate after their team defeated the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 to win the NBA Finals. (REUTERS/Joe Skipper)

MIAMI - LeBron James, his legacy as one of the game's greats now secure, led the Miami Heat to their second straight National Basketball Association (NBA) title on Thursday with a 95-88 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
James, the sport's biggest star playing at the peak of his powers, dominated the decisive seventh game of an epic series through a combination of athleticism, pinpoint shooting and sheer force of will.
The critics who slammed him when he left his former team Cleveland to join Miami in search of an elusive championship ring, then questioned his nerve when the Heat lost the 2011 Finals to Dallas, were silenced.
When it really mattered, in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a Game Seven decider, he scored a game-high 37 points and pulled in 12 rebounds.
"The vision that I had when I decided to come here is coming true," said James, who was also named Most Valuable Player of the Finals for the second year in a row.
"Through adversity, through everything we've been through, we've been able to persevere and win back-to-back championships. It's an unbelievable feeling."
Miami were the overwhelming favorites to take the title after winning a franchise-record 66 games during the regular season, including 27 in a row, the second longest streak in American professional sports.
But they met their match in San Antonio, an aging team who had collected four championships since 1999 but whose best days were supposedly behind them.
The Spurs were just seconds away from clinching the championship in Tuesday's sixth game before Miami staged an extraordinary comeback to win in overtime and force a winner-takes-all decider.
"It's no fun to lose, but we lost to a better team," San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich said. "And you can live with that as long as you've given your best.
"It was a great series, and we felt that. I don't know if 'enjoy' is the right word, but in all honesty, even in defeat, I'm starting to enjoy what our group accomplished already."
NBA Commissioner David Stern described the wildly fluctuating series as a "championship for the ages" which had "captivated a global audience" with its escalating drama.
Courtside tickets for Thursday's game were selling on the secondary market for up to $30,000 and the game lived up to all the hype with both teams fiercely contesting every possession.
Frenzy of excitement
The Spurs made a great start, opening up a seven-point cushion in the first quarter before Miami reeled them in then got their noses in front.
James shot 12-of-23 from the floor and drained five-three pointers while Dwyane Wade, who won a third title with Miami, had 23 points while Shane Battier, who was benched earlier in the series, played one of the games of his life, sinking six three-pointers from behind the arc.
"I believe in basketball gods. I felt they owed me big time," said Battier.
Tim Duncan had 24 points and 12 rebounds for San Antonio while Kawhi Leonard had 19 points but the Spurs were inconsolable after their loss.
They had led Game Six by five points with 28 seconds left, only to see the title ripped from their grasp when Miami won in overtime then carried the momentum in Thursday's game with the advantage of home court.
"The obvious word is 'disappointing.' It was a tough end to the game. I made some bad decisions, missed some shots," said Duncan.
"I don't know what to say. Just give credit to the Miami Heat. LeBron was unbelievable. Dwyane was great. I just think they found a way to get it done."
Despite trailling for most of the game, the Spurs were still within two points with less than 30 seconds to go but Duncan missed a routine layup then James nailed a jump shot and added two free throws.
James averaged 25.3 points during the Finals and joined Michael Jordan and Bill Russell as the only players to win the regular season and Finals MVP awards two years running.
Russell presented him with his trophy as confetti rained down from the ceiling of the South Florida stadium and fireworks exploded outside over the Miami skyline.
"This is the ultimate," James said.
"I can't worry about what everybody says about me. I'm LeBron James from Akron, Ohio, from the inner city.
"I'm not even supposed to be here. That's enough. Every night I walk into the locker room, I see a No. 6 'James' on the back, I'm blessed."


  • With revenues topping $9B and amid constant scandals, should the NFL lose its tax exempt status?
  • Yes
  • 91%
  • No
  • 9%
  • Total Votes: 1361
 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

Speedway Motorsports, Inc. driving fan experience initiatives, partners with Sporting Innovations

Undefeated Middleweight Antoine Douglas to take on Tilton's Jose Medina on October 24

UNH's Thompson takes leave of absence

Toronto Maple Leafs James van Riemsdyk still has plenty of room to grow after breakout season

Keene State hoops program mourns death of former teammate killed on duty

Keene State College alumnus killed in NYPD van crash on way to providing security for climate change march

Grantland.com: 15 Questions for San Antonio's Matt Bonner

Former KSC basketball player killed months after joining NYC police in patrol van crash

Speed and thrills at Kingston hydroplane races

NHMS, Miller Lite extend deal for another 3 years

NASCAR: Who the Vegas wise guys like heading into Loudon

Goalie Danny Tirone to enroll at UNH for second semester after star's suspension for domestic violence

'Smoke' blows into New Hampshire with the law in his rear-view mirror

Man found unconscious at Winchester Speedpark Saturday

Too young to drive, but old enough for NHMS

Police examine speed, possible horseplay in golf cart fatality

Mass. man, 27, dies in golf cart accident at The Links at Outlook

Hanover's Sarah Groff competes in the women's triathlon final during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Hanover Olympian in spotlight at Las Vegas Super Sprint

FHL makes it official, team planned for Berlin will play in North Adams, Mass. instead

Can NH soccer star Charlie Davies make a comeback?

Inside NIKEs secret sports lab; born in Exeter, now located in Oregon.

Concord Monitor decries gender pay gap in professional tennis

FHL franchise slated for Berlin may go to North Adams, Mass. instead

Eagles' Kelly says he learned his offense by studying defense while at UNH

Former Concord area youth baseball coach sentenced to 30 more years in prison

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!