The Miami Heat captured their second consecutive NBA title, but it wasn’t without first facing a challenge. Lead by LeBron James, Miami fought back a resilient San Antonio team that gave Miami fits all the way up to the final minute of the game. Yet, LeBron James stepped up once again, sealing Miami’s 95-88 victory Thursday night.
For the vast majority of the game, the Heat were the aggressors. Yes, it was a give-and-take game pretty much the whole way through, but the Spurs were responding, not setting the pace. In a way, San Antonio gave the series away in Game 6. They went from full steam ahead to backs against the wall in the seconds between the time the ball left Ray Allen’s hands and gracefully fell through the rim.
By Thursday night, both teams were clearly running on fumes. From sloppy play all-around to especially ugly performances courtesy of Chris Bosh (scoreless, 5 fouls), Tony Parker (3-12, 10 points), and Mike Miller (scoreless), it was apparent that exhaustion was prevalent for all players.
Then there’s Danny Green. The kid went from almost MVP to almost needing a diaper change in the fourth quarter. In fact, he didn’t look like the same person after Chris Bosh stuffed his shot like a turkey last game. Overwhelmed by the spotlight, his statline finished an inglorious 1-12, 2 turnovers, and a whopping 5 points.
But on the other end of the spectrum, Kawhi Leonard stepped up like no other Spur did to help Tim Duncan and keep his team stride by stride with Miami. He finished with a well fought for double-double, going 8-16, 19 points and 16 rebounds.
Yet, at the end of the game the Heat earned the victory. Dwayne Wade gutted through injury after injury to throw down 23 points, and Shane Battier hit six clutch 3s to add 18 of his own. LeBron James scored 37 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, guarded Tony Parker when needed and probably even helped sweep up after the game.
And finally, NorBel’s nerves are no longer a factor. When they needed him most, he put his team on his back and once again single-handedly willed his team to victory. The fade away he made to ice the game, yeah, that looked just effortless.
So, in the end, it was a fitting conclusion to an utterly fantastic series. The Spurs threw everything and then some at the Heat, but Miami showed resiliency, taking the upper hand and perhaps finally started laying the bricks to a budding dynasty.
A few more quick thoughts before signing out. NorBel made sure to remind the world that we hate him with his speech during the trophy presentation. And hate him we do. KG is probably very cross with Ray Allen right now. Cameras were wisely not on Chris Bosh, probably to avoid another champagne fiasco. Rashard Lewis has a ring. Juwan Howard has two.
We’ll see you next season folks.