RepHEAT! LeBron, Heat earn back-to-back NBA titles with Game 7 win
BY JOE COWLEY email@example.com June 20, 2013 10:41PM
The Miami Heat react after overtime of Game 6 of the NBA Finals basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Wednesday, June 19, 2013 in Miami. The Heat defeated the Spurs 103-100. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Updated: June 21, 2013 12:32AM
MIAMI — The San Antonio Spurs wanted to make LeBron James a jump-shooter first and foremost.
They wanted him to have the ball in his hands for the fourth quarter, sink or swim.
They wanted to see if James was really fit to wear the crown, now and for years to come.
‘‘I want to go down as one of the greatest,’’ James said heading into Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. ‘‘I want our team to go down as one of the greatest teams.’’
That can be debated another day. Talk of legacy, signature moments, all of that can be dissected in the coming months.
What must be talked about now is James putting his teammates on his shoulders in Game 7 and delivering them to a second consecutive NBA title.
Behind James’ 37 points, including a step-on-the-throat moment when he made a jumper with 27.9 seconds left, the Miami Heat repeated as champions by defeating the Spurs 95-88 at the American Airlines Arena.
Dwyane Wade scored 23 points to go with 10 rebounds, though Chris Bosh, the third member of the Heat’s ‘‘Big Three,” went scoreless for the night.
James was named Finals MVP for the second consecutive year. The Heat is the first repeat winner since the Los Angeles Lakers did it in 2009 and ’10.
‘‘The vision I had when I decided to come here is all coming true,’’ James said. ‘‘To be able to win back-to-back championships is an unbelievable feeling.’’
James, who worked on his outside jumper over the last few offseasons, went 5-for-10 from beyond the three-point line.
‘‘It’s probably unique for a guy who has been the best in the game since he was in seventh grade — usually you wouldn’t have the type of work ethic that would match that type of talent,’’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ‘‘The biggest game, the biggest moment, those are the shots that he hit. And those were the difference.’’
While the Spurs helped deliver one of the more memorable NBA Finals in years, it was too much to ask them to take Game 7 on the road when they were six seconds — and a Ray Allen three-pointer, — away from winning Game 6.
‘‘In my case, I still have Game 6 in my head,’’ Spurs veteran guard Manu Ginobili said. “Being so close and feeling that you are about to grab that trophy and then seeing it vanish is very hard.’’
Ginobili played like it, with two more crucial turnovers in the final minutes. He finished with 18 points. Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 24 points and 12 rebounds.
Much like the regular season, the night belonged to James.
‘‘The story has yet to be seen on what [James] ends up with,’’ Wade said. ‘‘What he brings every night is unbelievable.’’