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LeBron writes own legacy with Heat’s title repeat



CHAMP  The Miami Heat’s LeBron James, left, holding the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy and his Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award after Game 7 of the NBA basketball championship game against the San Antonio Spurs, Friday, June 21, 2013, in Miami. The Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 to win their second straight NBA championship. Former NBA player Bill Russell looks on. AP

MIAMI—Legacies are generally determined after the fact, written by others, imposed on the subject without their input. For the last three years, LeBron James has endured daily revisions to his legacy, a chorus of critics framing his career based on a single game, a single series, the shots that swished and those that missed, never waiting for a fuller picture to emerge.

James at last seized control of his own narrative on Thursday night, leaving nothing to chance and no more room for debate. He drove hard, shot brilliantly, scored every critical basket and finally pushed the Miami Heat past the San Antonio Spurs for a 95-88 victory in Game 7 of the NBA finals.

“For me, I can’t worry what everybody say about me,” James said on the championship stage, the red-and-white confetti raining all around him, the crowd shrieking in agreement.

A year after securing his first title, James claimed his second, with a 37-point, 12-rebound finale, closing out a taut series against the Spurs, who were seeking their fifth title with Tim Duncan.

“Every night I walk into the locker room and I see No. 6 with James on the back, I’m blessed,” James said. “So whatever anybody says about me, I got no worries.”

Trophy vanishes

The Heat join the Los Angeles Lakers as the only team to repeat in the post-Jordan era. They did it by becoming just the fourth team to win Games 6 and 7 at home after facing a 3-2 deficit.

“They played Hall of Fame basketball tonight,” Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich said of James and Dwyane Wade. “That’s some of the best basketball they both played at the same time throughout the entire playoffs, from what I saw.”

Duncan, one of the greatest big men to play the game, lost in the finals for the first time in his five appearances, and perhaps bowed off this stage for the final time. At age 37, he might not get another chance.

“I still have Game 6 in my head,” said Manu Ginobili, who scored 18 points. He added, “Being so close and feeling that you are about to grab that trophy and then seeing it vanish, is very hard.”

MVP chants

James hit a 17-footer with 5 minutes 37 seconds to play, staking Miami to an 83-77 lead. The Spurs got sloppy, passes by Tony Parker and Ginobili sailing out of bounds for turnovers. But the Spurs kept coming.

When James hit a jumper, Ginobili answered with a 3-pointer. When Shane Battier hit a 3-pointer for an 88-82 lead, Duncan countered with a 3-point play. After Wade sliced in for a layup, Kawhi Leonard responded with a 3-pointer.

With the Heat holding a 2-point lead and the pressure building, Mario Chalmers missed two free throws. Duncan, the four-time champion, missed two shots from close range.

With 39 seconds to go, the Heat’s lead stood at 90-88. James nailed an 18-footer to give the Heat a cushion, the crowd erupting as it connected. The MVP chants came next, as James finished off the game with two free throws.

Jordan and Russell

There was no diminishing the moment, its historic importance, its impact on the careers of everyone involved. Even James, who is constantly fighting against the notion that every game is a referendum on his legacy, readily admitted this would be “one of the biggest games, if not the biggest game, of my life.”

James finished 12 for 23 from the field, setting a finals career high with five 3-pointers.

David Stern, who is stepping down as commissioner next February, handed the trophy over for the 30th and final time, and handed the finals MVP trophy to James, his second straight. James joined Michael Jordan and Bill Russell—for whom the finals MVP trophy is named—as the only players to win back-to-back regular-season MVP awards and NBA titles.

James scored 28 points over the first three quarters. Apropos of the series, neither team could get any separation. The Heat led by 2 points after one quarter, by 2 points at halftime and by one point after three quarters.

Chalmers closed the third period with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer off the glass for a 72-71 edge.

Clutch shooting

Parker struggled through a miserable shooting night, shooting 3 of 12 for 10 points. Danny Green, whose brilliant 3-point shooting at times carried the Spurs in this series, also faltered, shooting 1 of 12 from the field for 5 points.

This time, the clutch shooting came from Battier, reprising his performance from last year’s finals. He scored 18 points, including six of eight 3-pointers.

This was just the fourth seven-game finals in the last 20 years, and was as riveting as any of them, for the personalities it featured and for the way it unfolded.

The Spurs and Heat alternated victories for six games, neither team able to shake the other. It opened with the Spurs stealing home-court advantage in Game 1, on Parker’s game-sealing circus shot. The next four games were decided by double digits—each team giving a momentary impression of dominance until the roles were suddenly reversed.

Leaving nothing to chance

Then came an epic Game 6—the Spurs closing within seconds of the title, the security ropes set and the trophy waiting in the wings. Then a Ray Allen 3-pointer, an overtime, a Heat victory, a celebration postponed, a series pushed to the nail-biting brink.

Just 48 hours had passed since that game, hardly enough time for anyone to regenerate emotionally or physically, or for the Spurs to get over a loss that Popovich plainly admitted was “devastating.”

There was no evident hangover, however, and no crisis of confidence on the San Antonio bench. Parker kept attacking. Duncan kept pushing his way to the rim. The Spurs leaped ahead by 7 points, fell behind by 6 points, erased the deficit and finally entered halftime down by a single basket, 46-44.

James and Wade left nothing to chance, asserting themselves early and combining for 29 points in the half. Duncan and Parker nearly matched them, with 23 points.

Most difficult thing

Whether it was fatigue or anxiety at work, everyone stumbled through the first quarter, shots clanking and passes flying where they shouldn’t. The Heat put together the first serious run, 11-1, built on three 3-pointers from Battier.

Two years ago, James and Wade suffered the indignity of watching the Dallas Mavericks celebrate a championship on their home court. Twelve months ago, the Heat cleansed their souls with their own championship party on the American Airlines Arena floor. Win again, and the feeling would last another year. Lose, and the doubts would swell once more.

“It’s never the same,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said earlier. “It’s always the most difficult thing you’ll ever do collectively.”


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Tags: Bill Russell , Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy , Lebron James , Miami Heat , NBA Finals , San Antonio Spurs

  • ilocos sur

    SIGE YAN ANG ATUPAGIN NIYO HABANG MARAMI KAYONG KABABAYAN NA NAGDURUSA SA BAHA, SA SAKIT, SA KAPABAYAAN NG GOBYERNO NINYO. ANG ORAS NINYO UBUSIN NIYO SA SPURS AT HEAT. BASKETBOLIN NIYO MGA MUKHA NIYO! HARHARHAR! PEACE!

    • uleeq mahdeeq

      SIGE YAN ANG ATUPAGIN MO!! HABANG MARAMI KANG KABABAYAN NA NAGDURUSA SA BAHA, SA SAKIT, SA KAPABAYAAN NG GOBYERNO MO. ANG ORAS MO UBUSIN MO SA PAKIKIALAM SA MGA FANS NG SPURS AT HEAT. BASKETBOLIN MO MUKHA MO! HARHARHAR! PEACE!

      • ilocos sur

        abnormal kayong dalawa ni mulen!

    • uleeq mahdeeq

      YARI KA PAG NABASA NI MULEN ANG COMMENT MO!!!! MAG SORRY KANA AGAD NOW KAY MULEN PARA HINDI KANA KANAIN NI MULEN

  • concernedofw02

    Coach Spo is just brilliant…

  • bagombong

    I don’t care, it’s not my team.

    • uleeq mahdeeq

      we also dont care about what you say, youre not a heat fan

  • RyanE

    By far, definitely the best season yet for Miami Heat! It has amassed several records for itself. Kudos to all fans of Miami Heat, and that includes me.. hehe

  • wawa2172

    Le Bron James is currently the greatest basketball player on the planet. He made history at nakataga na iyan sa bato same with Jordan, Russell and let us not forget Kobe who won several championship rings for LA Lakers. Le Bron is simply a dominating small forward whose built however could send the entire opposing team to wonder where his all around strength and abilities are coming. He can shoot in the perimeter, make booming dunks and 3′s and an accurate free throw shooter. He can assist, bring the ball, and awesome in defensive and offensive rebounds. Most of all he is consistently reliable in closing a game. Game 6 and 7 of the recent NBA finals marked the greatness of Le Bron James. His the best right now and no doubt about it. He is the real Man of Steel at hindi yung nag papangap na superman na si Howard of LA Lakers.

  • Paulstronghold

    Spurs had the “play” during the first 4 games, the ball passing is just superb, the teamwork excellent. I predicted a sweeping win but the Heat appears determined and their intensity of play and eagerness to win the championship is so strong. A big surprised to me is James during the 7th ultimate game who used to have a monicker for being “buwaya at hindi nagpapasa” (one man team) suddenly is a ball carrier, team player outside shooter at that. I am a Spur fan and coach Popovich is right they played their best but the Head simply played a much better game. No regret.

    • MULEN

      James used to be notorious for being “buwaya at hindi nagpapasa”? You’ve got to be kidding. Nah, for all intents and purposes, you just made it up. A fictitious description of James borne out of your wild imagination LOL.

      • Paulstronghold

        If you play basketball you know what i mean. Read some foreign sports commentaries and even among our locals, they too would agree with the label. That’s why he was never compared with legendary icons like jordan, Jerry West, among others. Not until this last 7th game did he showed himself a team player. Agree? LOL

      • MULEN

        Nah, you’re just a young fanboy, a neophyte to the game of basketball. And the worse thing is, the foreign sports commentaries you’re talking about don’t even exist. Here’s the dare. Provide the link that says extensively that James is a ballhog. And speaking of comparisons with the legendary icons? Just read some stuff on the internet. Yahoo, ESPN, SI. I tell you, a lot of articles-literally hundreds of them- talk about how he fares vis-a-vis the greatest of all time. Just don’t settle with what you read about the Spurs only. But i guess, you yourself ain’t a true Spurs fan, just a bandwagon James hater whose team now has gone fishin’ earlier LOL.

      • Paulstronghold

        Sige na nga…panalo ka na!

      • uleeq mahdeeq

        pabayaan mo si MULEN, ganyan yan hindi yan papatalo!!! gagawa at gagawa yan ng paraan para manalo sa debate!!! patalo ka nalang para tumahimik na at para hindi na magkaroon ng chance si MULEN mag reply, sabihin mo sige MULEN tama ka mali kami, sorry, yan ganyan

  • Tonypogi

    Although they are Miami fans because of Coach Spo, many of my friends had predicted the course of the NBA championship as early as the Heat/Pacers playoff. They said that Miami could dispatch the Pacers in no more tan five games but they will stretch it to seven so the NBA and the TV networks can earn money. Just try to imagine having no games for almost two weeks because the Spurs swept the Grizzlies and the Championship had already been scheduled to start in June 6. My friends also predicted that this will be Miami all the way and that there will be a split in Miami for the first two games, then a one game win in San Antonio, then the two game sweep in Miami. It happened in 1988 between the Lakers and Detroit, and in 2009 between the Lakers and the Celtics. The same was said for this championship. Where have you seen a championship series where more than 20 point spreads swung in both directions?

    • MULEN

      Nah, you’re just stating what’s in your mind. That friends stuff? You just made it up obviously. Opinyon mo lang yan bro. Takot ka lang kasi yung sinasabi mo borders on conspiracy theory.

    • uleeq mahdeeq

      wag kana makipagtalo kay MULEN, hindi ka mananalo, mag sorry ka nalang kay MULEN at sabihin mo siya tama at ikaw mali para tapos na debate



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