MIAMI TWICE, HEAT REPEAT

LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Miami 568In what will go down as one of the greatest Finals in NBA history, the Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 in the pivotal Game 7 to claim their second consecutive title.

A virtuoso performance by LeBron James and a supporting cast of Dwyane Wade and Shane Battier that in the end proved too much for the battle-weary Spurs.

Back-to-back Finals MVP James, went for a game high 37 points to go with 12 rebounds and 4 assists, with three-time champion Wade netting 23 points and 10 rebounds. Veteran Battier was the x-factor, piling in 18 points on six 3-pointers.

It was a battle for the ages.

“It took everything we had as a team,” said Wade. “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.”

The Spurs, who had never lost a Finals series, were still reeling from a devastating Game 6 loss when they led by 5 points with 28 seconds remaining. As was fitting, Game 7 went down to the final minute of play.

With the Heat holding on to a slender 2-point lead, Duncan missed a layup with .38 seconds remaining that would have tied the game. On the next possession, LeBron James who was having a great shooting night from the field, scored a 16-foot jump shot to put the Heat up by 4 points. A James steal in the ensuing play sealed victory for the Heat.

“Last year when I was sitting up here, with my first championship, I said it was the toughest thing I had ever done,” said James. “This year I’ll tell last year he’s absolutely wrong.  This was the toughest championship right here, between the two.  I mean, everything that we’ve been throughout this postseason, especially in these Finals, to be down‑‑ we were down every odd game.  We were down 1‑0.  We tied it.  We were able to take a lead, but then we were down.  We were down, we were scratching for our lives in Game 6 down five with 28 seconds to go.

“To be able to win that game and force a Game 7 is a true testament of our, I guess, perseverance.  And us being able to handle adversity throughout everything.  It meant a lot for us to be able to do that and force a Game 7 and being able to close out at home.”

The Spurs were led by veteran Tim Duncan with 24 points and 12 rebounds, with Kawhi Leonard adding 19 points and Manu Ginobili 18 in a losing effort.

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