By Trey Crosby III
Let the celebrations begin in South Beach. When the game was on the line and everything mattered the most, the 4-time NBA MVP delivered. LeBron James went for 37 and 12 tonight in route to his 2nd straight Finals MVP. The Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs tonight by a score of 95-88. In a sluggish, turnover ridden exhausting Game 7 the Heat outlasted the Spurs led by “The King”.
LeBron and company got it going early as San Antonio stuck to the game plan and decided to give LBJ and Wade open jumpers. Tonight the plan backfired. Wade could not miss from the mid-range as he put up 23 tonight and Shane Battier made an impromptu appearance going 6-of-8 shooting downtown for 18 points.
On the other side of things, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili struggled and just could not get into any type of rhythm. Danny Green was again a non-factor as Miami forced him to put the ball on the floor and dribble into endless dead ends and double teams. Although the Spurs played terrible throughout, they somehow still had a chance to win late in the ball game.
After a Kawhi Leonard clutch 3 pointer to cut the Heat lead to 2, Duncan had the ball and missed a contested layup that would have tied the ball game. Instead, LeBron hit a jumper to seal the game and add another piece of hardware to his growing collection.
A few takeaways from the instant classic Game 7, I think we need to give a lot of credit to Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra. His great coaching and leadership skills along with shaking up his lineup and strategy nearly every game was crucial to the Miami Heat’s success.
Secondly, Pop blew this series in Game 6 when he did not decide to step on the throat of Miami early in the 4th and made some questionable decisions throughout the course of that 4th quarter. Constantly throughout this series, Pop continued to play Manu Ginobili while he struggled with turnovers and played awful. How bad do we all feel for poor Tracy McGrady?
Thirdly, the “Big 3” are really the “Big 2 and a half”, Chris Bosh was nowhere to be found tonight in an all but important Game 7 for all the marbles as he failed to score in 28 minutes of play. You have to wonder whether or not he will be back next year. I know more than a few guys (including myself) that could put up zero points in 28 minutes; all while making $17 million and popping champagne with championship rings as they ride the coattails of their all-star teammates.
The center of attention still revolves around the play of LeBron James. The LeBron / Michael Jordan comparisons are going to rear their ugly heads all summer as LeBron has now captured his second ring.
James joins some elite company as he has become only the 3rd player to win the regular season MVP and Finals MVP in the same season multiple times. The other two being Jordan and Larry Bird. He also joins four NBA greats: Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal , and Kobe Bryant as back to back NBA Finals MVP’s.
Another long NBA season has come to a close and we as fans and analyst have gotten answers that we have long awaited. LeBron has shaken off the questions of being clutch, he now has the rings to back up the comparisons to all time NBA greats, and he played lights out all through the season and postseason in route to becoming a back to back champion. LBJ has made us all WITNESSESS and no matter your personal feelings towards him, greatness can never be denied. Heat haters are crying and Heat band wagoners are jumping with joy.
The partying and clubbing in South Beach will run deep into the morning of June 21, 2013 as Heat fans and LeBron lovers bask in the glory of their victory. However, waiting and lurking in the grass are 29 other franchises that are hungry and ready to do what it takes to get a title. And to those 29 NBA teams not named the Miami Heat, I say to you, there’s always next year.