Game 7 of the NBA Finals between the Heat and the Spurs, a.k.a. the LeBron Bowl, a.k.a. the Rumble in the Swampland, started off with tight play and superb defense. Chris Bosh picked up right where he left off from Game 6 with this monster block in the first quarter.
Both teams started slowly, but LeBron’s jumper was working the whole game — fortunate for him given that the Spurs’ strategy seemed to be to back away from him to keep him from driving — and would finish with 37 points.
The Spurs kept close with shots that seemed to go down whenever it seemed like Miami was about to put the game in the bag and then throw the bag into a canal where it would be discovered three months later by a DEA agent. Gary Neal’s bankshot three was just one such example.
Dwyane Wade led all scorers at the half with 14 points — two from this sweet pivot and spin — and Miami led by two after the second quarter.
Offense was still somewhat hard to come by in the third quarter, though this acrobatic drive by Kawhi Leonard proved it was possible so long as one was capable of being totally ridiculous. Leonard ended the game with 16 rebounds. A hum of “potential breakout star” buzz seems likely to surround Leonard after his performance in this series.
Mario Chalmers’ buzzer-beater ended the third and put Miami up by one entering the final 12.
In the fourth, Tim Duncan’s fingertips kept Dwyane Wade from slamming home a two-handed jackhammer slam that probably would’ve been the signature play of the series.
Wade reacted with…whatever this was.
Emotions? They were running high. (We really have no idea what Chris Bosh is doing here.)
But Game 7, as we all hoped it would, came down to the final minute. Down by two points after Manu Ginobili and Shane Battier had exchanged clutch 3-pointers, San Antonio’s Tim Duncan had not one but two clear looks at the rim and couldn’t put it in.
Finals MVP James then came down and sank this dagger as Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard got mixed up on D at the worst possible time.
That put the Heat up by four and the Spurs never came close after that. The NBA season, pushed to its furthest reaches, finally came to a close with a second-straight title for Miami.
Dwyane Wade offered his immediate condolences to Tim Duncan, who was denied his fifth career NBA title.
LeBron, whose bona fides as a superstar can hardly be questioned now that he’s won two rings at age 28, did the same.
But for the second straight season, their last embrace was with the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and the Heat are your NBA champions once again.