Game 7. NBA Finals. There’s nothing better in the sport of basketball. It’s a winner-take-all contest to decide which team takes home the Larry O’Brien trophy. The Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs are arguably the two best teams in the NBA the last three seasons and we finally get to see both in The Finals with so much at stake.
The Spurs are gunning for their fifth title in franchise history, and Tim Duncan looks to move up in the ladder of greatest players in history. Win or lose Duncan’s legacy is secure, but it would be a huge notch on his Hall-of-Fame belt if he can beat LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in a playoff series.
LeBron says he’s not too concerned about his legacy at this stage of his career because his book is still being written. However, another devastating loss in The Finals — his third in four trips — would be a huge blow to King James’ resume.
OneManFastBreak.net posts live updates in Game 7 of the NBA Finals:
As expected after a grueling 53 minutes of gut-wrenching and fatiguing action in Game 6, both teams were a bit raggedy early on. A lot missed shots and a lot of shaky passes. Kawhi Leonard looks to be the freshes guy on the floor. He’s active on both ends and rebounding like a madman. Must be good to be 21. Tim Duncan continues to abuse Chris Bosh in the post. Duncan can see the finish line and he’s gonna do whatever it takes to get ring No. 5. Shane Battier picks the perfect time to bust out of his shooting slump by knocking down two treys to give Miami a two-point lead, 18-16.
Spurs continue to dare LeBron to take the 3-point shot, and he steps into two good looks and knock both down. LeBron is making 29% of his 3-point shooters in these playoffs and the Spurs will gladly give up a a few to prevent James from driving to the basket. Bosh picks up his third foul, sending him to the bench. This is actually a good thing for Miami because Birdman Andersen is playing with more energy and giving the Spurs fits on the glass. Dwyane Wade gets going late, knocking down midrange jumpers and hitting a jump hook over Danny Green. Wade’s little burst and his late jumper from the wing gives a Heat a two-point lead heading into the locker room, 46-44.
Danny Green misses eight straight shots and throws the ball away on a fastbreak. The hottest guy in The Finals has turned ice cold and looks very shaky. Even if the Spurs win the championship Green lost his opportunity to win the MVP. Mike Miller also is cold from the outside and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra may have to turn to Battier, who is 3-for-3 at this point. Tony Parker doesn’t have his legs yet. He’s only 3-for-8 from the field and the hamstring could be tightening up. LeBron makes his fifth 3-point shot of the game, making the Spurs pay and giving the Heat a five-point lead. That lead lastly just seconds after Leonard and Boris Diaw make back-to-back baskets and Duncan scores inside. No matter how much James pushes the Heat, the Spurs just keeps coming. Leonard already had double-digit rebounds and his activity on both ends is keeping the Spurs in the game. It’s the individual brilliance of LeBron vs. the team execution of the Spurs. This sets up a classic fourth quarter. Big-game Mario Chalmers’ buzzer beater gives the Heat a one-point lead, 72-71.
Battier kicks off the quarter with a corner three. His fifth of the game without a miss. Spoelstra decides to play Wade and James to start the quarter instead of sitting one of them. Rolling the dice both would have enough to finish the game. Bosh has been a complete no-show and remains scoreless. Spo rolling with Birdman instead of Bosh. With seven minutes left, Heat clinging to a four-point lead and a clear path foul has been reversed. Big break for the Spurs. Manu Ginobili costs Spurs two possessions with two unforced turnovers. The pressure is mounting for the Spurs. Wade and James both bury midrange jumpers to put the Heat ahead by six. Spurs can’t afford to fall behind further, so Gregg Popovich smartly calls timeout with five minutes to go. Bosh picks up his fifth foul and Duncan’s bank shot. His free throw makes it 88-85 with 3:06 remaining in the season. Duncan showing his grit and heart, pushing his 37-year-old body to the finish line. Leonard’s 3-point cuts the Heat lead to 90-88 with under two minutes to play. Leonard has come up huge in Game 7 and has been the Spurs best player along with Duncan. Both teams showing a lot of mental toughness, pushing through fatigue and the enormous moment of Game 7. Spurs had two chances to tie or take the lead late but Leonard misses a three and Duncan’s running hook in the paint over Battier bounces out and misses the tip-in as well. As he ran down the court Duncan pounds the floor in disgust. He knew he missed a golden opportunity. Heat holds 90-88 lead with 39 seconds left. During timeout Spo calls for James and Chalmers pick-and-roll — their best play of the series — and it results in a great look for James and he knocks down a clutch basket. Heat up 92-88 with 27 seconds left. Pop’s turn to draw up a winning play. Inexplicably, Pop sits Parker for the next possession and puts the ball in the hands of Ginobili, who lets him down by throwing the ball right to James. That’s why you never leave your feet on a pass. Fundamental basketball. Why would Pop not have Parker in for that play? That’s a head-scratcher. Spurs don’t score another point. Miami Heat repeat as NBA champs with a 95-88 victory.
The final day of the NBA season came down to two plays involving the two best players in the series. Duncan missed a short, point-blank shot in the paint while LeBron buries a midrange jumper from the wing for a four-point swing. The series was that close. Two superstars had their hands on the ball with the game on the line. One missed. One made it. LeBron James takes home his second consecutive Finals MVP and validates his standing as the best player in the world.