Congratulations to the Miami Heat. 2013 NBA champions. This makes it back-to-back for the Heat and for LeBron James it is his second title. The Stack is here today to break it all down so let's get right to it and see what's in "the stack" for today, Friday, June 21:
Heat win NBA title
A thrilling NBA Finals came down to the very end in game 7. And when it was all said and done, the Miami Heat came out victorious with a 95-88 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Game 7 did not start out that exciting though. Both teams had terrible offensive starts to the game in the first quarter. Neither team could bye a basket. It wasn't becuase of great defense either. Both teams played good defense, but overall, it was bad offense.
Things picked up from the second quarter on though. James in particular starting knocking down shots. His three point shooting was on target in what he called the biggest game of his career. James for the game got 37 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, making him the clear choice MVP. It was his jumper with less than thirty seconds left in the fourth quarter that put the game away. No doubt James stepped his game up when he needed to the most. Then again, seems like he does that in every game seven he plays in. He is the all-time NBA leader in game seven points per game.
Miami wouldn't have won the NBA title without Shane Battier. Battier had simply disappeared throughout the playoffs. He couldn't have picked a better time to find his shot. Battier was six for eight from three point land and finished with 18 points. I heard Bob Ryan on PTI today say that the deciding factor in game seven would be someone from the bench. Battier clearly was that guy. I think he hit more three pointers in this game than he had the entire postseason combined. Dude was incredible.
Mario Chalmers turned the game around at the end of the third quarter when he banked in a three pointer as the buzzer sounded to give the Heat a 72-71 lead entering the fourth quarter. Not saying the Heat wouldn't have won this game without that three, but that definitely gave them the momentum and confidence going into the fourth quarter and left the Spurs wondering what just happened.
Really, the Spurs gave this seris away. They lost the final two games of the series, the first time the same team had lost two straight games all series long. Game six was theirs. They just couldn't put in a few free throws or come up with a clutch rebound when they needed to. Tim Duncan, former NBA Finals MVP is going to be kicking himself for a long time after he missed a baby hook shot and then got a hand on an offensive rebound and couldn't tip it in with the Spurs down 90-88. Duncan! How did you miss that? There was still time, but Spurs fans and anyone watching the finals had to think that that would come back to haunt the Spurs. It did. A few other notes of interest after the dust has settled on the NBA Finals:
- No one should question LeBron James anymore. He stepped up when he needed to and was the clear leader of the Heat when it mattered most. He was clutch in game 7. Still might not be quite as good as Michael Jordan at this point, but he'll get there.
- Danny Green no longer will be cashing in millions this offseason. The Heat made a concious effort to put a lid on Green and his three point shooting after game five. Green couldn't deliver in game six and he was awful in game seven going 1 for 12 for 5 points, including 1 for 6 from downtown. Why head coach Gregg Popovich didn't take him out at some point is beyond me.
- The "Big Three" will not stay together next year. Chris Bosh had a terrible game. He had five fouls, was 0-5 from the field and scored zero points, playing just 28 minutes. He was a virtual no-show. Dwyane Wade played really good, scoring 20 points and was a real difference maker, but who knows just how good his knees are and he is getting up there in age. The Heat will be making some changes in the offseaon, I just have a feeling.
As for the Spurs, they have some big decisions ahead of them. Manu Ginobli has been hinting at retirement all season long and he should retire, at least no longer remain a Spur. He was dreadful in the finals and had an awful game six and game seven. He had four turnovers in game seven and a couple of crucial ones in the fourth quarter. His decision making wasn't good. He has got to go. Duncan may be winding down a career and Tony Parker is certainly getting up there in age. The good news for the Spurs is it looks like they have a star in the making in Kawhi Leonard. His double-double in game seven (19 points, 16 rebounds) shows that he has what it takes to lead this team in the future. He had a chance to give the Spurs the lead late at 91-90, but his three pointer came up short off the iron. One would think we should expect some signifcant changes to the Spurs roster this offseason. This is also the first time the Spurs have lost an NBA Finals series in the Duncan-Popovich era. Spurs fans can blame Popovich for his coaching errors in game six.
But today we celebrate the Heat and their accomplishments this season. What a great season they had and it only means more expectations for next year in winning another NBA championship. It will be interesting to see how their roster looks next year. James and company certainly deserved it this year, James especially. And The Stack's preseason favorite to win the title won it. So there's that. See you next year NBA.
Reminder that game five of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks is Saturday night at 8 PM ET on NBC.
Coming up Monday: Stanley Cup Finals game 5 reaction plus other top stories from the weekend.