After the San Antonio Spurs let Game 6 slip from their grasp Tuesday night, the Miami Heat tied up the series 3-3 heading into Game 7. The superstars dug deep and delivered, with the Miami Heat winning their second World Championship 95-88 for back-to-back years on their home floor of the American Airlines Center.
Everyone with an eye on basketball wondered if the aging Spurs would even be able to get off the bench after an intense, overtime game on the road in the Finals. Including the players themselves.
“I have no clue how we’re going to be re-energized,” commented an emotional Manu Ginobili Tuesday night during media availability. “I’m devastated.”
But ultimately, there had to be a winner Thursday night. In a game where both teams were clearly plagued by fatigue, evidenced by the low scoring first half (the Heat held a 46-44 advantage at halftime), the high number of turnovers (the Spurs had 14, the Heat had 16) and the low overall shooting percentages (the Spurs shot the ball 37.8%, Miami, 43.9%).
LeBron James finally worked his way out of his shooting slump and was the driving force for the Heat, finishing with 37 points on 12-of-23 shooting, 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals. James won MVP, becoming only the third player to win back-to-back Finals MVP recognitions, joining Michael Jordan and Bill Russell.
Dwyane Wade had a big night with 23 points on 11-of-21 shooting, 10 rebounds, one assist and two blocks. The slump also finally lifted for Shane Battier, who provided a big push for the Heat with Ray Allen finally having gone cold from three. All 18 of Battier’s points came from beyond the arc, on 6-of-8 shooting in addition to pulling down four rebounds. Mario Chalmers ended the night with 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting, with two assists and two steals. Chris Andersen chipped in three points and four rebounds.
After going for 30 points in Game 6 only two nights before, Tim Duncan was brilliant again with 24 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and four steals, though he struggled somewhat shooting the ball (8-of-18) and missed arguably one of the biggest shots of his career; a put-back dunk that would’ve tied the game at the end of the fourth quarter.
Kawhi Leonard was productive in 45 minutes with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Manu Ginobili had an aggressive game, finishing with 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 2-of-5 from three point range, three rebounds and five assists. Tony Parker struggled again (likely still hampered by an injured hamstring), finishing with just 10 points, four assists and three steals.
Danny Green and Gary Neal were, again, chilly from beyond the arc, combining for 10 points on 3-of-19 shooting, nine rebounds and two steals. Boris Diaw helped unexpectedly by chipping in five points, three assists and one rebound.
Only five Miami players scored all 95 points in Game 7 (James, Wade, Chalmers, Battier and Anderson). Center Chris Bosh got away with going scoreless for the entirety of this contest, as did Ray Allen and Mike Miller.
The Heat made six more three pointers than the Spurs, though San Antonio got to the charity stripe almost twice as many times as Miami (20 times to the Heat’s 11) and had 12 steals to Miami’s eight.
Former Longhorn basketball player Myck Kabongo was at the game. Kabongo will participate in the NBA Draft on June 27.