It took the losing of a familiar headband, a miracle shot from Jesus (Shuttlesworth), and 7 hard fought games as the Miami Heat did what they were built to do last night winning their 2nd straight NBA Championship in 3 years. What we saw between the Miami Heat & San Antonio Spurs this June will probably go down as one of the best series in NBA Finals History as we saw a little of everything.
So what were the Heat's keys to victory? Well one could point out the great defense played on Tony Parker (10 pts, 3-12 shooting), & Danny Green (5 pts, 1-6 from 3pt) two men who lit the Heat up this series on offense. I also could point out despite having 0 points the tough defense played by Chris Bosh on Tim Duncan was key at certain stretches of the game.
You aren't going to shut down Tim Duncan (24 pts, 12 rebs) who is arguably the greatest PF of all time (Don't know who's arguing). However Bosh's singular defense gave the Heat an opportunity to put a high amount of pressure on the perimeter shooters such as Danny Green.
However it was the play of Finals MVP LeBron James (37 pts, 5-10 from 3-pt, 12 rebs, 4 ast), and superstar partner Dwyane Wade (23 pts, 10 rebs, 2 blks) that made this title win possible. Their ability to attack the basket, and free up teammates such as Shane Battier (18 pts, 6-8 from 3-pt) who was a man possessed from the 3-point line was key. It was the attention LeBron garnered from the defense in the paint that allowed for Shane Battier to get great looks, and he did a great job of draining them.
The great thing about the King's performance wasn't just his passing, or attacking of the paint. It was also his mid-range to 3-pt shooting that also kept the Heat in this game as it was probably his most refined shooting performance in a Finals game as we've seen from him.
LeBron's assertiveness on the perimeter was key vs this Spurs defense that purposely let LBJ shoot that shot. Head coach Greg Popovich knew the risk he was taking, rather having LeBron shoot the jumper than attack the paint. And in Game 7 that plan finally backfired.
Dwyane Wade also benefited from a great perimeter performance as he found a rhythm with the mid-range shot. His aggressive defense on Danny Green was also key as he shut down the guy who gave Miami so many problems from the perimeter this series. These two showed up big time, and gave their teammates their best effort in game 7.
In the end two plays stick out that decided the fate of the championship. Two point blank misses under the rim from Tim Duncan that could have tied the game (Duncan later hit the floor in frustration), and shifted momentum late in the 4th quarter. And LeBron's jumper with less than a minute left that would be the clincher. His performance was that of a champion, but that shot will certainly be remembered as his most clutch shot.
If anything was telling of what to look forward to in James's career, it was that shot to clinch the NBA title. Miami would win 95-88, LeBron wins Finals MVP, and Miami completes their mission of repeating in 2013.
So what do we have to look forward to from the two time defending champions? First thing is health, and personnel. The Heat have some roster decisions to take care of before they actually have to deal with them (Big 3 contracts, trading one, retaining LBJ, etc.).
We also have to see if players such as future Hall of Famer Ray Allen will make this their last run, or go for the 3-peat. Health wise Dwyane Wade will look to improve as he made it a point in the post game interviews that it will be treatments, and rest for his knees not surgery. A good sign for Heat fans who remember just how explosive he is with healthy knees.
In the long run this Heat team has a great chance at 3-peating, and even finishing with 4 titles by the time they break up (or D Wade retires). Getting more front court muscle will be something Pat Riley has to work on as the teams I feel are the best threat to the Heat's title runs: Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, & Oklahoma City Thunder have that.
And LeBron James who has contract decisions coming up as well (opting out, staying with Miami?) has to take care of his affairs. I look forward to seeing the continued rise of the career of LeBron James as he builds his legend, and looks to win more titles. Like he said "Not 1, Not 2, Not3...". Now a back to back NBA champion, & NBA Finals MVP (only Bill Russell, & Michael Jordan have done that) he has the momentum to even further this run, and cement himself in NBA history even more.
This NBA season was another great one. Congrats to the champions the Miami Heat, and I thank you all for reading our coverage of the NBA playoffs.