By John Harris |@JHBasketball
The King gets his ring; Lebron’s triple-double powers Miami to NBA title:
Lebron James chose the biggest game of his career to add the latest in a series of great performances with a triple-double of 26pts, 13ast and 11rbs to power the Miami Heat to their second — and his first — NBA title. Miami had 6 players score in double figures (4 of whom hit 20+!) with Mike Miller’s incredible 7-8 performance from downtown the surprise package for the Heat.
Miami shot a blistering percentage from everywhere on the floor, hitting on 52% from inside and 54% from deep. They also knocked down 82% from the charity stripe with James leading the way (8-9 freebies). The Heat grabbed an early lead in front of their expectant home fans, and kept pushing the Thunder as the game went on. James was once again at the centre of everything good for the home team, who won 4 games in a row after dropping Game 1 in Oklahoma City. He bulldozed through the defense on fast breaks, half-court sets and double teams. The attention of the OKC defense did force James to cough up the ball 6 times but for the most part the King made the correct decision to score or pick a pass.
Dwyane Wade found his first decent shooting night in a while with a quiet 20pts on 7-12 shooting and Chris Bosh added 24pts on 9-14 as he took advantage of his much quicker footspeed and agility against the brute strength of Thunder center Kendrick Perkins.
The Thunder tried to make a run back into the Game during the third quarter but were countered by a Shane Battier three ball from the corner followed by an And-1 in traffic from Bosh off the nice feed from James. The 4th quarter was a formality as Miami entered with a 20pt lead and smelled Thunder blood. Lebron stayed ruthless and wasn’t about to let a second straight Championship slip away from his grasp as he kept banging down low against the OKC bigs and finding his team-mates for dagger jumpshots.
Even though this series will be remembered as the time Lebron James finally captured his first NBA title, the history books will forget the incredible scoring performances recorded by another of the NBA’s elite superstars. Kevin Durant hit a 32pt, 11rb double-double and averaged over 30ppg for the series as he willed his Oklahoma City Thunder team towards a title. Ultimately it wasn’t to be as his supporting cast — who had performed admirably as the Thunder took home the 3rd best record in the NBA regular season — faded fast in the Finals. NBA 6th Man of the Year James Harden struggled all series and his 19pts in Game 5 was too little, too late for Scott Brooks’ squad. Russell Westbrook — the other member of the OKC star trio — chose a bad time to go 4-20 from the floor and left Durant standing alone as the end drew near for the Thunder.
“I’m happy now that eight years later, nine years later since I’ve been drafted, that I can finally say that I’m a champion, and I did it the right way. I didn’t shortcut anything. You know, I put a lot of hard work and dedication in it, and hard work pays off. It’s a great moment for myself.”
- Lebron James
James and Durant shared a long embrace after the buzzer sounded and despite the lopsided scoreline, the Finals was an evenly matched contest surely represents the beginning of many classic battles between the two most dominant superstars in the League.
Will this victory represent the beginning of an era of dominance for the Heat? What now for Scotty Brooks and the Thunder? Hit us up in the comments!
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