The San Antonio Spurs did exactly what allowed them to reach Game 7 of the NBA Finals: backed away from LeBron James and dared him to shoot the outside perimeter jump shots that he missed throughout most of the first six games of the series.

James has always been an excellent finisher at the rim, but less confident shooting jumpers, and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich used that to his advantage in devising defensive strategies to stop James.

But it didn’t work in Game 7 as James finally made the Spurs pay for cushioning their defensive approach as he nailed just about every open jumper he was given to lead the Miami Heat to a 95-88 win on June 20 for the 4-3 series victory and 2013 NBA title.

James finished with a game-high–and series high–37 points, making 5-of-10 three-pointers and countless mid-rangers jumpers. He also recorded 12 rebounds on his way to his second consecutive NBA title and second straight Bill Russell award (Finals MVP award). James is now 2-for-4 in career Finals appearances.

Heat guard Dwayne Wade followed James with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while forward Shane Battier came off the bench to add a critical 18 points off 6-for-8 three-point shooting.

Although the Spurs’ star players are much older than Miami’s, they still gave Miami their toughest battle of the postseason; 37-year-old future Hall of Fame power forward Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 24 points 12 rebounds. Duncan had a chance with less than a minute to tie the game up but just missed a running layup and a follow-up tip in attempt that gave Miami the ball back with a 90-88 lead. Miami then held on to the lead to play out the clock for their back-to-back world championship.

Spurs’ veteran guard Tony Parker struggled in Game 7, finishing with just 10 points on 3-for-12 shooting. Fellow veteran Spurs guard Manu Ginobili scored 18 points but also committed four untimely turnovers. Spurs guard Danny Green, one of the younger players for the Spurs, broke a NBA Finals series record for three-pointers made with 27 in 7 games played. However, he struggled in Game 7 with 1-for-12 shooting for five points.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor