Spurs-Heat NBA Finals will go down as one of the best

LeBron James was all smiles at the post-game news conference after being named playoff MVP for the...

LeBron James was all smiles at the post-game news conference after being named playoff MVP for the second year in a row. (MIKE SEGAR/Reuters)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:21 AM ET

MIAMI - Well, that was something.

The 2013 NBA Finals will go down as one of the finest the league has seen.

Sure, a few games devolved into blowouts in the third quarter but, overall, this was an evenly played, anybody-can-win see-saw.

And it was hugely entertaining, drawing massive numbers and buzz.

The NBA was built on the backs of its stars and the two competing in this series delivered. Tim Duncan nearly willed his Spurs to ring No. 5, dominating in the post and on the boards, but couldn’t quite pull it off.

LeBron James merely scored 37 points in the clincher and averaged 29.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists over the seven games.

Only Oscar Robertson has matched that line.

James did whatever he could to lift the Heat to glory again. He went in the post at times, was his usual lethal self on the break and defended all five positions at times, including Tony Parker.

And when the Spurs dared him to shoot, as they did back in 2007 when James and his Cleveland Cavaliers were swept, he made them pay.

James shot 9-for-20 outside of the paint on Thursday, including 5-for-10 from three.

He connected on 44.7% of his attempts against San Antonio this time after making just 36% in 2007.

By rising to the occasion the past two Junes, James has made his collapse against Dallas in 2011 a distant, nearly forgotten memory.

Now, we’re left to wonder just how impressive his legacy is going to be one day.

James is even looking ahead.

“I want to be, if not the greatest, one of the greatest to play this game, and I will continue to work for that,” James said.

WADE ANSWERS

Playing on two hurting knees, Dwyane Wade had arguably hurt the Heat more than he helped for much of the series. The numbers said the team was far better with its stretch-the-floor lineup of James, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and either Chris Bosh or Chris Andersen.

But Wade is as tough and as competitive as they come and has always had a knack for coming through, even when in pain.

In the clincher, he stepped up with a tremendous performance, playing through the pain and becoming more effective than he had been showing.

“He was big-time,” James said of Wade. “He was in attack mode all night. He had 10 rebounds, he had 23 points, two blocked shots … What can you say? He’s one of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen. He continues to add to his resume.”

Wade joked afterward that it was time to forget ‘Flash.’ He had a new nickname.

“My name is Three, not Dwyane,” Wade said, referring to the number of championships he now has won.

CREDIT THE SPURS

It would be a real shame if everyone remembers this Spurs group only as one that choked away another championship.

Had Game 6 been closed out, the Spurs would have been champs. Had Duncan sunk his “bunny” layup late in the finale, they could have been the big winners. Had Parker not hurt his hamstring, they could have been the title-winners.

Still, the Spurs were a damn good runnerup. If this is the end of an era — Manu Ginobili is a free agent and Duncan surely can’t repeat his brilliant return to superstar form as a 38-year-old, can he? — it was one of the best runs the NBA has seen.

Crossing paths with Duncan as he was leaving the podium and heading to the bus, his head was down. He looked in a daze, knowing this opportunity might not come again.

The Spurs can take some solace in knowing that a star has been born in Kawhi Leonard. Only James was better than the sophomore forward in the Finals. Leonard constantly stunned media and fans alike with his brilliance at both ends. On the court, he looks like someone born to play the game.

The Spurs had never trailed in five appearances at the Finals until dropping Game 7.

AROUND THE RIM

Andersen is a unique individual. Didn’t see rapper Drake getting denied access to Heat locker room after the game, but did see the Birdman interrupt a live interview with Heat owner Mickey Arison by chanting “Ka-kaw … we’re numero uno!” It was entertaining … Montreal’s Joel Anthony joined Bill Wennington, Rick Fox and Mike Smrek as a repeat Canadian champion … If Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen don’t have a falling out, does Allen ever leave Boston and hit the shot that “changed everything” in Game 6? Probably not … Allen and Rashard Lewis were the highest-scoring duo in the league in Seattle at one point. Lewis rarely played all year, but now shares a ring with his long-time friend … From college to the NBA, all Chalmers does is win … Danny Green’s 27 three-pointers set a Finals mark, but he shot just 2-for-11 from deep over the final two games of the series … Wasn’t much of a party in downtown Miami following Game 7, though South Beach apparently was rocking … The NBA has rebounded spectacularly from the lockout with a James-Kevin Durant matchup and now this brilliant Finals … Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra won his 50th game over the past three playoffs, tied with Phil Jackson for the best three-year run ever ... Vegas has set the Heat as the favourites to win a third straight title next season.


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