The Miami Heat edged the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals on Thursday, 95-88, to bring home their second consecutive championship.
The Heat got off to an 18-16 lead after one quarter of play at AmericanAirlines Arena. Both teams scored 28 points in the second quarter. After the Spurs outscored the Heat by one point in the third quarter, Miami closed it down in the fourth, outscoring San Antonio by six points.
LeBron James—the 2013 NBA Finals MVP—had another landmark performance in the victory, racking up 37 points on 12-of-23 shooting (5-of-10 from beyond the arc), 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Partner-in-crime Dwyane Wade added 23 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks while shooting 11-of-21 from the floor. Shane Battier came off the bench to score 18 points, going 6-of-8 from downtown.
But, more than anything, it was Miami's defense that separated the two teams on Thursday. The Spurs shot just 38 percent, including going 6-of-19 from beyond the arc. Star point guard Tony Parker scored just 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili combined for seven turnovers. Miami scored 20 points on 14 turnovers by the Spurs.
The Heat won despite getting outscored in the paint, 48-24.
The blown opportunity in Game 6 will surely haunt San Antonio this summer. The Spurs had a five-point lead with 28 seconds to go in Game 6, but three-pointers by James and Ray Allen—plus a missed free-throw by the Spurs' Kawhi Leonard—forced the game into overtime, which Miami eventually won.
It's hard to say the door is closed for Tim Duncan after the loss, but time is certainly running out for the 37-year-old to capture his fifth career championship.
That being said, four titles, two MVPs and 14 All-Star selections is nothing to be ashamed of. Duncan is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, no matter how he finishes his career.
The same can be said for James, who captured his second career title (not to mention his second career NBA Finals MVP) to go along with four regular-season MVPs and nine All-Star selections.