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LeBron finds comfort as two-time NBA champ
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On June 21, 2013 @ 6:55 am In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — LeBron James ate his a pregame dinner Thursday with close friends and confidants.
Everyone at the table knew the scenario: Beat the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals for the Miami Heat’s second consecutive NBA title and put idle chatter to rest. Or lose and spend the summer dealing with another Finals disappointment, plus oodles of criticism.
Everyone at dinner, James most of all, also knew San Antonio’s game plan: Keep James out of the lane and let him shoot jump shots.
With a high basketball IQ, James admits he sometimes thinks too much, and his knowledge can be a blessing and a curse.
So at dinner, with the butterflies beginning to roil and the moment of truth hours away, James heard this from his dinner companions: Shoot the ball free and easy.
That’s what he did. The Spurs let James have the outside shot, and James made them pay.
James connected on 12 of his 23 shots, including 5-for-10 on three-pointers, scored a game-high 37 points, collected 12 rebounds, had four assists and two steals and led the Heat to a 95-88 victory over the Spurs in Game 7 for Miami’s second consecutive championship.
He also won his second consecutive Finals MVP in what was an epic series between two champions loaded with Hall of Famers. And the best player in the world elevated his game when necessary and silenced the non-believers, at least temporarily.
“Hopefully people will leave him alone a little more now,” Heat forward Shane Battier said. “He takes a lot of heat, I think undeservedly. He’s the best player on the planet. And hopefully now with two titles, he’ll get more the benefit of the doubt.”
James started out 1-for-5 but then went 11-for-18 and converted all eight of his free throw attempts. He made nine of the 20 jump shots he took.
“I watched film, and my mind started to work,” James said. “I said, ‘OK, this is how they’re going to play me for the whole series.’ I looked at all my regular-season stats, and I was one of the best midrange shooters in the game. I … [For more on LeBron James finds comfort as two-time NBA champion, click here.]
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