An emotionally draining and fiercely competitive NBA finals series has come to an end with the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the hands of the Miami Heat for a second successive season and it was little surprise to see the Florida side’s leading light LeBron James playing a pivotal role in their success.
James bagged back-to-back rings along with a personal accolade as he was dubbed NBA Finals MVP for the second time. Having already secured his second regular season MVP vote in a row, he joined unparalleled hoops legends Bill Russell and Michael Jordan in combining that honour with consecutive championships.
Erik Spoelstra’s ballers had to draw upon immense reserves of self-belief as they were matched all the way to the line by San Antonio. Their championship-clinching game seven victory was the first time the Heat had found their noses in front in the series and like his team James found himself on the back foot in the early games.
As game four hove into view the media had begun to doubt the Titan of the hardwood after some uncharacteristically quiet showings, but he arrived into the game with renewed resolve and threw down a game high 33 points as the Heat restored series parity with a 109-93 success.
From there it was a size 16 foot to the metal, with the 28-year-old only topped for points in one of the remaining three games. In the decisive tie it was him that stepped up to drain a long-range jump shot with 27.9 secs on the clock, before tying up consecutive championships with a deuce from the free throw line.
Still some way behind Jordan’s six championships there will be many who suggest that James has some way to go to match the Chicago Bulls master’s six championships.
James’ 2013 finals zero-to-hero gear-change was his latest shot of post-season finale redemption after loses at the last hurdle for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami in 2011 and should go some way to silencing the critics that had been carping about his failure to perform in the biggest games.
Nevertheless despite his achievements, James has many to convince of his place in the pantheon of hardwood greats, firebrand ex-Jordan teammate Dennis Rodman among them. The hall of fame rebounder told the audience on the Dan Patrick Show that “if LeBron was playing in the late ’80s and early ’90s, he would be just an average player”.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.