The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Pro Sports

June 21, 2013

LeBron leads Heat to title

MIAMI — LeBron James and the Miami Heat remain atop the NBA, and not even a proud push from the San Antonio Spurs could knock them down.

James led the Heat to their second straight title, scoring 37 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in a 95-88 victory Thursday night in a tense Game 7 that was tight until Miami pulled away in the final minute.

Winning the title they needed to validate the best season in franchise history — and perhaps the three-superstar system they used to build it — the Heat won the second straight thriller in the NBA's first championship series to go the distance since 2010.

"It took everything we had as a team," Dwyane Wade said. "Credit to the San Antonio Spurs, they're an unbelievable team, an unbelievable franchise. This is the hardest series we ever had to play. But we're a resilient team and we did whatever it took."

Two nights after his Game 6 save when the Heat were almost eliminated, James continued his unparalleled run through the basketball world, with two titles and an Olympic gold medal in the last 12 months.

"I work on my game a lot, throughout the offseason," said James, who was MVP for the second straight finals. "I put a lot of work into it and to be able to come out here and (have) the results happen out on the floor is the ultimate. The ultimate. I'm at a loss for words."

He made five 3-pointers, defended Tony Parker when he had to, and did everything else that could ever be expected from the best player in the game.

The Heat became the NBA's first repeat champions since the Lakers in 2009-10, and the first team to beat the Spurs in the NBA Finals.

Players and coaches hugged each other after the game, the respect between the franchises that was obvious when the series started becoming even more apparent after two straight classics.

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