LeBron James scored 37 points, including 5 3-pointers and several late jumpers, as the Miami Heat fended off the San Antonio Spurs, 95-88, on Thursday in a thrilling Game 7 of the NBA Finals to win their second straight championship.
James, who also won his second straight Finals MVP, grabbed 12 rebounds and harassed Spurs All-Star point guard Tony Parker into a 3-12 shooting performance.
Dwyane Wade, despite being hampered by discomfort in both knees, posted 23 points and 12 boards for Miami, while Shane Battier scored 18 on 6-8 from three-point range.
Tim Duncan had 24 points and 12 rebounds for San Antonio, but missed two point-blank attempts in the final minute that would have tied the game.
The loss was the Spurs’ first in the NBA Finals in five appearances.
Despite winning last year’s championship and running off a 27-game winning streak in the regular season, the Heat remained one of the most scrutinized and polarizing teams in sports. James in particular was under the microscope, but said he didn’t consider the second championship as validation against his critics.
“I can’t worry about what everybody says about me. I’m LeBron James from Akron, Ohio, from the inner city — I’m not even supposed to be here,” James said following Thursday’s win. “Every time I go into the locker room and see a jersey with ‘James’ on the back, I’m blessed. What everybody says about me off the court don’t matter — I ain’t got no worries.”