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Column: LBJ’s ‘Decision’ looks smart in hindsight
Question of the Day
Chris Bosh told those Heat fans who had left Game 6 early to stay home, and judging strictly by his line in Game 7, he barely bothered to show up himself.
“The vision that I had when I decided to come here is all coming true,” James said after the Heat beat the Spurs 95-88 in Game 7 on Thursday night to capture a second straight NBA title in their third consecutive Finals appearance.
And he’s right.
James was already the best player in the game when he made “The Decision” nearly three years ago, a move that the rest of the basketball world pounced on as a sign of weakness, a tacit admission that he couldn’t win a championship all by himself.
James was right on that score, too.
Bosh, always destined to be third among The Big Three, wasn’t much help on this night, contributing zero points on 0-for-5 shooting with seven rebounds. But Wade stepped up, despite a shaky knee, and Shane Battier had a career shooting night when it counted.
Wade surrendered his lead-dog role with the Heat to recruit James in 2010, but took over during a rocky stretch in the second quarter and proved he could still be the man when it mattered. He finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Battier, perhaps the most cerebral guy in the NBA, snapped out of a poor-shooting streak to make 6 of 8 attempts from beyond the arc, and cracked afterward, “It’s better to be timely than good.”
The Heat still look like a chemistry experiment-in-progress some nights, a collection of Type-A personalities waiting for their cue to take over. James was reluctant to do so at first, because his personality _ as has been endlessly dissected _ reflects Magic Johnson’s pass-first demeanor more than Michael Jordan’s shoot-always attitude.
But as James reminded everyone at the end of both Game 6, when the Spurs first dared him to drive the ball to the basket, then Game 7, when his defender laid back and dared James to shoot from the perimeter, scoring is not a problem. Even if those long and mid-range jumpers were not among his strengths before this season began.
“I put a lot of work into my game over the offseason and to come out here and see the results happen on the floor,” he said, “is the ultimate.”
Amid all the celebrating, Heat president Pat Riley said he would do his best to bring everybody back, perhaps because he still owns the trademark to the term “Three-peat” dating to his days as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I just want this thing to keep going. I’m at an age right now where I’m ready to, you know, fly off somewhere. But I’m not going to, because the good lord has blessed me with a team that’s allowed me to grab onto his coattails, for as long as they want to be together.”
One storyline that underpinned the Finals, but didn’t warrant much discussion until the trophy presentation began, was the impending retirement of NBA commissioner David Stern.
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