James puts emphatic end on 2nd straight NBA title

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That’s more basketball, under more pressure, than anyone else on the planet has seen in the last two years.

James took all the criticism when the Heat lost those 2011 finals. He took all the criticism in 2010, as well, when the Heat welcomed him and Bosh as Wade’s newest star teammates with a star-studded party that was planned long before James made his infamous “decision” to sign with the Heat.

Now he’s won two titles, and refuses to take all the credit.

“All it’s about now is what’s in front of us,” Heat President Pat Riley said. “Not what’s behind us. I wish people would stop talking about that. He’s been to the Finals three years in a row. He’s won two championships, two MVPs. He definitely controlled the game tonight. I believe in LeBron.”

There he was, a championship at stake, taking the jumper with 27.9 seconds left that made it a two-possession game and put the Heat on the cusp of a repeat. He marched back to the Heat huddle, punching the air. The score was 92-88, everyone in the sold-out building seemed to be standing, and a championship celebration was mere moments away.

Sure enough, it happened.

“I put a lot of work into it and to be able to come out here and see the results happen out on the floor is the ultimate, the ultimate,” James said. “I’m at a loss for words.”

Two years ago, James probably wouldn’t have taken that shot. Now, there’s no way he would not. And he drilled it, too, the ball going through with a soft swish for his 34th and 35th points.

“What he brings every night is unbelievable,” Wade said.

James arrived at the arena in a convertible on Thursday, waving to the fans who were waiting to take a photo. An hour or so later, standing at his locker, he tried to insist that Game 7 was obviously huge but would have to be treated really like any other game.

In short, that was his way of saying that he cannot change the way he plays now.

Then he went out and did what he does best, making the right plays, hoping they become winning plays.

“He only plays one way,” said Carter, James‘ longtime friend and associate. “He plays the right way.”

On the possession after James made the jumper for the four-point late lead, he got into the passing lane and intercepted a ball thrown wildly by San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili with 23.5 seconds left and was immediately fouled.

The first free throw went in, and James stepped off the line to set up Miami’s defense.

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