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The second free throw dropped, as well, and James made a beeline for Ginobili, dribbling upcourt. Ginobili took a 3-pointer that the regular-season MVP contested, and it sailed well wide of the rim.

That was the Spurs‘ last gasp. It was over. The Heat reign will continue for another year, and so will James‘ spot as the unquestioned best player in the world.

“This is the hardest series we ever had to play,” Wade said. “This is what it’s all about.”

Including playoffs, the Heat became just the 10th team in NBA history to win at least 80 games _ they won 82 this season. And like the other nine, the Heat won it all.

James will be getting married this summer _ “Now it’s going to be one the best weddings ever,” he said _ and another ring ceremony awaits him this fall when Miami tries for a three-peat. And a season that began with the addition of Ray Allen to a championship core, saw a 27-game winning streak, even a “Harlem Shake” video that broke up some needed midseason tension, and ended with Miami in the same place it was a year ago _ on top of the basketball world.

“They pushed us to the limit,” James said.

Near the limit, maybe. James fended off everything the Spurs threw at him.

“Credit to the Miami Heat,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. “LeBron was unbelievable. … We just couldn’t find a way to stop him.”

He was great, as Carter demanded.

“To be able to come through for my teammates,” James said, “in the biggest moment on the biggest stage makes me more satisfied than anything in the world.”