'LeBron James left legacy with display in Game Seven of NBA Finals'
Last Updated: 21/06/13 11:04am
Miami Heat put in a tremendous team display to conquer San Antonio Spurs in Game Seven of the NBA Finals and secure back-to-back titles.
That was the view of Sky Sports pundit Karl Brown after he watched the Heat edge their Texan opponents 95-88 at the American Airlines Arena to take the all-action series 4-3 and retain their grip on the NBA trophy.
Brown lavished praise on Miami's Shane Battier and Dwayne Wade and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, but he believes LeBron James - who was the NBA Finals MVP for the second year running and accrued 37 points and 16 rebounds in Game Seven - played a pivotal role in the Floridians' triumph.
"Battier was awful and missing his three-point shots but came up big and was timely, while Chris Bosh played some excellent defence in the second half up against Tim Duncan," said Brown.
"James was a man on a mission and he silenced his critics."
"Coach Spoelstra trusted his players so give him credit, too, and Wade had a rhythm and a bounce in his step, got blocks in and was a great leader - and James was the closer.
"We talk about legacy and I don't think anyone has better stats than James; he was 50 per cent from the field, 50 per cent from the three-point line and 100 per cent frome the free-throw line.
"He was a man on a mission and he silenced his critics."
Robert Youngblood, head coach of British squad Essex Leopards, believes that vanquished San Antonio struggled to recover from their overtime defeat to the Heat in Game Six, a match they entered leading 3-2 in the series.
But the American was quick to salute the performance of 21-year-old Spur Kawhi Leonard, who netted 19 points and amassed 16 rebounds on Thursday night, and says the former San Diego State player has a very bright future.
"They made a great run for it with the group of guys they got together, but Game Six was the night they should have won it," Youngblood said of San Antonio, who were making their first Finals appearance since beating Cleveland Cavaliers in 2007.
"They put up a valiant effort in Game Seven but didn't have enough in the end and Tim Duncan will be kicking himself for missing that bunny at the end of the basket towards the end of the game.
"[Kawhi] Leonard, though, showed no fear and went at James all night, trying to take him one-on-one off the dribble, plus he played great defence and crashed the rebounds.
"This is a guy you are going to hear about for a long time and with just one year left on his contract, he is in line for a big payday."