- NBA Finals
LeBron takes another title to South Beach
LeBron James was the difference as the Miami Heat claimed their second consecutive NBA title after one of the most dramatic Finals series in recent memory on Thursday.
James scored 37 points - including a crucial, clinching jumper with 30 seconds remaining - to lead the Heat to a 95-88 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the Finals, securing the Florida organisation's third crown in the last seven years.
"I work on my game a lot throughout the offseason," said James, who was again named the Final's Most Valuable Player. "I put a lot of work into it and to be able to come out here and (have) the results happen out on the floor is the ultimate. The ultimate. I'm at a loss for words."
It was a remarkable conclusion for the Heat, who were the favourites for victory but found themselves behind for almost the entire series. Having lost Game 1 on their home court, the Heat eventually grabbed a game back in San Antonio to level the tie at 2-2.
But defeat in Game 5 left the Heat needing to win each of the remaining games to claim the series, something they duly did as LeBron, aided by his team-mates, delivered on his home court.
"It took everything we had as a team," Dwyane Wade added. "Credit to the San Antonio Spurs, they're an unbelievable team, an unbelievable franchise.
"This is the hardest series we ever had to play. But we're a resilient team and we did whatever it took."
The Spurs were desperately close to clinching the title in Game 6, before Ray Allen's late jumpshot set up overtime and the chance for Miami to rally. While Game 7 was always similarly close, the Texas organisation never quite had the same chance to close out matters.
"In my case, I still have Game 6 in my head," Spurs guard Manu Ginobili admitted. "Today, we played an OK game. They just made more shots than us. LeBron got hot. Shane [Battier, who had 18 points], too. Those things can happen.
"But being so close and feeling that you are about to grab that trophy, and seeing it vanish is very hard."