Every morning, we'll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.1: Miami, and LeBron, is your champion
In the end, it made sense. It took a season to build a championship chemistry in Miami.
Last year's hesitance and confusion was replaced by utter dominance as the Miami Heat cruised past the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 to capture their second title in franchise history, and first for LeBron James... and a few other guys on the team.
But yeah, LeBron's the story here (sorry, Chris Bosh). We'll get to more of his performance from last night in a minute. First, we bury the jokes. I joked on Twitter that LeBron's title is to us what George W. Bush leaving office was to late-night comedians. The easy jokes are over.
LeBron has been a victim of unreal expectations and poor decisions (that pun was intended). At 27, the prime of his playing career, LeBron James finally figured it all out, took over when he had to, deferred to others when necessary, and he led a very good team to a title that it should have won. Yes, he got plenty of help, but all champions do. But when it mattered most, LeBron pulled his team from the bring of elimination against Boston and he buried the Thunder with a triple-double to emphatically claim his title.
You don't have to like LeBron personally. But LeBron James the basketball player has earned respect.2: OKC will be back
How do you know a good plumber or mechanic? Check for the calloused hands of experience. The Thunder's soft, pink palms are now raw with a Finals flub. But those blisters will soon heal, and the wrinkles caused by the stress of failure will only serve to distinguish the appearance of these young men as they grow into place atop the NBA's elite.
All but four Thunder (Derek Fisher, Nick Collison, Royal Ivey, Nazr Mohammed) are under 30. Nine of them are under 25. Their three best players are 22 or 23 years old.
Durant will learn to defend better. Westbrook will learn to be more judicious. Harden will learn to rise to the moment.
There are no guarantees in sports. Plenty of teams seem like they'll be perennial contenders but fade. But the Thunder are different, from top to bottom. This wasn't a flash in the pan. This is a team whose success was built to last.3: HIGHLIGHTS!!!
Durant with the vicious dunk off the baseline drive
LeBron's spin move and finish from all angles
Miami celebrates its title4: Line of the Night: LeBron James - 26 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists
What more can you say about a triple double in a title clinching game? Epic performance.5: You can quote me on that
"it took me to go all the way to the top and then hit rock bottom basically to realize what I needed to do as a professional athlete and as a person. You know, I'm just happy that I was able to be put back in this position. I trusted my instincts, I trusted my habits that I built over the years, and I just got back to just being myself, and I didn't care too much about what anyone said about me. I just kind of made my own path, but did it the right way, and I'm happy I was able to do it the right way and do it for myself and not for anyone else."
"It hurts. It hurts, man. We're all brothers on this team, and it just hurts to go out like this. We made it to The Finals, which was cool for us, but we didn't want to just make it there. Unfortunately we lost, so it's tough. It's tough, man. That's the only way I can explain it. But as a whole, I'm proud of the guys on how we fought all season. During the lockout we came together as a group and worked hard, and we will continue to work hard.
"I wouldn't want to play with anybody else. I wouldn't want to play for any other city. I'm just blessed to be a part of this organization, and hopefully we can get back"
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