LeBron James led an outstanding team effort as the Miami Heat
demolished the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-106 to win the National
Basketball Association title today, the new champions reeling off
four straight victories to take the series 4-1.
James enjoyed a brilliant all-round game, grabbing a triple-double with 26 points, 11 rebounds and a game-high 13 assists and was named most valuable player (MVP) of the series as he finally won a Finals series at the third time of asking.
As the clock ran down, James joined in with the deafening celebrations in the AmericanAirlines Arena from the sidelines, jumping and waving as he roared along with the fans with a beaming smile as the seconds ticked away.
"This means everything," he said after handing off the golden NBA Championship trophy to accept the MVP award from Boston Celtics great Bill Russell as confetti rained down from the rafters.
"This is the happiest day of my life."
The 27-year-old James was dominant throughout the series but in the Game Five clincher, he had help from all his cohorts.
Six Heat players scored in double figures, including Chris Bosh with 24 and reserve Mike Miller with 23, who went 7-of-8 from beyond the three-point arc in a spectacular display of shooting for the Heat.
Miami pulled away in the third quarter when they ran off 16 points in a row to build a 25-point lead and send the rowdy, standing-room only crowd into early delirium.
Three-times NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant led the young
Thunder team with 32 points with Russell Westbrook and James Harden
adding 19 points apiece for the losers.
James, three-times league MVP, gave Durant a long embrace as the buzzer sounded to end the game and the series.
"I'd like to congratulate the Miami Heat," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "They did a fantastic job. We ran into a team that was tough to beat tonight."
It was Miami's second NBA title following a 2006 triumph and erased the bitter taste of a six-game defeat by the Dallas Mavericks in last year's Finals.
James, who averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists in the series, won his first NBA ring in his third trip to the finals.
His Cleveland Cavaliers were swept in four games in 2007 by the San Antonio Spurs, and the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in six games last season.
"Losing the finals last year put me back in place, it humbled me a lot," said James, who gave in to his elation. "It's about damn time!"
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said coming back to win the title this year was gratifying.
"We remember last year, we wanted to make up for last year," the coach said. "We had confidence in what we could do."
Dwyane Wade, who was MVP of the championship series in 2006 when the Heat won their first NBA title, said: "We had so much pain, so much pain, so much embarrassment from last season.
"Nothing had to be said. We were on a mission and that mission was not completed until tonight."