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What's at Stake for LeBron James, Tim Duncan and NBA Finals Stars in Game 7?

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What's at Stake for LeBron James, Tim Duncan and NBA Finals Stars in Game 7?
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Erik Spoelstra was right.

Still basking in the "What the heck just happened?!?!" afterglow of his Miami Heat's miraculous 103-100 overtime win against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, Spoelstra stepped to the podium for his postgame press conference and reminded everyone that the words "game" and "seven" comprise the best phrase in team sports.

Of course, that wouldn't be the case if playoff series were typically decided in, say, five or nine or 11 games. But, apparently, seven was the number chosen in the Book of Armaments, and it's a number to which all parties involved will gladly commit.

Silly tangents aside, Game 7 of the NBA Finals takes on such sacred meaning not only because of its gravity as a no-holds-barred, winner-take-all tilt or because of its rarity (Thursday's will be just the sixth Game 7 in the Finals since 1979), but also because of the legacies typically at stake therein. One game can mean the difference between a player being lionized as a hero or derided as a goat, remembered as a legend or forgotten as a failure.

Granted, that has as much to do with the hyperbolic terms with which the media tend to frame these things as anything else. But what fun is it to talk about sports and the great ones who play them without spraying into the whole miasma a whiff of embellishment? That's what Game 7s are all about!

Well, that and plenty more—for these guys, anyway.

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