San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat: Game 7 Postgame Grades and Analysis
The Miami Heat was the first team to win back-to-back games in the NBA Finals this year, and because of that, they've now won back-to-back NBA championships.
Hats off to the San Antonio Spurs, who fought valiantly throughout the night, ultimately coming up short 95-88 at the hands of LeBron James and Co.
James was named the NBA Finals MVP, scoring 37 points on 12-of-23 shooting from the field and 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc, while adding 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Dwyane Wade was right behind LeBron with 23 points and 10 rebounds, on 11-of-21 shooting from the field.
The real hero of Game 7 for the Heat though was Shane Battier, who shot 6-of-8 from beyond the arc with 18 crucial points. Battier couldn't have picked a better game to show up and dominate from the perimeter.
Tim Duncan led the way for the Spurs with 24 points and 12 rebounds, but what he'll remember most is the missed layup and put-back with 48 seconds that could've tied the game.
This one will be tough for the Spurs to swallow, and on the flip side, that makes it all the sweeter for the Heat.
Tony Parker, Spurs
Tony Parker picked a rough night to have one of his worst performances of the 2013 postseason.
It's not that Parker wasn't leaving it all out on the floor, because he certainly was. It's just that the Heat finally stepped up their perimeter defense and played to their true potential.
Parker ended Game 7 with just 10 points and four assists, while shooting 4-of-12 from the floor.
It was clear that Parker was gassed throughout the latter parts of the fourth quarter, which is why he wasn't nearly as effective as the Spurs needed him to be.
Overall Grade: C
Mario Chalmers, Heat
Mario Chalmers certainly saved his best for last, scoring 34 points in the final two games of the Finals.
Chalmers ended Game 7 with 14 points, two assists and two steals, and that production was exactly what the Heat needed from their hybrid point-shooting guard.
Defensively, Chalmers played the best he did all series long against whoever the Spurs threw at him.
Shooting 1-of-7 from beyond the arc certainly wasn't efficient, and neither was his 1-of-4 shooting from the free-throw line; but he hit mid-range shots and layups when Miami needed him to.
Chalmers made a solid argument for why the Heat need to keep him on their roster moving forward, and it couldn't have come at a better time.
Honestly, the biggest shot of the night came from Chalmers at the end of the third quarter when he banked a three ball in to give the Heat a one-point lead at the end of the quarter. Chalmers hit big shots at just the right time, and the Heat needed just that.
Overall Grade: B-
Danny Green, Spurs
After setting the NBA Finals record for three pointers made, Danny Green fell off the face of the Earth.
He ended Game 7 with five points on 1-of-12 shooting from the field and 1-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.
It was a horrible time for Green to not show up, and his lack of scoring was a significant reason why the Spurs couldn't spread the floor and why they ultimately couldn't overcome the Heat.
Game 7 will be a very hard game for Green to forget, because his play was a very solid reason why the Spurs aren't hoisting the championship trophy.
Overall Grade: F
Dwyane Wade, Heat
It may have taken Dwyane Wade some time to find his form in this postseason but he did it at just the right time.
With 23 points and 10 rebounds, Wade was the perfect compliment to LeBron James' dominant performance, especially with Chris Bosh deciding to not show up.
Wade made up for his four turnovers with strong defense and aggressive play on the offensive side of the ball.
When he is shooting without hesitation, Wade is a very hard player to defend, and the Spurs were reminded of that in Game 7, allowing Wade to shoot 11-of-21 from the field.
Overall Grade: A-
Manu Ginobili, Spurs
Manu Ginobilli's 18 points, five assists and three rebounds were overshadowed by the four turnovers he committed, specifically the one on his arrant pass to Tim Duncan with the game on the line.
For some reason, in the final two games of the NBA Finals, Ginobili turned into a turnover machine, and he did it at just the wrong time.
With that being said, he did shoot 6-of-12 from the field and he was the Spurs third-leading scorer. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough because he couldn't protect the ball in the clutch.
That final turnover for Ginobili will be hard to live with in the offseason, and it will be a lasting image of the Spurs ultimate defeat in this series.
Overall Grade: C
Mike Miller, Heat
Mike Miller's shot was off by about a half an inch, and it sure made Heat fans worry throughout the first half of the game.
He ended with zero points on 0-of-5 shooting from the field and 0-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
Luckily for the Heat, Shane Battier found his stroke at just the right time, becoming the three-point specialist that Miller wasn't.
Defensively, Miller was a major liability in the first half, and that's why his minutes in the second half were extremely limited.
Miller's Game 7 performance was rather awful, but it shouldn't overshadow the fact that his sharp-shooting earlier in the series was a major reason why Miami was in the position to win the NBA title.
Overall Grade: D-
Kawhi Leonard, Spurs
Throughout the NBA Finals, we saw Kawhi Leonard mature right in front of our eyes.
There's no doubt that he's been solid in his first two seasons with the Spurs, but he really came into his own in this series, including Game 7.
He stepped up when Tony Parker wasn't producing, ending the game with 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field, with 16 rebounds.
Every time the Spurs needed a big shot, Leonard was their man and he helped keep the Spurs in this one until the Heat finally pulled away.
Leonard did all he could defensively against LeBron James, but it just wasn't enough to stop him from leading the Heat to back-to-back titles.
Overall Grade: A-
LeBron James, Heat
Two-time NBA champion. Two-time NBA Finals MVP. Four-time NBA MVP. And the list goes on.
LeBron James proved all of his critics wrong, yet again, by leading the Heat to their second-straight title with 37 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Oh, and he shot above 50 percent from the field and from beyond the arc—12-of-23 and 5-of-10, respectively.
The most telling moment of Game 7 for LeBron was when he came off of a screen set by Mario Chalmers, and instead of dishing it to a wide open Mario Chalmers, he rose up and knocked down the mid-range jumper to sink the Spurs.
While it was just one shot, it once again showed us why he has become the clutch, team leader that we all knew he could be.
LeBron did everything the Heat needed him to do—scoring when production was hard to find, and locking the Spurs down on the defensive side of the ball.
Once again LeBron is King of the NBA, and while it's hard to believe, he just keeps getting better.
Overall Grade: A+
Tim Duncan, Spurs
I'm sure all Tim Duncan is thinking about right now is the missed point-blank shot and put back over Shane Battier with 48 seconds left and the Spurs down just two points.
It was remarkable that he missed that game-tying shot, but in spite of that, Duncan had a very solid game.
It wasn't as great as his 25 points in the first half of Game 6, but with 24 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots, it was still a very solid performance.
He was perfect from the charity stripe, and if he hadn't missed those last two shots, he would've ended the night above 50 percent from the field.
Duncan locked down Chris Bosh, which wasn't hard to do, but he really did all the Spurs needed him to do, aside from missing a potential game-tying shot with an NBA title on the line.
As everyone on the Heat said during the post-game celebration, there is a serious level of respect for the Spurs, mainly Duncan.
Overall Grade: A-
Chris Bosh, Heat
What a terrible night for the once heralded third member of the Big Three.
Not only did he score a whopping zero points, he failed to get to the free-throw line.
Bosh did grab seven rebounds (three offensive), and he blocked a shot, but if LeBron and Wade hadn't led the way, Bosh's inability to produce would've been a foundational reason for the Heat not being able to win a title.
Luckily for the Heat that wasn't the case, and Bosh's atrocious night didn't matter.
But this kind of game certainly leads to wondering if the Heat are going to try and shop him around this offseason because Miami can clearly win without him.
Overall Grade: F
Gary Neal, SG Spurs
Remember that time when Gary Neal was the reason why the San Antonio Spurs crushed the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the Finals?
That moment is very far away, and Neal reminded us all of that in Game 7.
In 26 minutes, Neal accounted for just five points, and with Danny Green unable to find his stroke that killed the Spurs.
It couldn't have come at a worse time for the Spurs, but Neal did a great job of reminding fans why his 24-point performance in Game 3 was an anomaly.
Overall Grade: D-
Shane Battier, SF Heat
To all the basketball players out there who think they deserve playing time but aren't getting it, please use Shane Battier's play in the NBA Finals as your blueprint for success.
Instead of fighting Erik Spoelstra for minutes, Battier put his ego aside and did what was best for the Heat's overall success.
His opportunity came in Game 7 and he was absolutely ready for it, which is the sign of a true champion.
Battier dropped 18 huge points on 6-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Each and every one of his made shots were absolutely huge for the Heat, giving LeBron that true option on the perimeter he needed coming off drives into the paint.
LeBron certainly was the most valuable player for the Heat in the playoffs and the NBA Finals, but Battier was a close second in Game 7.
Overall Grade: A+
San Antonio Spurs Bench
What Spurs bench?
In a total of 43 minutes, the Spurs bench accounted for 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting, but it wasn't near the kind of production the Spurs needed with their perimeter shooters struggling.
Boris Diaw wasn't his typical defensively-sound self, and while he scored five points, he wasn't aggressive enough with his shot on the perimeter.
All in all, the Spurs second unit was a major weakness that the Heat exploited, specifically on defense. Every time the Spurs' bench players were on the floor together the Heat made runs, and it was a significant reason why Miami is celebrating back-to-back NBA titles.
Overall Grade: C-
Miami Heat Bench
Aside from Shane Battier's 18 points, the Heat's second unit accounted for just three points on 1-of-5 shooting.
While that looks awful on paper, that lack of production was because their starting five were leading the way.
Chris Andersen's energetic play on defense was a difference maker off the bench and it threw a wrench in the Spurs' rotations and the way they matched up with Miami.
Ray Allen was rather underwhelming, with zero points on 0-of-4 shooting, but he made up for it by finding his teammates and dishing out four assists throughout the night.
Overall Grade: B