LeBron James has now won his first NBA championship. The Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-106 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to win the series.
LeBron had a triple-double scoring 26 points to go with 13 assists and 11 rebounds and was without question named the Finals MVP. He helped orchestrate Miami’s barrage of threes as they set an NBA Finals record with 14 made 3-pointers.
LeBron joins Larry Bird in 1986 and James Worthy in 1988 as players who closed out an NBA Finals series with a triple-double. LeBron averaged 28.6 points, 7.4 assists and 10.2 rebounds per game in the series.
LeBron has finally accomplished the inevitable winning a title. A player of his stature was bound to get a ring eventually and it seemed like it took awhile, not coming until his ninth season, but he is still just 27 years old which is a year younger than Michael Jordan was when he won his first title in 1991.
Mike Miller, who didn’t make a 3-pointer in the series before Game 5, led Miami with seven threes and scored 23 points in 23 minutes.
The game had a feel from the start that Miami would win. Every 50-50 ball, every bounce just seemed to go in the Heat’s favor while OKC frantically searched for some kind of answer.
Kevin Durant scored 32 and had 11 rebounds for the Thunder but the night simply did not belong to OKC. It just isn’t their time yet.
Russell Westbrook coming off his epic 43-point performance in Game 4 was not the same assassin in Game 5. He attacked relentlessly shooting 13 free throws but was just 4-for-20 from the field and scored 19 points.
A key stretch came in the second quarter with the Thunder down by seven, Kendrick Perkins checked into the game and OKC quickly fell behind by 17.
Perkins was simply not made for this series as the Heat played small ball and destroyed any impact Perkins could have made. He wasn’t quick enough to defend Miami’s pick-and-rolls and only clogged up the Thunder’s offense on the other end.
James Harden, who came into this game averaging just 10.8 points per game in the series, once again did not have his best stuff. He finished with 19 points but some of those came in garbage time.
Harden’s job all season was bringing the Thunder back from their slow starts and that was a key ingredient that went missing in this series.
The Thunder are so young and you can easily point to inexperience as to why they did not beat the Heat in this series. But they were still talented enough to do so and that’s why it is so frustrating for Thunder fans.
The Thunder will be back though. This series was another learning lesson for them. They never really lose, they just learn how to win.