Two highly experienced teams fought over every possession. Stars and role players alike gasped when they went up and down the court. And because the stakes involved an NBA championship, the difference between elation and regret remained proportionally imbalanced to the moments that decided that outcome.
Once it all ended, the Miami Heat walked out of American Airlines Arena with a 95-88 Game 7 win over the San Antonio Spurs and a second consecutive NBA Championship. In what marked the second highest NBA Finals game on ABC after earning a 17.7 overnight rating, plenty saw LeBron James’ greatness, Tim Duncan’s surprisingly poor marksmanship in the final moments, a Miami Heat team intent on three-peating and a Spurs team that may have seen its last days.
But that doesn’t compare to the Lakers’ 83-79 Game 7 win over the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals. That game earned a 18.2 rating and remains the highest viewed Finals game on the ABC network.
In that contest, many of interesting things unfolded. Kobe Bryant overcame a 6 of 24 shooting clip by grabbing 15 rebounds. The former Ron Artest validated his arrival with the Lakers by posting 20 points on seven-of-18 shooting and holding Boston forward Paul Pierce to 18 points on a five-of-15 clip. Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher also made critical shots down the stretch.
That seems like a distant memory for the Lakers, who have lost early in the playoffs in three consecutive seasons and have tried maximizing a talent albeit aging roster.
Yet, as Miami crawled their way to another championship, it brought visual reminders on the difficulty task the Lakers took in securing theirs.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org