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LeBron James and Dwyane Wade stick together to lead Heat to championship

Jun 21, 2013, 1:14 AM EST

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game 7 Getty Images

LeBron James stood on the American Airlines Arena stage and clutched the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP trophy. To his left, Dwayne held the the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy and rubbed it in amazement.

Friends, teammates and superstars, LeBron and Wade ended the 2013 season side by side as NBA champions, just as they’d always imagined.

LeBron wrapped his left arm around Wade’s shoulders and leaned in to share a few words with his partner in crime. They tucked their heads so close together, their eyes disappearing from view beneath their hats, it was tough to tell where one ended and the other began.

It was as if they were one.

The Heat have always marketed themselves as a three-superstar team, but only LeBron’s and Wade’s rising tide has elevated Chris Bosh to their status. Bosh has never been capable of leading a team to a championship the way LeBron did last season or Wade did in 2006. As important as Bosh is, this grand experiment in Miami was always more about LeBron and Wade.

And in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, it was LeBron and Wade out front, leading the Heat to a 95-88 victory and their second straight championship. LeBron (37 points and 12 rebounds) and Wade (23 points and 10 rebounds) posted double-doubles in the same game for the first time since March and for the first time in the playoffs since their very first series together, a first-round matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers way back in 2011.

It was a fitting shared honor for two players whose play together had received intense scrutiny lately. Perhaps, you’ve seen some of these numbers:

LeBron in Games 1-6:

  • With Wade: 17.3 points per 36 minutes on 38.9 percent shooting, 100.8 offensive rating
  • Without Wade: 27.3 points per 36 minutes on 54.1 percent shooting, 131.7 offensive rating

Wade in Games 1-6:

  • With LeBron: 17.4 points per 36 minutes on 43.8 percent shooting, 100.8 offensive rating
  • Without LeBron: 32.7 points per 36 minutes on 62.5 percent shooting, 115.2 offensive rating

Many called for Erik Spoelstra to organize his rotation so LeBron and Wade each spent as much time as possible on the court without the other. Instead, Spoelstra went the other direction, playing LeBron and Wade together for 36 minutes in Game 7, more than they’d averaged together in the series’ first six games.

They didn’t necessarily get it done in tandem – Miami’s offensive rating in Game 7 with LeBron and not Wade on the court was 134.6 and with both on the court was 93.1, an even more extreme difference than in Games 1-6 – but they got it done together.

LeBron and Wade both scored at least the 23 points Wade had tonight in just three games after March 6. All three were in the Finals.

“They played Hall of Fame basketball tonight,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said in his postgame press conference. “That’s some of the best basketball they both played at the same time throughout the entire playoffs.”

The truth is LeBron and Wade still haven’t completely figured out how to play together.

But they’ll be back next year to go through the process of learning how to complement each other – just as they’ve wanted to navigate this journey with the Heat, just as they’ve conducted nearly every interview in the last three years, just as they sat tonight while posing for celebratory post-game photos:

Side by side.

Friends, teammates and superstars, LeBron and Wade have helped each other top the NBA world once again.

  1. dolphindubs - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Weeee are the champions my friends…and we’ll keep on fighting til the end….no time for losers (like cantonbound13, bigwii, and others)…cause we are the champions (unlike cantonbound13, bigwii, and others)…of the world!

    GOT ONE, GOT TWO….

    • elcapitanfiscal - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:46 AM

      Where is Cantonbound?

  2. jzone954 - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    And just to think, dudes 3 years ago were giggling it up saying “lebron and heat will never win a title”, and, “lebron is not clutch”…….amazing the things that can happen within 3 years……and a lot of you should be thanking the mavericks because we would be talking about a 3 peat……..

  3. jjones314 - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    Time to eat that humble pie haters.

    You prayed for his downfall…..but he rose above it.

    LEBRON JAMES IS A CLOSER, A BACK TO BACK CHAMP, AND A 2 TIME FINALS MVP

    • 2late2matter - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:39 AM

      LeChoke and D-Whine both stepped up in Game 7, with LeChoke taking over the 3rd and 4th quarters and obviously in-the-zone.

      Congrats on their success this year and their first Back-2-Back. Now they know how hard these are to achieve. Ask the Pistons, Chicago, Spurs about the blood, sweat, and tears it took to earn their titles. None became an absolute dynasty overnight, so the Heat should expect some lean years now.

      Bet that new banner will look nice in their gym, however!

      • robones - Jun 21, 2013 at 8:51 AM

        My response to your comment is by simply stating your screen name “2late2matter”

      • 2late2matter - Jul 12, 2013 at 7:51 PM

        My screen name is non-related to comments made in the Newsvine, any more than robones is supposed to be relative. If you think hard you may realize that comments made after-the-facts are generally too late to matter, except for the experience learned. Okay?

      • dci744 - Jun 23, 2013 at 6:04 PM

        Gotta love how your juvenile name calling does nothing to bolster your perspective.

      • 2late2matter - Jul 12, 2013 at 7:49 PM

        If you ever read between the lines you would interpret that LeChoke did not, nor did D-Whine. They both (as usual when playing in tandem) played their A game.

  4. mungman69 - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:27 AM

    Miami had the better TEAM but next year it will be much harder to repeat with Chicago, Indiana, The Nicks and maybe others fighting it out. But Miami has 2 in row and will be the favorite to 3 peat.

    • daniel10017 - Jun 21, 2013 at 8:29 AM

      Forget about the NY Knicks. They have NO SHOT. They are old, slow and Carmelo Anthony while great IS NOT ELITE. He doesn’t have the co-hones to carry his team on his back and cannot play defense for his life. The Knicks squad belong in the AARP.

  5. pantsfreezone - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    Back to back, baby. @Cantonbound and the rest of you haters: You hear that? Do you? That is the sound that all of Charles Barkley, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose’s rings make when they throw them together on the table. “Shhhhhhhhhhh”.

    To Dwyane Wade, Mr. 305 and 3-time NBA Champion. Sorry I doubted you man, you are the greatest thing that happened to the Heat franchise. Much love.

    LETS GO HEAT!

  6. mungman69 - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:30 AM

    Oh, and anyone who says that LaBron isn’t the best is an idiot. Consistent and clutch. There is no one better.

  7. dolphindubs - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:30 AM

    @mungman69

    I’ll give you Indiana and Chicago will be a challenge. But any team with Carmelo at the helm WONT WIN JACK. This aint college, this is the pro’s. Mans game!

  8. mungman69 - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    I guess the Heat fans stayed for game 7.

  9. rickyspanish - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:34 AM

    mrfloydpink – Jun 17, 2013 at 12:24 AM
    Well, I hope LeBron is satisfied finishing his career with just the one championship*.
    (* – Strike-shortened season)

    __________________________

    You were saying?

    Enjoy the summer, I hope all the energy you wasted on making ridiculous proclamations (such as the one above) was worth your time. As we celebrate, you get to kick rocks and try to find more outlandish reasons to hate this team.

    Fair weather fans, David Stern telling the refs to swing the game in Miami’s favor, the team is too Hollywood, LeBron and Wade complain too much in transition, Bosh is soft. Did I miss anything?

    Don’t matter to us homeboy, our team is back-to-back champions and we get to party. You made this championship sweeter with all your nonsense, thank you.

  10. siggtacular - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:34 AM

    First RAVENS now HEAT woo hoo

  11. edweird0 - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    HaHaha you guys need to just enjoy all of this and not worry about all those losers who talked all that crap. Bask in the blissfulness of your team representing the elite of the NBA.

  12. 13arod - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:43 AM

    mungman69 chicago Indiana and Knicks are not better then the heat

  13. cwilson6843 - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    LeBron said it best. “For those who talk about me off the floor…….. I ain’t got nothin to worry about”. Congratulations Miami heat. Now lets 3peat

  14. elcapitanfiscal - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    Where is Cantonbound?

  15. dolphindubs - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    Heat/LeBron haters cant use the refs as an excuse, so now that they cant they are silent because they have no other pathetic excused for their stupidity.

    Enjoy the summer bi*tches!!!

  16. dolphindubs - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    Cantonbound is sitting in his extra-smedium ‘Melo jersey jacking it to reruns of the ’99 Finals while crying and wondering “if only, if only”

  17. itsonlyaspeedbump - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:59 AM

    Hey Lebron James, go be the best rebounder on our team.

    Hey Lebron James, Tony Parker is killing us, go take him away.

    Hey Lebron James, bring the ball up the floor for seemingly every possession.

    Hey Lebron James, lead our team in scoring.

    Hey Lebron James, dominate on the defensive end and then come back and do it all on offense.

    Hey Lebron James, play almost every minute of every game.

    Be the leader and best player of a championship team.

    Check, check, check, check, check, check AAANNNNDDD check.

    Anything else you want him to do?

    Somewhere, Skip Bayless and his legion of Lebron-haters are coming up with an explanation for why Lebron James actually sucks, and how 3 consecutive NBA Finals appearances and back-to-back championships is actually just a fluke.

    We are watching one of the greatest players ever at the peak of his powers. This was a signature game with a signature shot that will be played over and over again in the coming years.

    Forget the Heat, I’m happy for Lebron.

    • limonadamas - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:26 AM

      Seriously… how could anyone listen to Lebron talking about his upbringing from inner-city Akron, beating the odds, and understanding the bigger picture and NOT root for him, even a little?

      His performance today has pretty much removed any doubt about his place in NBA history. But whether or not tonight’s results were different, his postgame comments spoke volumes to me.

      We are all witnesses.

      • wswalcottmedshow - Jun 21, 2013 at 6:13 AM

        As an Akronite, I fully agree.

  18. hjworton46 - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:07 AM

    A quick thought for Wade; he’s now a 3 time NBA champion but because he is seen as LeBrons sidekick will never get the respect he is due as a player. LBJ couldn’t do what he does without Wade.

    • realfootballfan - Jun 21, 2013 at 7:25 AM

      That’s simply not true. I’m not a fan of either team, just a fan of good basketball and Wade is amazing. He was obviously hurt since late in the season and when they needed him, he delivered. That’s special what he did most of the games from game 4 onward.

      He’s one of the best defensive two guards I’ve ever seen, even hobbling on one leg. How many times was he skying for blocks from behind or getting rebounds that he had no business being in on? I think his credentials were set from how he took over that 2006 Finals when the Heat had no business winning, solidified it last year especially with his defense, and is a legend now for how he gritted through everything and was right there to help LBJ deliver another title to Miami this year.

      When he was healthy during the season, he had career highs in all categories just about, so I don’t know why people thought it was anything but the injury.

      Next season, Spoelstra would be wise to get these guys more rest like Popavich did with his guys because the playoffs are a grind.

      • miamatt - Jun 21, 2013 at 12:23 PM

        Totally agree. While I admired the Heat for going for it all during the win streak , it did take a toll; even with Wade (among others) getting lots of late season rest after the Heat wrapped up homecourt early, the playoffs are a season unto themselves.

        I actually thought Spoelstra did a great job in getting guys rest, and for keeping guys like Mike Miller on ice until they were needed, but it may have to go to another level with D-Wade next year. All the talk about Miami’s experiment being a failure, about the Heat not being able to win long term this way, about the lack of size being exposed, really just comes down to whether or not Wade is playing at a superstar-level. When LBJ and Wade are playing like they did last night, good luck beating the Heat, post presence be damned.

    • jsc1973 - Jun 21, 2013 at 11:29 AM

      No, because he won one without LeBron. And yes, I know Shaq was on that team, but Shaq was already a little past his prime by then, and even he said that was D-Wade’s team. He’s not Scottie Pippen, who was a great player but never proved he could lead a championship team. D-Wade did it, and that’s going to be his legacy every bit as much as these titles he’s won as LeBron’s No. 2 guy.

    • loungefly74 - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      in the “grand pedestal of player rankings”…yes, Wade will be a notch lower…but you are correct in saying no way Lebron does what he does without Wade. Same can be said for Shaq and Kobe…

    • dci744 - Jun 23, 2013 at 6:06 PM

      Completely absurd

  19. wswalcottmedshow - Jun 21, 2013 at 6:15 AM

    I don’t believe anyone views Duane Wade as another Scotty Pippen. Duane Wade was and still is an integral part of this team and one of the greatest 2 guards that ever played the game.

    • loungefly74 - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      scotty was just as integral to jordan’s success too…no scotty = no titles.

      • kungfubowler - Jun 21, 2013 at 7:08 PM

        The thing with the Jordan comment about having Pippen and Rodman too is that they were consistent. James didn’t have any consistant guys during this run.

  20. corpexec007 - Jun 21, 2013 at 7:36 AM

    The NBA Finals were RIGGED. Does it not bother anyone that Nike has ALREADY produced, PRIOR TO THE LAST TWO GAMES FOR MIAMI, shoes for LeBron James that said “2 Time Champ” on the inside???? How could Nike POSSSIBLY know the outcome of the series, BEFORE production of these shoes, unless it was RIGGED???? Do not try to tell me that Nike produced 2 full runs of shoes, released this week, one WITH “2 Time Champ” and a full run without!!

    If you ever thought that pro sports is RIGGED by the businesses that make MILLIONS off it, this is proof positive!!!

  21. jimbo300 - Jun 21, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    This article does not give much credit Chris Bosh, but without him, the Heat may not be in game seven.

  22. jsc1973 - Jun 21, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    You can throw that “offensive rating” stuff, whatever it is, in the garbage. The only number that matters is two. And counting.

    Obviously, when it matters most, LeBron and D-Wade know how to get it right.

  23. thetooloftools - Jun 21, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    I noticed that LeBron James didn’t have the baby he had last year with Sharon Reed up on the podium with him? Poor thing.
    What’s up with that?

    • dci744 - Jun 23, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      And that matters to you why exactly? And please don’t use the “just curious” response.

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