Spurs vs. Heat: LeBron James wins second straight Finals MVP

USA TODAY Sports

Remember the "LeBron James is not clutch" sports columnist/radio host meme? The league's regular-season MVP won his second straight Finals MVP trophy after leading the Heat with 37 points in a Game 7 win.

LeBron James was the league's MVP this year, and after guiding the Miami Heat to a seven-game victory in the NBA Finals he's also the Finals MVP, his second year in a row earning the award.

James had 37 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists in the decisive Game 7, making mincemeat of the Spurs' series-long strategy of giving him space. He drilled five threes, and with less than 30 seconds on the clock and just a two-point lead, pulled up off a pick-and-roll and nailed a jumper that essentially sealed the Heat's victory.

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James, once dogged for his lack of postseason performance, becomes only the second player ever to win the regular season MVP and Finals MVP in back-to-back seasons. The other? Michael Jordan, and he only did it once. James is also now the 10th player to win the Finals MVP multiple times, and just the fifth to win the trophy in back-to-back years. This is the 12th time the winner of the regular-season MVP has managed to take home the Finals honor.

There was really no better option on the Heat to win the trophy. While Dwyane Wade struggled on and off, with really only one strong game, and Chris Bosh could rarely be counted on, James carried the team. He didn't always play his best basketball -- in fact, he really struggled at times with a Spurs defense intent to sag off and make him think about whether to take a relatively uncontested jumper or dive into defense packing the lane -- but he always managed to affect the game in ways besides scoring.

He managed triple-doubles twice and put in the type of all-around effort we've come to expect from the game's best player. Two of his most notable series highlights were blocks, obliterating a Tiago Splitter dunk and swatting Tim Duncan with the team down two in Game 6. He got his hands everywhere. His passes were crisp and often unbelievable. And his dogged defense was called upon when the Heat needed someone to shut down Tony Parker late in games.

And of course, sometimes he scored: 33 points in a Game 4 win that quickly turned from a close game into a blowout and 32 points to go along with a triple-double in an overtime game that kept the season alive in Game 6, 16 of them in the fourth quarter and overtime.

And, oh yeah, 37 points in Game 7.

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Did we mention that already?

The Skip Bayless meme that James isn't clutch has to be dead. He was at his strongest when the Heat were facing elimination this season, scoring 32 points on 17 shots in Game 7 against the Indiana Pacers and willing the Heat back to life from a double-digit deficit in his so-called Headband Game in Game 6 against the Spurs, before Thursday's Game 7 heroics.

James' Finals win also brings redemption over the Spurs, who gave him a bad taste in his first championship series back in 2007, when he was unable to will the Cleveland Cavaliers to even a single win in a four-game San Antonio romp.

More from SB Nation:

Miami Twice! LeBron James leads Heat to another title

LeBron James named NBA Finals MVP (again)

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