I would have sworn that the Spurs would have won this one. They came so incredibly close on Tuesday. And then again last night.
Anyhow, the Miami Heat prevailed, 95-88, earning its second straight NBA title and its third in eight years. LeBron James scored 29 points, grabbed nine rebounds and was named most valuable player.
Thus endeth an NBA season that seemed to go on forever. I believe the preseason starts in a week or two, doesn’t it?
Here’s a look at today’s final NBA finals pages…
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The Sun Sentinel celebrated the win with this huge, wraparound cover featuring the Heat’s “big three” of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
The picture is by staffer Jim Rassol. The pages were designed by Tammy Wheatley and design director David Schutz. Thanks to social media coordinator Lori Todd for sending that to us overnight.
Rachel Schallom took a few moments out of probably one of the busiest weeks of her young career to send along the six pages she put together for today’s sports section.
The sports front leads with another trophy shot starting James and Wade. The two combined for 60 points, the caption says.
The picture is by staffer Robert Duyos.
Page three features a nice third-quarter action shot of LeBron by Jim Rassol.
Page four contains a number of significant sidebars, including one about Rashard Lewis, who pretty much rode the bench all the way through the series.
Both pictures there are by staffer Robert Duyos.
Pages six and seven faced each other, so let’s look at them that way. Click on these — or any pages here today — for a closer look.
Page six holds a few quick stats. Page seven, however, gives us a bit of a laugh with that headline:
This time, nobody left early
The fan-oriented photos are by staffers Carline Jean and Adam Sacasa.
And page eight concludes coverage with a fun story about the stars who came to see the show. Both the picture of Lenny Kravitz and the one of an off-balance LeBron James are by Jim Rassol.
Note the tweets down the right side by other NBA stars.
Finally, the folks in Fort Lauderdale shot a little video footage last night as the final pages came together.
I tried to embed it for you here, but my efforts resulted in an auto-playing video. Therefore, I’ll have to settle for giving you a link.
I think we expect to see celebration and trophy-hoisting shots on the front of Miami-area newspapers. But this picture by el Nuevo Herald staffer Pedro Portal is particularly nice, with all the kids and Wade hugging James.
San Antonio, Texas
Now, the painful missed opportunity of the night for the Spurs was the one in this wonderful page-one photo:
That’s Tim Duncan. With the Spurs down by only two with less than a minute to go, Duncan missed a shot that would have tied the game. He then got a second opportunity — a chance to tip in his own missed shot. But he missed that, too.
Staffer Jerry Lara was there to make the picture. And designer Emilio Rabago used that picture to great effect on page one.
So the headline has a double meaning: It applies to the very moment you see in the picture. And it also applies to both Games Six and Seven — either of which the Spurs could have won, but didn’t.
After absorbing all that, disappointed Spurs fans turned to the sports front to find a follow-up picture by Jerry Lara: Tim Duncan beating himself up right after that missed pair of opportunities.
What a great shot. And played perfectly by designer Jim Martinez.
Bonus: That little graphic sidebar at the top of the page showing the Spurs’ Tony Parker. During games One through Five, Parker shot 49.3 percent from the floor, leading the Spurs to victories. But during the last two games, Parker shot only 25.7 percent.
It’s a telling stat. But notice how the telling didn’t require a bar chart or, God forbid, a bubble chart. Simple text worked just fine.
The front pages here are from the Newseum. Of course.
Earlier, here in the blog: