2007 NBA Finals

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2007 NBA Finals
2007 NBA Finals.png
Team Coach Wins
San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovich 4
Cleveland Cavaliers Mike Brown 0
Dates: June 7 – 14
MVP: Tony Parker
(San Antonio Spurs)
Television: ABC (U.S.)
Announcers: Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy
Radio network: ESPN
Announcers: Jim Durham, Hubie Brown and Jack Ramsay
Referees:
Game 1: Ken Mauer, Mike Callahan, Steve Javie
Game 2: Dick Bavetta, Jim Clark, Joe DeRosa
Game 3: Bernie Fryer, Bob Delaney, Dan Crawford
Game 4: Bennett Salvatore, Joe Forte, Eddie F. Rush
Eastern Finals: Cavaliers defeated Pistons, 4–2
Western Finals: Spurs defeated Jazz, 4–1
NBA Finals

The 2007 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 2006–07 National Basketball Association season, and was the conclusion of the 2007 NBA Playoffs. The best-of-seven series was played between the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs and the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers. This was Cleveland's first trip to the NBA Finals in their franchise history and San Antonio's fourth. The Spurs swept the Cavaliers 4-0. Tony Parker was named the series' MVP. The series was televised on ABC under the ESPN on ABC branding, and produced remarkably low television ratings.

Format[edit]

The Finals are played using the current 2-3-2 format, where the first two and last two games are held at the team with home court advantage. The NBA, after experimenting in the early years, restored this original format for the Finals in 1985. The other playoff series are played in the 2-2-1-1-1 format.

The best-of-seven series began on June 7, 2007, with the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs playing the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Because the San Antonio Spurs had a better regular season win-loss record, they had home court advantage.

Series summary[edit]

Game Date Home Team Result Road Team
Game 1 Thursday, June 7 San Antonio Spurs 85-76 (1-0) Cleveland Cavaliers
Game 2 Sunday, June 10 San Antonio Spurs 103-92 (2-0) Cleveland Cavaliers
Game 3 Tuesday, June 12 Cleveland Cavaliers 72-75 (0-3) San Antonio Spurs
Game 4 Thursday, June 14 Cleveland Cavaliers 82-83 (0-4) San Antonio Spurs

Background[edit]

2007 NBA Playoffs[edit]

San Antonio Spurs (Western Conference Champion) Cleveland Cavaliers (Eastern Conference Champion)
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Dallas Mavericks 67 15 .817 -
2 y-Phoenix Suns 61 21 .744 6
3 x-San Antonio Spurs 58 24 .707 9
4 y-Utah Jazz 51 31 .622 16
5 x-Houston Rockets 52 30 .634 15
6 x-Denver Nuggets 45 37 .549 22
7 x-Los Angeles Lakers 42 40 .512 25
8 x-Golden State Warriors 42 40 .512 25
9 Los Angeles Clippers 40 42 .488 27
10 New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets 39 43 .476 28
11 Sacramento Kings 33 49 .402 34
12 Portland Trail Blazers 32 50 .390 35
13 Minnesota Timberwolves 32 50 .390 35
14 Seattle SuperSonics 31 51 .378 36
15 Memphis Grizzlies 22 60 .268 45

3rd seed in the West, 3rd best league record

Regular season
# Eastern Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 c-Detroit Pistons 53 29 .646
2 x-Cleveland Cavaliers 50 32 .610 3
3 y-Toronto Raptors 47 35 .573 6
4 y-Miami Heat 44 38 .537 9
5 x-Chicago Bulls 49 33 .598 4
6 x-New Jersey Nets 41 41 .500 12
7 x-Washington Wizards 41 41 .500 12
8 x-Orlando Magic 40 42 .488 13
9 Philadelphia 76ers 35 47 .427 18
10 Indiana Pacers 35 47 .427 18
11 New York Knicks 33 49 .402 20
12 Charlotte Bobcats 33 49 .402 20
13 Atlanta Hawks 30 52 .366 23
14 Milwaukee Bucks 28 54 .341 25
15 Boston Celtics 24 58 .293 29

2nd seed in the East, 7th best league record

Defeated the (6) Denver Nuggets, 4–1 First Round Defeated the (7) Washington Wizards, 4–0
Defeated the (2) Phoenix Suns, 4–2 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (6) New Jersey Nets, 4–2
Defeated the (4) Utah Jazz, 4–1 Conference Finals Defeated the (1) Detroit Pistons, 4–2

Regular season series[edit]

The Cleveland Cavaliers won both games in the regular season series:

November 3
Cleveland Cavaliers 88, San Antonio Spurs 81
January 2
San Antonio Spurs 78, Cleveland Cavaliers 82

San Antonio Spurs[edit]

The previous season saw the San Antonio Spurs drop a heartbreaking seventh game at home to the rival Dallas Mavericks in the second round. As the new season began, the Spurs saw the Mavericks rolling through their regular season, on their way to a franchise best 67 win campaign. Meanwhile, the Spurs struggled through their season through January. With the main focus lying on Dallas, and the Phoenix Suns, the Spurs found themselves flying under the radar. However, the Spurs used a late season surge en route to a 58-24 regular season record, good enough for third seed in the Western Conference.

In the playoffs, the Spurs met the Denver Nuggets and their duo of Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony. Although the Nuggets took Game One, the Spurs rallied off 4 straight wins to take the series in five games. As San Antonio prepared to face off against the second seed Phoenix Suns, the top ranked Dallas Mavericks suffered a stunning first round exit at the hand of the Golden State Warriors. With the Mavs gone, the stakes of the Suns-Spurs series shot up dramatically, and the result was a closely competitive and controversial series.

The Suns, due to their better season record, had homecourt advantage, but that would not last past Game One. In a hotly contested battle of Western Conference heavyweights, each team tried to deliver a knockout blow to the other. The Spurs finally landed it, but by accident. With the game in the balance Tony Parker and Steve Nash collided head-to-head. A large gash opened along Nash's nose and though the medical staff tried admirably, they could not stop the bleeding and he was forced to sit the final 45 seconds and watch as the Spurs won Game One 111-106. Game Two saw the Suns rebound and blow out the Spurs to a 101-81 beating. After this game, Suns center Amar'e Stoudemire labeled the Spurs a dirty team. Game Three switched back to San Antonio and saw a return of the physical play, resulting in Manu Ginóbili receiving a bruised and bloodied eye and Nash being kneed in the groin by Bruce Bowen. However, Tim Duncan led the Spurs to a 108-101 victory.

Games Four and Five were the most controversial of the series. The Spurs, after being comfortably in control of Game Four, saw their 11-point fourth quarter lead dwindle away, to a 2-point Suns lead. With 18 seconds left Robert Horry bodychecked Steve Nash in which he threw his arms in the air, into the scorers table. Nash's teammates jumped to his defense; during the ensuing altercation, Stoudemire and Boris Diaw left the bench heading toward the altercation. Their action violated NBA rules, resulting in the decision by league commissioner David Stern to suspend both players for Game Five (Horry was also suspended two games for his flagrant foul against Nash). In Game Five, played in Phoenix, the short-handed Suns jumped out early and enjoyed a 16 point lead on the Spurs, but in a reversal of Game Four, this time the Spurs came back in the final seconds and won the game 88-85, giving San Antonio a 3-2 series lead.

The Spurs won Game Six of the series 114-106 in San Antonio, sending them to their fifth Western Conference Finals since 1999.

San Antonio went on to beat the Utah Jazz in five games to advance to the franchise's fourth NBA Finals.

Cleveland Cavaliers[edit]

In the replay of the previous year's playoff with the Cavs holding homecourt advantage against Washington Wizards, the Cavs took care of the Wizards in a four game sweep after the season ending injuries of both Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler. In the second round of the playoffs the Cavs faced off against the New Jersey Nets. Again the Cavs had homecourt and battled with the Nets through 6 games before becoming victorious in the series. The Cavs for only the third time in franchise history were moving on to the Conference Finals, and this time they were facing a familiar foe. The Detroit Pistons, the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, with their homecourt advantage, were waiting for the Cavs. This was the same Detroit team that knocked the Cavs out of the second round last year. The expectations were high after a long 7 game series the previous year and these two teams would not disappoint.

The first two games were close and saw Cleveland fall by identical 79-76 scores. Down 0-2 in the series, the spotlight shifted back to Cleveland and LeBron James. Another hard fought set ensued, with the Cavs taking the two games at home 88-82 and 91-87 respectively. Game 5 switched back to Detroit and produced one of the greatest moments in NBA history.

With 6:14 to go in regulation and his team clinging to a one point 79-78 lead, LeBron James took over. He scored 11 of the final 12 points to end regulation tied 91-91. In the 1st overtime, James scored all 9 of the Cavaliers points ending this period tied 100-100. In the 2nd overtime, James again scored all 9 of the teams points to win game five 109-107. Thus, in the last 16:14 of play, James scored the Cavaliers last 25 points and 29 of the last 30 points.

The Cavaliers beat the Pistons at home in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the franchise's first ever trip to NBA Finals. Cleveland became the third team in NBA history to win a best-of-seven Conference Final after going down 0-2 in a series.

Game summaries[edit]

Game 1[edit]

The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the 2007 Finals as newcomers. Game 1 was their first NBA Finals game in franchise history, and the first for each of its players (other than reserve point guard Eric Snow). However, the San Antonio Spurs had been to the Finals in three of the past eight seasons, winning a championship each time. With solid performances by Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginóbili, the Spurs won the series opener in convincing fashion, limiting LeBron James to 14 points on 4-16 shooting.

June 7
9:00 p.m. ET
Cleveland Cavaliers 76, San Antonio Spurs 85
Scoring by quarter: 15-20, 20-20, 14-24, 27-21
Pts: Gibson 16
Rebs: James 7
Asts: James, Gibson 4 each
TOs: James 6
Pts: Parker 27
Rebs: Duncan 13
Asts: Parker 7
Blks: Duncan 5
AT&T Center, San Antonio
Attendance: 18,797
Referees:

Game 2[edit]

The Spurs took a stranglehold on momentum in Game 2. The Spurs' big three overwhelmed the Cavs and the Spurs led by as many as 29 points in the third quarter. They dominated the game during the first 3 quarters and played show-time basketball. A furious 25-6 rally by Cleveland in the final quarter wasn't enough as the Spurs took a 2-0 lead in the series.

June 10
9:00 p.m. ET
Cleveland Cavaliers 92, San Antonio Spurs 103
Scoring by quarter: 17-28, 16-30, 29-31, 30-14
Pts: James 25
Rebs: Varejão 10
Asts: James 6
TOs: James 6
Pts: Parker 30
Rebs: Duncan, Horry 9 each
Asts: Duncan 8
Blks: Horry 5
AT&T Center, San Antonio
Attendance: 18,797
Referees:

Game 3[edit]

Rookie Daniel Gibson started Game 3 in place of the injured Larry Hughes but scored a series-low 2 points on 1-10 shooting. As a team the Cavs shot only .367, but out-rebounded the Spurs 48-41. Zydrunas Ilgauskas had a 2006-07 season high 18 rebounds. On the game's final play, LeBron James missed a potential game-tying 29 foot 3-pointer.

Game 3 was the lowest-scoring Finals game since 1955, with Tim Duncan of the Spurs having his lowest scoring game in his NBA Finals career, with 14 points.

June 12
9:00 p.m. ET
San Antonio Spurs 75, Cleveland Cavaliers 72
Scoring by quarter: 16-18, 24-20, 15-12, 20-22
Pts: Parker 17
Rebs: Duncan, Bowen 9 each
Asts: Ginóbili 5
Stls: Finley 4
Pts: James 25
Rebs: Ilgauskas 18
Asts: James 7
TOs: James 5
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
Attendance: 20,562
Referees:

Game 4[edit]

San Antonio started out strong through the first three quarters, leading by as many as 11. Cleveland would stage a rally near the end of the third quarter and the first five minutes of the fourth, scoring 14 consecutive points to take its first second-half lead of the series. However, the Spurs would stage a 12-3 rally of their own to retake the lead and win the series in a 4-0 sweep.

June 14
9:00 p.m. ET
San Antonio Spurs 83, Cleveland Cavaliers 82
Scoring by quarter: 19-20, 20-14, 21-18, 23-30
Pts: Ginóbili 27
Rebs: Duncan 15
Asts: Ginóbili 5
TOs: Duncan 6
Pts: James 24
Rebs: Ilgauskas 13
Asts: James 10
TOs: James 6
San Antonio wins series, 4–0
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
Attendance: 20,562
Referees:

Twelve-year veteran Michael Finley was awarded the NBA championship game ball.

Rosters[edit]

"*"=Starter

Broadcasting[edit]

Coverage was produced by ESPN and televised on ABC in the United States, TSN in Canada, Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, Canal+ in France, Premiere in Germany, and more than 100 other broadcasters in over 200 countries.

Play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, analysts Mark Jackson & former Rockets head-coach Jeff Van Gundy, and courtside reporters Michele Tafoya & Stuart Scott provided commentary and analysis for the North American market. The radio coverage on ESPN Radio features play-by-play man Mike Tirico and color analysts Dr. Jack Ramsay and Hubie Brown.

The featured song, aired throughout the playoffs, was The Pussycat Dolls "Right Now."

Another song featured in the 2007 NBA Finals series, "It Ends Tonight" by The All-American Rejects, was aired at the end of the pre-game promo for Game 4.

Ratings[edit]

According to ESPN, the NBA Finals series was a television bust in the United States.[1] San Antonio's four-game sweep of Cleveland finished with a record-low 6.2 television rating and 11 share on ABC, Nielsen Media Research said on June 15, 2007.

That was down 27 percent from the 8.5/15 for Miami's six-game victory over Dallas from the previous year and 5 percent under the previous low, a 6.5/12 for San Antonio's six-game win over New Jersey in 2003.

San Antonio's series-winning 83-82 victory on Thursday night got a 6.5/12, down 17 percent from the 7.8/14 for Game 4 in 2006.

Coverage controversy[edit]

Additionally, ESPN on ABC's coverage of the Finals placed far more emphasis on the legacy of the game. More was seemingly directed towards league stars Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird, three players responsible for the league's success in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition, there was increased emphasis celebrity and cross-network promotion, much of which centered on Eva Longoria, star of ABC's Desperate Housewives and then-fiancee of Spurs' Point Guard Tony Parker was featured at times during the games.[citation needed]

Controversies[edit]

In October 2007, Detroit Pistons power forward Rasheed Wallace commented on the loss, stating that the Cavaliers didn't beat the Pistons, but rather that the Pistons lost because they fell prey to the NBA wanting the Cavaliers in the finals. Wallace stated that the NBA was becoming "fake", like World Wrestling Entertainment. NBA Commissioner David Stern addressed the comments, calling them "disrespectful." He rebuked Wallace for such statements, but did not issue a fine against the Pistons forward.[2][3]

Aftermath[edit]

The Spurs continued to stay competitive in the Western Conference, but age began to take its toll. The Spurs won 56 games in the 2007–08 season, but had to cede the Southwest Division title to the New Orleans Hornets due to a tie-breaker. The Spurs had the last laugh, though, defeating the Hornets in seven games. But their chance of defending their title was denied by the Los Angeles Lakers in five games of the conference finals. After that the Spurs proceeded to win only a single playoff series in three years (2010, vs. Dallas 4–2 of the first round), culminating in a six-game first-round upset by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, after the Spurs won 61 games that season. They did bounce back in the 2012 NBA Playoffs, going 10–0 in three rounds before they were unexpectedly ousted by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the conference finals. The Spurs would then return to the 2013 NBA Finals to have a rematch with LeBron James where they would face the Miami Heat. This time, however, LeBron James and the Miami Heat got the better of the Spurs, beating them in seven games.

The Cavaliers won 45 games in the 2007–08 season, despite early-season contract issues involving center Anderson Varejão and guard Sasha Pavlović, and a mid-season trade for Ben Wallace. They fell in the second round by the eventual NBA champions Boston Celtics in seven games, after a hard-fought duel involving LeBron James and Paul Pierce. The Cavaliers would earn the league's best record for the next two years (66 and 61 wins, respectively) and boast the NBA's MVP in James. However, they were unable to win it all, losing to the Orlando Magic in six games of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals and the Celtics in six games of the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals. The latter playoff defeat would cost head coach Mike Brown his job, though he was later re-hired prior to the 2013–14 NBA season. After that season, as a free agent, James left for the Miami Heat and helped them to three successive NBA Finals appearances, winning in 2012 and 2013, while the Cavaliers sunk to an Eastern Conference-low 19 wins in the 2010–11 NBA season, which included a 26-game losing streak. The Cavaliers then selected Kyrie Irving with the first pick of the 2011 NBA Draft as their rebuilding cornerstone, before going on to pick power forward Tristan Thompson with the No. 4 pick in the same draft. In 2012, shooting guard Dion Waiters and center Tyler Zeller followed with the No. 4 and No. 17 picks. The Cavaliers then also received the No. 1 Draft pick in 2013, selecting Anthony Bennett.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Associated Press (June 15, 2007). "Ratings for 2007 finals down 27 percent from last year". ESPN.com. Retrieved June 15, 2007. 
  2. ^ McCosky, Chris (October 27, 2007). "Wallace gets Stern rebuke—Commissioner infers forward's comments on league wanting Cavaliers in Finals disrespectful". The Detroit News. p. 3C. 
  3. ^ "Rasheed's comments draw ire of Stern". NBC Sports. October 27, 2007. Retrieved May 28, 2011. 

External links[edit]