2007 NBA Finals
|Dates||June 7 – 14|
(San Antonio Spurs)
|Announcers||Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy|
|Announcers||Jim Durham, Hubie Brown and Jack Ramsay|
|Hall of Famers||Officials:
Dick Bavetta (2015)
|Eastern Finals||Cavaliers defeated Pistons, 4–2|
|Western Finals||Spurs defeated Jazz, 4–1|
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 low television ratings.
- 1 Format
- 2 Series summary
- 3 Background
- 4 Game summaries
- 5 Rosters
- 6 Broadcasting
- 7 Controversies
- 8 Aftermath
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The Finals were played using the 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 were 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.
|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|
2007 NBA Playoffs
|San Antonio Spurs (Western Conference Champion)||Cleveland Cavaliers (Eastern Conference Champion)|
3rd seed in the West, 3rd 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
The Cleveland Cavaliers won both games in the regular season series:
San Antonio Spurs
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
6:00 a.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
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.
6:00 a.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
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.
6:00 a.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|
Twelve-year veteran Larry Nance was awarded the NBA championship game ball.
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.
According to ESPN, the NBA Finals series was a television bust in the United States. 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.
Despite having the lowest ratings of any NBA championship series, game two of the 2003 series between San Antonio and New Jersey remains the lowest-rated game of all time in the history of the NBA Finals.
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.
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.
The Spurs won 56 games in the succeeding 2007–08 season, but relinquished 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, age and injury took its toll on the Spurs, as they proceeded to win only a single playoff series in three years (2010, vs. Dallas 4–2 of the first round), before getting upset by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs despite finishing with 61 wins.
The Spurs then retooled their roster, after which they appeared in three consecutive conference finals, beginning in 2012, before making the NBA Finals in 2013 and 2014 against James and the Miami Heat. The Spurs split the two Finals meetings against the Heat.
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 (and fired again) in the 2013–14 NBA season. After that season, as a free agent, James left for the Miami Heat and helped them to four 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 appeared in the NBA draft lottery four consecutive times, earning the top pick in three of them. Those three top picks became Kyrie Irving (2011), Anthony Bennett (2013) and Andrew Wiggins (2014). In July 2014, James announced his return to the Cavaliers.
- Associated Press (June 15, 2007). "Ratings for 2007 finals down 27 percent from last year". ESPN.com. Retrieved June 15, 2007.
- 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.
- "Rasheed's comments draw ire of Stern". NBC Sports. October 27, 2007. Retrieved May 28, 2011.