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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 - June 14
MVP: Tony Parker
(San Antonio Spurs)
Television: ABC (U.S.)
Announcers: Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy
Radio network: NBA on ESPN Radio
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
 < 2006 NBA Finals 2008 > 

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, producing remarkably low television ratings.

Contents

Background

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. But Tim Duncan would not be denied and 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 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

In the replay of last 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, LeBron scored all 9 of the Cavaliers points ending this period tied 100-100. In the 2nd overtime, LeBron again scored all 9 of the teams points to win game five 109-107. Thus, in the last 16:14 of play, LeBron scored the Cavaliers last 25 points and 29 of the last 30 points.

The Cavaliers beat the Pistons at home in Game 6 in 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.

Regular season series

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

November 3 Cleveland Cavaliers 88, San Antonio Spurs 81    AT&T Center, San Antonio ESPN
January 2 San Antonio Spurs 78, Cleveland Cavaliers 82    Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland NBA TV

Format

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.

Broadcast notes

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 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

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. The NBA Finals averaged 9.3 million viewers this year.

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.

The ratings of the 2007 NBA Finals surpassed that of the 2003 NBA Finals as the lowest-rated series in NBA Finals history. It is suggested that these poor ratings have been attributed to numerous things, such as the fact that Cleveland and San Antonio are generally smaller markets in comparison to Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami and Detroit, cities that recently had their NBA teams in the Finals.

Additionally, many critics believe the Spurs outmatched the Cavaliers and made the series into a low scoring, defensive battle. The series was to bill LeBron James at the highest point in his career. He did account for a vast majority of the Cavaliers' performance in the playoffs, however, he struggled throughout the Finals against the Spurs' superb defense.

Coverage controversy

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.

Playoff rosters

"*"=Starter

San Antonio Spurs
2007 Championship Roster
SG 17 United States Brent Barry (Oregon State)
PF 15 United States Matt Bonner (Florida)
SF 12 United States Bruce Bowen* (Cal State Fullerton)
PF/C 45 United States Jackie Butler (Coastal Christian Academy (VA))
PF 21 United States Virgin Islands Tim Duncan* - Captain (Wake Forest)
C 16 Netherlands Francisco Elson (California)
PF/C 2 United States Melvin Ely (Fresno State)
SG/SF 4 United States Michael Finley* (Wisconsin)
SG 20 Argentina Manu Ginóbili (Argentina)
PF 5 United States Robert Horry (Alabama)
PF/C 7 Argentina Fabricio Oberto* (Argentina)
PG 9 France Tony Parker* (France)
PG 14 Slovenia Beno Udrih (Slovenia)
PG 11 United States Jacque Vaughn (Kansas)
G/F 33 United States James White (Cincinnati)
Cleveland Cavaliers
2007 Finals Roster
PG/SG 6 United States Shannon Brown (Michigan State)
PG/SG 1 United States Daniel Gibson* (Texas)
PF 90 United States Drew Gooden* (Kansas)
PG 32 United States Larry Hughes (Saint Louis)
C 11 Lithuania Žydrūnas Ilgauskas* (Lithuania)
SF 23 United States LeBron James* - Captain (St. Vincent-St. Mary HS,
Akron, OH)
PG 19 United States Damon Jones (Houston)
PF/C 27 United States Dwayne Jones (Saint Joseph's)
SF/PF 24 United States Donyell Marshall (Connecticut)
SF 14 United States Ira Newble (Miami (OH))
SF/SG 3 Serbia Sasha Pavlović* (Serbia)
PF/C 31 United States Scot Pollard (Kansas)
PG 20 United States Eric Snow - Captain (Michigan State)
PF/C 17 Brazil Anderson Varejão (Brazil)
SG/PG 4 United States David Wesley (Baylor)

Game summaries

Game 1

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
1 Cleveland Cavaliers 76, San Antonio Spurs 85    AT&T Center, San Antonio
Attendance: 18,797
Referees: Ken Mauer, Mike Callahan, Steve Javie
ABC, ABCHD, TSN, Canal 7, Canal+, ESPN Brasil
Scoring by quarter: 15-20, 20-20, 14-24, 27-21
Pts: Gibson 16, James 14
Rebs: James 7, Ilgauskas 6
Asts: James, Gibson 4 each
TOs: LeBron James 6
Pts: Parker 27, Duncan 24
Rebs: Duncan 13, Ginobili 8
Asts: Tony Parker 7
Blks: Tim Duncan 5

Game 2

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 absolutely dominated game during 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
2 Cleveland Cavaliers 92, San Antonio Spurs 103    AT&T Center, San Antonio
Attendance: 18,797
Referees: Dick Bavetta , Jim Clark , Joe Derosa
ABC, ABCHD, TSN, Canal 7, Canal+, ESPN Brasil
Scoring by quarter: 17-28, 16-30, 29-31, 30-14
Pts: LeBron James 25
Rebs: Anderson Varejão 10
Asts: LeBron James 6
TOs: LeBron James 6
Pts: Tony Parker 30
Rebs: Duncan, Horry 9 each
Asts: Tim Duncan 8
Blks: Robert Horry 5

Game 3

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 (which replays show he was fouled by Bruce Bowen in the act of shooting).

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
3 San Antonio Spurs 75, Cleveland Cavaliers 72    Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
Attendance: 20,562
Referees: Bernie Fryer, Bob Delaney, Dan Crawford
ABC, ABCHD, TSN, Canal 7, Canal+, ESPN Brasil
Scoring by quarter: 16-18, 24-20, 15-12, 20-22
Pts: Tony Parker 17
Rebs: Duncan, Bowen 9 each
Asts: Manu Ginóbili 5
Stls: Michael Finley 4
Pts: LeBron James 25
Rebs: Ilgauskas 18, Gooden 12
Asts: LeBron James 7
TOs: LeBron James 5

Game 4

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
4 San Antonio Spurs 83, Cleveland Cavaliers 82    Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
Attendance: 20,562
Referees: Bennett Salvatore, Joe Forte, Eddie F. Rush
ABC, ABCHD, TSN, Canal 7, Canal+, ESPN Brasil, Sport 1
Scoring by quarter: 19-20, 20-14, 21-18, 23-30
Pts: Manu Ginóbili 27
Rebs: Tim Duncan 15
Asts: Manu Ginóbili 5
TOs: Tim Duncan 6
Pts: LeBron James 24
Rebs: Ilgauskas 13, Gooden 11
Asts: LeBron James 10
TOs: LeBron James 6
San Antonio wins series, 4–0

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

Awards

Trivia

  • By winning his seventh championship Robert Horry became the first player to win at least two titles with three teams (two with Houston, three with the Lakers and two with the Spurs). He also has the most championships for a player who did not play for the Boston Celtics. Horry also improved to 7-0 in the NBA Finals, second behind John Havlicek with the most NBA championships without a loss.
  • This was the fourth NBA Finals that ended in a 4 game sweep since the Finals went to the 2-3-2 format in 1985.

Controversies

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]

References

  1. ^ Ratings for 2007 finals down 27 percent from last year. ESPN.com. Retrieved on June 15, 2007
  2. ^ Wallace gets Stern rebuke, The Detroit News.

External links


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