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Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen celebrates championship with epic mean mug picture

Chris-Birdman-Andersen-celebration-mean-mug

Chris Andersen, known to most NBA fans simply as “Birdman,” captured his first NBA championship with the Miami Heat on Thursday night. The long-time Denver Nugget was signed during the middle of the 2012-2013 season, and he ended up making some important contributions for the Heat down the stretch. In Game 7, he played 18 minutes of excellent defense while grabbing four rebounds.

After the game, Birdman celebrated like he knew this moment was coming. As you can see from the photo above that SB Nation passed along, he rocked the “champs” party glasses, went vertical flat-brim with the hat, and gave an epic mean mug.

What, you were expecting a smile? Come on now.

H/T Ball Don’t Lie

LeBron James might have cancelled his wedding had Heat lost

LeBron James wedding invitationYou think LeBron James was relieved to win his second NBA championship?

Not only would James have dealt with ongoing criticism for choking had the Miami Heat lost to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, the MVP says he also probably would have cancelled his wedding because he would have been in such a rotten mood.

LeBron was asked in his postgame press conference about his offseason plans and said he will likely give his body plenty of time to rest. He also proudly mentioned his upcoming wedding.

“I got a wedding coming up with my beautiful fiancee. It will be an unbelievable wedding now that we’ve won instead of losing. I might have called it off if we had lost,” James said. “So now it’s going to be one of the best weddings ever.”

As we previously shared with you, James is set to marry his longtime girlfriend and the mother of his two sons, Savannah Brinson, the weekend of Sept. 13-15 in San Diego. I’m guessing he would have pulled it together by then had he lost but, luckily, he doesn’t have to worry about that.

James did have one parting message for the media as he concluded his press conference.

“Please continue to motivate me. I need you guys.”

Looks like Skip Bayless will still be in business, even if LeBron made him and the rest of his detractors look like fools with his brilliant Game 7 performance.

Tim Duncan a wreck in press conference after ‘haunting’ Game 7 loss (Video)

“The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

“Agony of defeat” is exactly what Tim Duncan embodied after Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

Duncan missed a gimme basket and a follow-up shot with the San Antonio Spurs down 90-88 to the Miami Heat in the final minute of Game 7. It was the kind of basket that Shane Battier says Duncan makes eight out of 10 times. I say Duncan makes that shot 19 out of 20 times, yet this was the one he missed (video of the miss below).
Tim Duncan sad
Duncan was so frustrated with himself over the misses that he slapped the floor in frustration on the defensive end. Then, after a timeout was called, he leaned over disappointed with himself and walked to the team’s bench with his head down.

As the Spurs fell further behind and lost 95-88, Duncan remained dejected knowing what he had given away.

“Game 7. Missing a layup to tie the game. Making a bad decision down the stretch. Just unable to stop Dwyane [Wade] and LeBron [James]. Probably for me, Game 7 is always going to haunt me,” Duncan admitted after the game.

Duncan looked visibly frustrated, saddened, and wholly disappointed as he spoke to the media. He kept rubbing his head and frequently looked down when giving answers.

Duncan was so close to winning his fifth championship, but he and the Spurs let it get away. It’s going to take a long, long time for Duncan to get over that.

Video of Duncan’s miss below:

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LeBron James gives speech to haters after winning championship (Video)

LeBron James trophiesLeBron James was amazing in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. He shot superbly from the field. He made all of his free throws. He grabbed rebounds. He didn’t turn the ball over. He consistently burned the Spurs when they dared him to shoot. He came through in the clutch.

For his performance in the Finals — he had 37 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers in Game 7 alone — James was named NBA Finals MVP for the second straight season, giving him four regular-season MVP awards, two championships, and two NBA Finals MVPs at age 28. That all sounds pretty impressive for a guy who has been criticized as much as James.

When asked by ABC’s Doris Burke after the game about all his critics, James crisply brushed the haters aside and reminded everyone of how blessed he has been.

“Listen, for me, I can’t worry about what everyone say about me. I’m LeBron James from Akron, Ohio, from the innercity. I’m not even supposed to be here. That’s enough. Every night I walk into the locker room, I see a number six with ‘James’ on the back. I’m blessed.

“What everybody say about me off the court don’t matter. I ain’t got no worries.”

After the type of performance he had in Game 7, I’m not sure how anyone can say negative things about him as a player anymore. What more do you want from him?

Gregg Popovich hugs LeBron James and Dwyane Wade after loss (Video)

Gregg Popovich Dwyane Wade hugGregg Popovich is one of the grumpiest coaches in the NBA. The guy gives reporters a difficult time, hardly shows positive emotion, and he definitely is never happy.

But that all changed after Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

Even though his San Antonio Spurs fell to the Miami Heat 95-88, Pop had a big smile on his face and was as gracious as one could possibly imagine. He embraced Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra and Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade despite losing, and he stayed on the court in a pure show of class. It was one of the best displays of sportsmanship we have seen.

How can you not appreciate that? Like Spoelstra said after the game, the Spurs are a class organization, and Pop was first class Thursday night.

Manu Ginobili’s comments after Game 6 suggest Spurs are mentally done

If Manu Ginobili’s comments after the Spurs blew a Game 6 lead to the Miami Heat in the final minute are any indication, then San Antonio won’t have much of a chance to win Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

The Spurs were so close to winning the NBA championship on Tuesday that losing the game may be too much to overcome. San Antonio was up by five points with 20 seconds left and blew it. Ginobili made a few costly errors in the final minute of the game. Kawhi Leonard only made one of two free throws when the team probably would have won the title had he made both.

Manu GinobiliGinobili was asked after the game to reflect on the defeat, and he sounded defeated.

“It’s a tough moment. We were a few seconds away from winning the championship, and we let it go. A couple of rebounds that we didn’t catch. Tough three by Ray [Allen]. A couple of missed free throws. It’s a very tough moment,” admitted Ginobili.

A game after getting his first start of the season and scoring 24 points with a season-high 10 assists, Ginobili returned to his disappointing Finals form and had nine points and eight turnovers in 35 minutes.

“I had a very good game last game, and today I just couldn’t maintain it. I was very insecure. I had probably a career high in turnovers at a very bad moment. It really helps to make me feel terrible. Even with all that, we were so close to winning it. So it’s one of many things I’ll be thinking tonight.”

Asked how they’ll bounce back for Game 7, Ginobili admitted he had no clue.

“I have no clue how we’re going to be re-energized. I’m devastated. But we have to. There’s no Game 8 afterwards, so we’re going to have to play our best game. Even better than today. Shoot better, better defense, less turnovers. but there’s no secret recipe for bouncing back.”

Some of the other Spurs players who had better games — like Tim Duncan and Danny Green — might have more confidence entering Game 7, but I figure the blown game will stick with Ginobili and possibly Kawhi Leonard. The missed chances will be too much for them to overcome. How often does a team blow a championship and bounce back to win it? It’s infrequent.

LeBron James will wear his headband for Game 7

LeBron-James-no-headbandLeBron James played poorly for the first three quarters of the Miami Heat’s Game 6 win over the San Antonio Spurs, but his night turned around completely when he lost his headband early in the fourth quarter. James finished with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the comeback win, doing most of his damage without the headband.

Naturally, reporters asked LeBron on Wednesday if he would play with or without the headband in Game 7 on Thursday night.

“I’ll probably start off with it, man, ” he said with a smile, via Eye on Basketball. “A little superstitious. If it gets knocked off, then me and him will have a discussion if he will return.”

Either way, something tells me LeBron is in for a big game on Thursday night. He was labeled a “choker” to start his career, but James has answered those critics and been anything but over the past two seasons.

As for the headband, Chris Bosh said it was like “Bruce Lee seeing his own blood” when LeBron turned it on after losing it. Dwyane Wade said he was surprised to see him without it, but that LeBron wasn’t going to let anything stop him.

“I was like, ‘What is going on?’ He was just in that moment,” Wade said. “He just said ‘Listen, it doesn’t matter.’ I think he said the might have come out of his jersey if he had to. I don’t think the NBA would have liked it.

“He was about whatever it took.”

Is it disturbing that we’re talking about a headband on the day of Game 7 of the NBA Finals? A little bit, but superstitions are a big part of sports. If LeBron comes out and puts up a stinker of a first half on Thursday night, you know for fact thousands of fans will be tweeting about how he should lose the headband.