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James again falters down the stretch

MIAMI — LeBron James came to the Heat to win titles, so he would have All-Star help — Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade — and he wouldn't have to carry the team.

Problem was, the Heat couldn't carry James.

His first Finals with the Heat (and second overall) ended Sunday with the Mavericks' 105-95 victory in Game 6. James started strong, scoring nine of Miami's first 14, but faltered, scoring just 12 more the rest of the game.

"It was a failure in '07 when we lost to the Spurs when I was in Cleveland," James said. "It's a failure now. It hurts, of course.

"But I'm not going to hang my head low."

James had only a combined 11 points in the final quarters of the first five games. He had seven Sunday to finish with 21 for the game.

"Sometimes, you got it. Sometimes, you don't," he said. "And that was this case in this series."

Make no mistake. Miami lost the series. But the blame will be directed at James.

Even he knew that after the way he left Cleveland with The Decision and all the animus that generated not just in Ohio, but around the entire league, the only way he could silence the critics was with a title.

"It doesn't weigh on me," he said. "At all."

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert reveled in the moment via Twitter: "Mavs NEVER stopped & now entire franchise gets rings. Old Lesson for all: There are NO SHORTCUTS. NONE."

When it was over, James walked over to Wade for a hug then shook hands with some Mavericks players. Nothing quite like the spectacle he found in this arena last summer, when the Heat hosted a pep rally to celebrate winning the free agency championship by adding James and Bosh.

For now, that's the only crown the King gets to wear.

James again falters down the stretch 06/13/11 [Last modified: Monday, June 13, 2011 1:31am]
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