Shane Battier picked a good night for his offensive renaissance.
Behind Battier's 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc and four rebounds, the Miami Heat edged the San Antonio Spurs by the score of 95-88, giving Miami its second NBA championship in two seasons. Battier also played strong defense on Tim Duncan with just 48.9 seconds remaining in the game, helping the Heat hang on to a 90-88 lead.
Battier had a rough NBA playoffs prior to the deciding Game 7. The former Blue Devil hit rock bottom in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, when he was glued to the bench for the entirety of the Heat's Game 7 against the Indiana Pacers. Battier had an interesting interpretation of his benching, saying, "Sometimes you've got to eat a turd sandwich. Makes the ribeye taste better next time." Tonight, Battier ate his ribeye.
Miami won a thrilling Game 6 on Tuesday night to force Game 7, relying on missed Spurs free throws, a key Chris Bosh offensive rebound and a now-iconic Ray Allen 3-pointer under duress to tie the game in regulation and send it to overtime.
In Games 5 and 6 Battier showed signs of emerging from his playoff-long stupor, averaging 8.0 points over 15.5 minutes in those games after scoring a total of five points in the first four games of the NBA Finals. His 18 points and nearly 29 minutes in Game 7 were both the best marks he posted this postseason.
Battier becomes the first Blue Devil alumnus to win the NBA title twice after becoming just the third Duke player to win an NBA championship, joining Danny Ferry and Jeff Mullins.