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Magic Johnson credits Kevin Durant for LeBron James' improvement

BY JOHN ROHDE Published: June 22, 2012
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10 — David Robinson (San Antonio) and Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston)

9 — James (Miami)

8 — Shaquille O'Neal (Lakers); Isiah Thomas (Detroit); Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia)

7 — Michael Jordan (Chicago)

HARD ON HARDEN

Sixth man of the year James Harden struggled throughout the Finals and finished the series shooting 37.5 percent from the field, 31.8 percent from 3-point range and averaging 12.8 points — all well below his regular-season averages and his playoff averages in the first three rounds.

Afterward, Harden expressed no regrets.

“We're not too far away … but definitely a learning experience for us, how hard you have to work, and how much work it takes to get to this point,” Harden said.

Is there anything Harden would have done differently in the Finals?

“No,” Harden said. “We fought our hearts out.”

VALUE OF EXPERIENCE

Much was made of the value of Miami's experience, having lost in last year's Finals to the Dallas Mavericks.

“It definitely helped them being here last year,” Harden said. “They kind of knew what to expect. Same as last year, being in the Western Conference Finals, we knew what to expect (against San Antonio) and how to win games.

“As a team, we stuck together through tough times. We're family. We're brothers. We just have to get better.”

MIAMI TIDBITS

James was named MVP of the Finals, becoming the 14th player to win the regular-season MVP and Finals MVP awards in the same season. … Miami was 14 for 26 from 3-point range in Game 5, tying the record for most 3-pointers in a Finals game previous set by Houston and Orlando, both in the 1995 series. … Heat president Pat Riley now has won eight NBA championships — one as a player with the 1972 Lakers; one as a Lakers assistant coach in 1980; four as the Lakers' coach (1982, 1984, 1987, 1988); one as the Heat's coach in 2006; and one now as president. … Miami coach Erik Spoelstra now has two rings. He was an assistant on Riley's 2006 staff.


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