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June 20, 2013

A Game 7 with more on the line than an NBA title

MIAMI (AP) — He is the best player in the game and this is the best moment in his sport.

Game 7, NBA title on the line.

"The moment is going to be grand," LeBron James said.

And it might redefine someone's legacy.

No matter what happens Thursday night, he and the Miami Heat, and Tim Duncan's San Antonio Spurs have already won titles and secured a place in NBA history.

Now is their opportunity to elevate it.

The truly memorable teams won the hard way, and that will be the case for the one celebrating at center court this time.

It's either a Heat repeat, possible only after James led them back from what seemed certain elimination in the closing seconds of Game 6, or the Spurs shaking off as gut-wrenching a loss as a team can have to become just the fourth club to win Game 7 of the NBA Finals on the road.

"As a competitor you love it, because you know you have an opportunity and it's up to you," Heat guard Ray Allen said. "We have a chance in our building to make something great. All of our legacies are tied to this moment, this game. It's something our kids will be able to talk about that they were a part of. Forever will remember these moments, so we want to not live and have any regrets."

Allen was on the court the last time the NBA's season went down to the very last day, his Boston Celtics fading at the finish and falling 83-79 to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010. That improved the hosts to 14-3 in Game 7 of the Finals — and no road team has won that decisive game since Washington beat Seattle in 1978.

Overcoming those odds, not to mention the NBA's winningest team, would make this more memorable than the Spurs' previous four titles, though this is a franchise that never dwells too much on the past or looks too far into the future.

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