MIAMI (AP) — Miami Heat fans pumped fists jubilantly, uncorked champagne bottles and swarmed into the streets by the thousands to celebrate overnight after their team captured its second straight NBA title.
“The Heat they did it again! Best team in the world!” one fan shouted. Others chanted raucously: “Let’s go Heat! Let’s go Heat!”
The street celebration erupted in the closing seconds of the Heat’s 95-88 win over the San Antonio Spurs. It was a winner-takes-all final game that brought fans streaming into the area around the AmericanAirlines Arena to exchange high-fives, blow whistles and scream themselves hoarse.
Some clambered up street signs. Others clanged on pots and pans in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. And after the partying faded in the wee hours Friday, some streets were strewn with trash from the merrymaking.
Lt. Ignatius Carroll of the City of Miami Fire Department said early Friday that authorities had gotten no reports of major problems arising from the post-game celebrations. He said there had been no gun-related incidents as of 1:30 a.m., with the main problems arising from fans jumping on cars and limousines outside the arena soon after the Heat won.
“It’s a very peaceful celebration,” Carroll said, adding a heavy police presence near the arena helped maintain control.
Unlike last year’s final game blowout of the Oklahoma City Thunder, which ended a 4-1 Heat series win, the year’s decisive Game 7 was close until the end, adding to the jitters and excitement. A late run by Miami finally put the Spurs away.
“It’s euphoria in the city of Miami,” said Alex Vailon, a 20-year-old Miami resident. “How many teams have took two in a row?”
Several, actually, but Miami fans were not interested in history lessons as their team celebrated its third NBA title in the last eight seasons. As with the Heat’s two previous titles, officials said the city’s celebration was largely peaceful — though police chased away the few celebrants who were jumping atop limousines leaving the arena.
A few miles away in Miami’s Little Havana district, thousands gathered in the streets to bang pots and pans and hold up Heat signs and chant “Let’s Go Heat!” People in the cars driving by rolled down their windows, stuck their bodies out and waved their hands.
“This is what we Latin people do,” said Carlos Gonzalez, 33, who was holding up a sign with an image of LeBron James’ head.
In San Antonio, meanwhile, disappointed Spurs fans left viewing parties in a somber mood. Some waved Spurs flags anyway and honked horns in the streets. One cluster of fans cheered a passing pick-up truck emblazoned with the words: “Go Spurs Go!” But one Spurs fan said he would cry himself to sleep.
Spurs fan Sovia Lauriano told the San Antonio Express-News ( http://bit.ly/12f9QeT ) she loved her team “unconditionally.” Hoarse from cheering, she vowed the Spurs would return to the NBA Finals.
“They’ll be back. This is not the last time,” she vowed.