Big Three Deliver Championship to Miami
After enduring an endless amount of criticism over the last 23 months, the Miami HEAT are NBA champions. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh silenced their critics on Thursday evening by defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder, 121-106, and capturing Miami’s second title in franchise history.
Miami entered the 2012 NBA Finals labeled as underdogs, by fans and bookmakers, but managed to eliminate Oklahoma City in five games. After losing Game 1 of the series, the HEAT didn’t look back, winning four straight games to end the Thunder’s season and capture the Larry O’Brien trophy.
In stark contrast to last year’s Finals loss against the Dallas Mavericks, James carried the HEAT to victory and was named Finals MVP. During the five-game series, James averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. He was Miami’s leading scorer in every game, and contributed 26 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists in the close-out game.
“It’s about damn time,” James said. “This is the happiest day of my life. This is a dream come true.”
Wade finished Game 5 with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists, pushing his series averages to 22.6 points, 6 rebounds and 5.2 assists. Bosh was equally effective, contributing 24 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in Game 5, upping his series averages to 14.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks.
Miami didn’t have an easy road to the Finals and their resilience was tested during this postseason. The HEAT became the first team in NBA history to win the championship after trailing during three series. They trailed the Indiana Pacers 1-2, trailed the Boston Celtics 2-3 and trailed the Oklahoma City Thunder 0-1, but managed to fight back and win every series.
The HEAT are the 11th team in league history to win the championship one year after losing in the Finals. The night before Game 5, Wade watched film of Miami’s Game 6 loss to Dallas, when the Mavericks celebrated their championship victory in American Airlines Arena.
“This process is unbelievably hard,” Wade said. “We all expected it to be easier than it was. We had to go through it though. That series versus Dallas hurt, but it was their time. Now, it’s our time.”
“The best thing that happened to me last year was us losing in the Finals,” James said. “Me, playing the way I played, it was the best thing to happen to my career. It humbled me. I knew I was going to have to change as a basketball player and change as a person. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It wasn’t easy at all.”"
The weight of the world is off the Big Three’s shoulders. As James walked away from the podium, he took everything in.
“I’m an NBA champion,” James said. “That’s all that matters.”