The Miami Heat knew how important game five was. If they lost, they would have to go back to the loudest arena in the NBA, in front of the best fans in the NBA, where anything could happen. They didn’t want to take that chance. So they came out and played game five like it was a game seven: desperate. And thanks to their business like approach and their desperation, the Miami Heat destroyed the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-106 (the score doesn’t indicate just how big of a blowout this actually was) to win the series 4-1 and win their second championship in franchise history. More importantly though, the win gives LeBron James his first ring. The king has his ring. Along with LeBron, Chris Bosh also gets his first ring and Dwyane Wade picks up his second. The “Big Three” came through in their second year together, but they could not have had they success they did without the contributions of several key players.
Early on, it looked like both teams had some jitters. Neither team was making many shots and each team had a turnover or two. It was 7-6 OKC around five minutes in. Apparently the Heat were just toying with the Thunder because they rattled off nine made shots in a row, including a couple of threes by Mike Miller (from South Dakota!). He hadn’t made a three the entire series, yet here he was knocking it down everytime he shot. Miller has had an injury-plagued tenure during his time with the Heat, so you know his success last night had to make everyone on the team happy for him. Miller knocked down seven of eight threes for the game and finished with 23 points, which was the third highest for the Miami.
The Heat consistently made threes in this series and rarely missed from behind the arc. Their overall team proficiency at hitting 3-pointers is the main reason they won this series. The Thunder struggled shooting from beyond the arc, and it cost them a championship. if the Heat’s players had missed some of the 3’s, the Thunder would probably be down 3-2 right now or leading the series, but poor defense and red hot shooting by the Heat led to a convincing victory in Game 5.
But Miller wasn’t the only one knocking down threes. Shane Battier had a few. He was sensational in this series making three after three. Talk about clutch! Mario Chalmers added a couple. He really stepped it up the last two games. Rookie Norris Coleput in one. He helped swing the momentum of game four with his consecutive three pointers at the end of the first quarter and start of the second.
For as bad as the Thunder played in the first half, they found themselves only down ten at the half. They cut it to five in the third with a chance to cut the lead down to a one possession game, but Kevin Durant turned the ball over on a fastbreak, and then the Heat went down and hit a three. They added another three a moment later and just like that, the Heat were up eleven. That sucked the wind and the will to fight out of the Thunder, because the Heat poured it on after that. Durant was wild on a couple of turnovers, calls were going against the Thunder (big surprise), and the Heat made this game very, very ugly. Say what you will, but most people watching this series (the unbiased ones anyway) will say that the Heat got most if not all of the calls in this series. The older stars got way more calls than the young star duo of Durant and Russell Westbrook. After scoring 43 points in game four and single-handidly almost winning the game for the Thunder,Westbrook looked awful in this game, shooting four of twenty from the field and finishing with 19 points.
LeBron James won the MVP and rightfully so. He recorded a triple-double with 26 points, eleven rebounds and 13 assists. He was terrific, but it is a lot easier to do that when you have contribution from all of your role players and you are playing with two fellow super stars. That is why a few people out there (Skip Bayless, cough cough) won’t give this man the credit he perhaps deserves. I’ll give him credit for being one of the best, if not the best player in the game right now, but it would be foolish to give him all the credit for winning this championship when he is playing with guys Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. “The Decision” rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, myself included, which makes me a lot less inclined to root for him because I want to see this guy win it on his own and not with the help of two fellow super stars. But, there is not denying how great he played this postseason and this season for that matter, winning both the regular season MVP and Finals MVP. He’s the first player to do that since Tim Duncan back in 2003 with the San Antonio Spurs. The pressure, at least a lot of it is off James’ back. He got the monkey off just like Steve Young did with the San Francisco 49ers when he won his first Super Bowl against the San Diego Chargers. So congrats to the King and congrats to the Heat. The Thunder will be back next year, maybe on a collision course with the Heat in the finals again. Wouldn’t that be something. The NBA season has concluded, and the Heat are on top.
Tags: Basketball Chris Bosh Dwyane Wade Kevin Durant Lebron James Mario Chalmers Miami Heat Mike Miller National Basketball Association NBA NBA Finals Norris Cole Oklahoma City Thunder Russell Westbrook Shane Battier