Heat win NBA championshipBy: ROB PARKER
The Heat left no doubt in the minds of critics that they are the force to be reckoned with in the NBA from here on in.
They crushed the Thunder in game 5 to savour the title for the second time in franchise history and their first since ‘The Decision’ where regular season MVP LeBron James joined superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the team. The move was criticised by the giants of the sport, Jordan, Magic and Larry.
Jordan said: “There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry [Bird], called up Magic [Johnson] and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team’.”
Nonetheless the Heat have silenced the critics to a degree by doing exactly what was expected of them – they won it all.
LeBron James took more than his share of blame for last year’s failure to win the title, but he has finally shaken the reputation as a player who folds in big games. He was dominant in the final game completing a triple double with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. and has been great in every game in the series.
James showed why he was selected as the playoff MVP several times. When the Heat had their backs against the wall down two games to one versus the Pacers, he came up big. When the Celtics were up three matches to two, James exploded for 45 points.
The Heat owned game 5 from start to end. A limping Mike Miller went a ridiculous 7 for 8 from three point land in an amazing shooting performance. The Heat were deadly from outside all series, with Battier and Miller providing the support needed by the big three.
Wade added twenty points in the win to help seal the deal and scooping his second ring after winning one with Shaq a few years back.
“We had to go through last year,” Wade said of the team’s loss in last year’s NBA Finals. “As much as it hurt, we had to experience it to get here, this season.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder, who began the series with a big win against the Heat at home, lost games two and three by just a handful of points in the final minutes of each game.
Coach Scott Brooks said his young team will learn from the finals experience.
“I think when you play against the best, you learn. You don’t get better by playing bad teams,” Brooks said.
“We’ve played against the best three teams in the last few years and we’ve learned.” Forward Kevin Durant had a game-high 32 points but said that this is the toughest thing he and his team have had to go through.
“It’s tough, that’s the only way to explain it. As a whole I’m proud of the guys for how we’ve fought all season,” the regular season scoring leader told media following the game. “I wouldn’t want to play for anyone else or any other city.”
The Thunder may have to go through the same learning curve as the Heat went through and will be even more dangerous next year with the experience under their belt.