Photos and VideosMore Photos and Videos
The Miami Heat have made the NBA Finals for the second straight season thanks to its notorious Big Three clicking at the best possible time. After the Heat looked like they were destined for failure for the second straight season, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh collectively putting the team on their backs and carrying Miami to victory.
"We decided to come together and play together for a reason," Wade said after Miami's 101-88 win in Game 7. Down 3-2 and facing elimination after five games, the Big Three combined for 69 points in Game 6 and 73 points in Game 7.
James has been criticized for not being a closer, but his performance in Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals should put that theory to bed for good. First, he scored 45 points (with 15 rebounds and 5 assists) on Game 6, on the road, with the Heat facing elimination. Then in Game 7, he scored 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Heat took a 20-6 run to close out the Boston Celtics with a sprint to the finish, as opposed to a last second gasp.
Wade took a backseat to James, something he did not necessarily do during their first season together as teammates. Though he averaged 21.4 points a game during the series, but he led the team in assists with 34 and trailed only James and Udonis Haslem in rebounding.
But the most surprising performance during the end of the series came from Chris Bosh. Erik Spoelstra called Bosh "our most important player" after Game 7, something that has been repeated often this postseason after Bosh was injured in the first game of the second round. The injury kept him out of the first four games of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Bosh came back for only 14 minutes of a Game 5 loss at home, but was crucial in the Heat's next two games, both wins while facing elimination. He scored 7 points with 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in Game 6, then scored 19 points in Game 7, connecting on three shots from downtown.
"He was big time - every shot, every defensive play, every rebound - we missed him," James said of Bosh. "We're just happy to have him back at the right time. If it wasn't for him and the rest of the guys that stepped up, we don't win this game."
"We still got a lot of work to do," Alonzo Mourning said while presenting the Eastern Conference Championship Trophy to Miami Heat owner Micky Arison Saturday night.
"Everybody was in tune today," James said. "We wanted to give our fans a big win. We look forward to the next challenge."
Now the Heat face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals, led by NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant. Durant and James trained together for four games during the offseason. "It's only right," James said of facing Durant in the Finals. "I envisioned this all summer."