MIAMI ( – If anyone had any question about who the best player in the NBA is right now, Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals ended that discussion.

LeBron James built off Dwyane Wade’s 4-point play and carried the Heat to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2006 Thursday night. For LeBron, who has faced universal hatred after joining the Heat last July, it was an especially sweet moment, but it may just be the beginning.

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“I wanted to team up with some guys that I understood would never die down in the moment,” James said. “The opportunity presented itself with this great organization, and D-Wade came to me and said it was possible. We made it happen.”

And with only one team standing between the Heat and the NBA title, the Dallas mavericks better be ready to face a Heat team that is at the top of their game heading into the NBA Finals.

“There’s no sense of relief right now,” James said. “We’ve still got work to do. We’ll look at this moment tonight, have a little bit of time tomorrow to go over this moment, what we just accomplished. But we get ready for Dallas very soon. We don’t take for granted this win and take for granted being Eastern Conference champions.”

James led the Heat whether it was as a scorer at the end of the game in Game 5, or as a facilitator of the offense in Game 3. Whatever the Heat needed, James was more than happy to provide it.

He was especially effective on the defensive end of the floor in combination with Wade. The duo completely shut down NBA MVP Derrick Rose throughout the Eastern Conference Finals. Rose could never get past the wall set up by James and Wade.

“At the end it’s all me,” said a humble Rose. “Turnovers, missed shots, fouls. The series is over.”

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But it wasn’t just Rose. From the return of Udonis Haslem to significant action to Mike Miller being able to play his heart out while his newborn daughter is in intensive care, the Heat brought their A-game from Game 2 on.

The only chance the Bulls had was for Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to walk on the court in their prime to play the Bulls.

“We had to go through a lot of adversity,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That struggle that we went through in March, where we lost five straight — all of them close games, where we didn’t execute down the stretch and weren’t able to close games out — that helped us. As painful as that was, we had to go through that fire together to be able to gain the confidence where we could be successful now in the postseason.”

And that adversity and team building now has the Heat facing the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals starting next Tuesday at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

But if you wonder why LeBron is called “The King,” here’s what Scottie Pippen said on ESPN radio this morning.

“Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to ever play in the game, but I may go as far to say LeBron James is probably the greatest player to ever play the game.”

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Well said Scottie, Miami humbly agrees.