MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It took around two years, but Thursday night after a completely dominating performance by the Miami Heat, LeBron James and the rest of the Big Three finally won the NBA Championship with a dominating 120-104 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It was the culmination of a dream put together by Heat president Pat Riley in the summer of 2010 and the complete dismantling of the Thunder by the Heat including LeBron putting up a triple-double for the game.
The crowd never let the Heat out of the game and with each pass and bucket by the Heat, the crowd got louder and louder building to a crescendo when the final buzzer sounded making the Miami Heat the NBA champions.
The crowd began filing in extra early for a Miami sporting event as anticipation built with each passing minute as Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder Thursday night.
It was just after 8:30 p.m. when the Metallica song Enter Sandman hit and the Heat made their way onto the court for pre-game warmups. As the Heat exited Championship Alley and onto the court, a nervous fan base cheered their heroes onto the court.
The crowd was electrified early when Heat star LeBron James started the scoring off for the night with a tomahawk dunk that got every one out of their seats in the AmericanAirlines Arena.
From there, both teams started to slowly feel each other out with some bad possessions, a turnover or two and the Heat managed to stretch the lead out to 14-10 with six minutes to go in the first quarter.
The biggest problem the Heat had in the first quarter was both starting guards, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers got into early foul trouble. Both picked up two fouls early in the first quarter.
As the quarter wore on, Chris Bosh began driving to the basket for the Heat and helped open Miami’s offense up. After taking OKC’s Kendrick Perkins to school, Bosh helped extend the Heat lead to 22-15 with three minutes left in the quarter.
Mike Miller and Norris Cole both entered the game for the Heat late in the first quarter and proceeded to shoot 3-4 from behind the 3-point line.
As the first quarter came ot a close, Miami held a five-point lead, 31-26.
The Heat’s shot chart from the first quarter looked all too familiar in the playoffs. The Heat were either scoring at the rim, or hitting 3-pointer’s from the right corner and right wing of the court.
Both teams came out in the second quarter exchanging baskets before Miller hit another 3-point shot and with 8:26 to go in the first half, the Heat led 38-34.
Oklahoma City went cold from the field though and behind a twisting and turning basket by Bosh, the Heat extended their lead to 41-34 when the Thunder took another timeout with 7:20 to go in the first half.
Behind some very questionable calls by one of the referees, Dwyane Wade picked up his third foul and headed to the bench with just less than six minutes to go in the second quarter. Shortly thereafter, Miller picked up his third and fourth fouls.
But Miami wouldn’t be denied in the first half and went into halftime with a double-digit lead 59-49. The 59 first-half points were the most from Miami during the 2012 NBA playoffs.
At the half, LeBron had 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Chris Bosh scored 10 points and protected the rim with two blocked shots as well. Mike Miller finished the first half with four fouls but also had 12 huge points off the bench.
Dwyane Wade had 9 points, while Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier both contributed 5 points apiece.
The Heat stood 24 minutes away from an NBA Championship as Gmae 5 went to the half.
As the third quarter got rolling, Miami continued to hold a double-digit lead for most of the quarter behind timely 3-point shots from Chalmers and Battier through the first five minutes of the quarter.
The game started to get a little bit chippy at the 7:21 mark as Miami called a timeout and Chalmers and Durant got locked up. No fouls were called and LeBron and Juwan Howard quickly pulled Chalmers out of harm’s way.
The Thunder’s Kevin Durant was single-handedly keeping Oklahoma City in the game. Several times the Thunder would make a quick run towards the Heat and Miami would answer with either a 3-point shot or drawing a foul on the Thunder.
The Thunder were struggling with 5:25 left to go in the third quarter as Miami opened up a 77-63 lead. Oklahoma City’s Kendrick Perkins was sent to the bench after pikcing up his fifth foul of the game. Oklahoma City responded by going small with Derek Fisher replacing him.
Fisher did nothing to help the Thunder’s cause after he commited a flagrant foul on LeBron James. After hitting two free throws, the lead was extended to 79-63. Wade came flying through the air and was fouled and hit one of his free throws to move the lead to 80-63 with 4:42 left in the quarter.
The Heat extended the lead to 19 points when Wade threaded a pass to a slashing James who made an acrobatic layup at the rim.
The Thunder took a quick timeout as Miami had Jones, Miller, Wade, Chalmers, and Bosh all with double-figures.
A pair of 3-pointers from Bosh and Miller built the lead to as much as 25 points in the third quarter. Miller was playing lights out and didn’t miss a 3-pointer until less than a minute to go in the third quarter of the game.
The Heat extended the lead to 95-71 as the third quarter came to an end.
Miami had six players in double-figures at the end of three and were led by 22 points by Chris Bosh. After three, LeBron had 19 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds.
Entering the fourth quarter, the crowd at the AmericanAirlines Arena was on their feet and rocking as the dream of the Big Three, Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra, and Micky Arison was a mere 12 minutes away from coming to fruition.
Miami took the ball first in the fourth quarter and the crowd was absolutely electric as Mike Miller continued to bomb away from behind the 3-point line, extending the lead to 98-71 with 11 minutes to go in the game.
Miller followed it up with another 3-pointer and extended the Heat’s lead to 101-77. Miller simply couldn’t miss through the the first 38 minutes of the game from behind the arc
For Miller, who has been banged up since he set foot in Miami, the scoring outburst had to be especially gratifying. It was the fulfillment of the dream Pat Riley had when he added Miller to the roster along with the Big Three of James, Bosh, and Wade.
The Heat eventually extended the lead to 104-79 with under 10 minutes to go in the game when Oklahoma City took a desperately needed timeout.
Heat head coach told his team they needed to remember one thing as they came down the home stretch, “Just stay in the moment.”
Even though Miami was leading by 25 points, the Heat knew all too well that Oklahoma City had the firepower to rally in a hurry and erase almost any deficit.
Miami committed a few turnovers and Oklahoma City paired the lead to 106-86 with 7:51 in the game.The Heat took a timeout to try to settle the team for the final stretch run to bring the title home to Miami.
After more clutch 3-point shooting from the Heat, the team opened up a 112-89 lead when the Thunder took a timeout with 4:44 to go. The timeout came just after LeBron James had scored two straight rebounds and officially had a triple-double for the game.
With a little more than three minutes to go in the game, the Thunder emptied their bench acknowledging the game was completely out of reach. Shortly thereafter, Mimai followed suit and put in their bench players for the home stretch.
The Heat led 118-99 when the familiar call of “Dos Minutos” went over the public address system meaing just two minutes stood between the Heat and the Larry O’Brien trophy.
After two long minutes that seemed to take forever, the clock wound down to 0:00 and the celebration began in Miami as the Heat were the world champions once again.
Miami won the game, 121-106 and completed a journey that took two years and could still be in its infancy.
After the game, the trophy presentation was the only thing left for the Heat to go through before being declared champion of the world.
“The night and the series belong to your NBA champion Miami Heat,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Heat president Pat Riley said he tins the Heat aren’t done just yet. “We believe that we have built a team that is going to be around for awhile,” Riley said during the trophy presentation.
“We hope to see OKC again, but really it’s all about you out there (points to fans) and we’re going to have a party tonight,” Riley said.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was a little more descriptive, saying he had a lot more gray hairs since his last championship as an assistant coach.
“We love you Miami,” Spoelstra said. “Thank you for your patience, we remember last year.”
Unanimous NBA Finals MVP LeBron James summed up the night best.
“Its about damn time!” LeBron exclaimed. “This is the happiest day of my life.”