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Which teams in Miami Heat history belong on the Mount Rushmore-Plus One? Three come from the Big Three Era.
1 – 2012-13 Heat
Offensive Rating: 112.3 (2nd)
Defensive Rating: 103.7 (9th)
Result: 2013 NBA Champions (4-3 over Spurs)
Some say this Heat team was lucky to win the title on the heels of the shot of Ray Allen’s illustrious career. I say every champion requires luck. Finishing Top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, this team won 27 games in a row, the second highest streak in NBA history, en route to a franchise best 66 wins.
2 – 2005-06 Heat
Offensive Rating: 108.7 (7th)
Defensive Rating: 91.6 (9th)
Result: 2006 NBA Champions (4-2 over Mavs)
What started as a circus with Stan Van Gundy departing after 21 games to “spend more time with his family” turned into into a playoff juggernaut. Miami won a solid 52 games that regular season but didn’t start meshing into a contender until the postseason when Dwyane Wade unleashed a run for the ages, averaging 28.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 22.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks on a 50-38-81 shooting split (FG-3FG-FT).
The second best player on this team according to Win Shares was Udonis Haslem, though Shaq was still relevant in the post. Alonzo Mourning’s impact from an energy and defensive standpoint in the Finals was one to never forget. They don’t make them like Zo anymore.
3 – 2011-12 Heat
Offensive Rating: 106.6 (8th)
Defensive Rating: 100.2 (4th)
Result: 2012 NBA Champions (4-1 over Thunder)
I’d love to see the 2011-12 Heat play the 2005-06 Heat. The Heat blew up the Thunder in five games but many forget that most of them were competitive.
This team cranked out one of the most dominant individual playoff performances in NBA history when LeBron obliterated the Celtics in a key Game 6 with 45 points and 15 rebounds with just 26 (!) field-goal attempts and five made free throws.
4 – 2010-11 Heat
Offensive Rating: 111.7 (3rd)
Defensive Rating: 103.5 (5th)
Result: Lost 2011 NBA Finals (2-4 to Mavs)
The Heat coasted to the 2011 Finals in Year 1 of the LeBron James Era, losing a three games combined against the Sixers, Celtics, and Bulls. The championship matchup with the Mavs began in the same fashion with Miami winning two of the first three before dropping the final three against a balanced Mavericks team that neutered LeBron as an attacker.
This season proved to be important because its failures paved the way for the Heat to return to the Finals the following three seasons.
5 – 1996-97 Heat
Offensive Rating: 106.8 (12th)
Defensive Rating: 100.6 (1st)
Result: Lost NBA Finals (1-4 to Bulls)
This team snuck on this list for two reasons: (1) NOBODY was beating the ’97 Bulls and (2) it was the best defensive team in franchise history. It was the only Heat team to lead the league in defensive efficiency and was spearheaded by Alonzo Mourning in his prime, who joined P.J. Brown to form the NBA’s most imposing defensive front court.
Follow Josh on Twitter @JoshBaumgard
Correction: a previous version of this post incorrectly stated the Heat won the first two games against the Mavs in the 2011 Finals.