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History is rarely this neat. We’ve been browbeating LeBron James for nearly two years, but a few minutes at the end of Game 4 was all it took to prove he knew what he was doing all along. All those Cleveland Cavaliers teams that James single-handedly carried into the playoffs couldn’t win enough games with him playing his absolute best.
MIAMI – Pat Riley was walking out of Chuck Daly’s hospital room in 2009, got to the doorway and turned around for another word from his longtime colleague, rival and friend. Riley remembers it vividly.
MIAMI – LeBron James could hardly stand, certainly couldn’t run. Good thing all he needed to do was shoot. Better get well fast, James. You’re one win away from the biggest party of your life.
MIAMI — LeBron James better get well fast. He’s about to play for a championship.
OKLAHOMA CITY – This was Eastern Conference toughness. This was Pat Riley hammer-and-anvil basketball. This was LeBron James finally asserting his brutish and ridiculously unstoppable toughness. Stealing the momentum of the NBA Finals with three consecutive games coming up in Miami, the Heat defeated the Thunder 100-96 on Thursday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena to tie the best-of-7 series at 1-1.
MIAMI – LeBron James finally got a Game 7 victory, on his third try. Next up, the NBA finals – and his third try at that elusive first championship. A year after watching someone else celebrate on their home floor, the Miami Heat were the ones dancing at midcourt.
Ronny Turiaf has a unique ability to give back while looking forward.
DALLAS – While Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks were on the court celebrating the championship they won over LeBron James and Dwyane Wade last season, the Miami Heat were gathered in another part of the building. It wasn’t because they dreaded watching the ceremony, they insisted.
MIAMI – Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are known to bicker like brothers. They screamed at one another more than once during Miami Heat playoff games last season. And when they’re on opposite teams in practice, they attack the other like they would any opponent. Now they’re closer than ever.
MIAMI – For Dirk Nowitzki, the résumé is complete. He’s an NBA champion. For LeBron James, the agonizing wait continues for at least one more year.
MIAMI – Good thing LeBron James had that big party when he arrived here last summer. For now, that’s the only celebration he gets in Miami.
DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki thrust both arms in the air, a sea of blue screaming around him and the Dallas Mavericks finally ahead in the close NBA finals. Now it really is “now or never” for LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
Dallas defeats the Miami Heat to go up 3-2 in the NBA finals.
DALLAS – A chance for another championship ahead of him, Dwyane Wade refused to look back. No, he said, the answer as quick and forceful as his first step to the basket. He doesn’t consider that the Miami Heat should have a 3-0 lead in the NBA finals.
DALLAS — Dwyane Wade kept soaring and scoring, doing everything he could to get the Miami Heat a crucial win toward an NBA title. Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem provided the final push to seal the key victory. Bosh made a 16-foot, go-ahead jumper from the baseline with 39.6 seconds left and Haslem pestered Dirk Nowitzki the rest of the way as the Heat held on for an 88-86 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night for a 2-1 lead in the NBA finals.
DALLAS – At the time, Udonis Haslem was accustomed to being spoiled at the University of Florida. There, he had a training staff available to provide whatever he needed. That changed when he left college and played professionally for one season in France. Haslem quickly learned he wasn’t in Gainesville when there was no trainer in the locker room to tape his ankle before the game.
DALLAS – Dwyane Wade knows in the NBA finals, collapses can carry over. He was in the Dirk Nowitzki role five years ago, summoning a desperate charge to rescue a team that was down but refused to go out. A furious fourth-quarter rally saved the Heat from a 3-0 deficit and they never looked back, winning four straight to beat Dallas.
MIAMI – It was simply the biggest collapse on the biggest stage, and even the Big 3 were utterly helpless to stop it. In a six-minute span that caved in on Miami like a massive sinkhole Thursday night, the Heat saw their NBA championship hopes turn perilous. Dallas 95, Miami 93.
MIAMI – Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks put a stunning end to their misery in Miami. Now they can win their first NBA title without coming back to South Florida.
Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks put a stunning end to their misery in Miami.