Miami Heat 121, Oklahoma City Thunder 106 (Miami wins the NBA Finals, 4-1)
For one night, it was everything that we'd imagined all the way back in that disgusting and tactless and exhilarating and enervating and exhausting and enticing summer of 2010. There was LeBron Jamesmaking all sorts of quick and heady plays, working as some ungodly amalgamation of all the legends and champions that had come before him. There were Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, finishing broken plays with unbroken precision. There was that miserable Miami PA announcer, yelling out the "dos minutos" to a crowd that couldn't be bothered. There were the weak-side blocks, not from Joel Anthony or Udonis Haslem but from Wade and James swooping in from seemingly nowhere. There were the role players, the ones that had failed the Heat over the last two seasons as much as LeBron failed his team in the 2011 Finals, putting the thing away.
There were the Miami Heat, NBA champions at last. Doing exactly what they had to do to down the Oklahoma City Thunder, finally aligning their play expertly with all that the team's critics had chucked at them since things got real in October of 2010. Scaring everyone who cared to watch along the way. Finally.
And not before significant and potentially defeating frightening factors, even if you only bothered to dial this team up in early spring. As late as last week, we doubted the Heat's supporting cast so much that we called the series in Oklahoma City's favor. As late as the first week of June, following a sometimes-there Game 5 of the Eastern conference finals, we wondered if LeBron was going to glide his team out of the postseason for the third year in a row. As late as late May, we wondered if Dwyane Wade was healthy enough to be relied upon. As late as mid-May, we wondered if we would see Chris Bosh play again in 2011-12, following his abdominal strain. As late as early November, we wondered if we would see an actual NBA season. We wonder no more.
Because it all came together. We doubt it was a function of Oklahoma City's failings, though there was quite a bit they could have done better both in this mostly-close series and especially that blowout Game 5. No, this was because the Miami Heat finally found a way to create a seamless offensive setup that created something that was greater than the sum of its. It wasn't quite the 1970s New York Knicks or 1990s Chicago Bulls-style of gestalt, but it was more than enough. Mainly because LeBron James played absolutely perfect basketball.