U.S Presswire/Steve Mitchell
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade could finally smile after winning an NBA title.A little less than two years ago ago, LeBron James put a big target on his back when he made "The Decision" to join the Miami Heat.
On Thursday, just about every decision James made in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder proved to be the right one. Now he's an NBA champion.
Stat of the Postseason
The Heat became the first team to win an NBA title after trailing in three different postseason series. They faced a 2-games-to-1 deficit against the Indiana Pacers, a 3-games-to-2 deficit against the Boston Celtics, and a 1-game-to-none deficit against the Thunder.
Triple-Double in Title-Clincher
The Heat became the 11th team in NBA history to win a title after losing in the NBA Finals the previous season and the seventh champion to sweep four straight after losing Game 1.
It's hard to believe, but it's true. James picked a good time for his first triple-double of the season. He is the fifth player to record a triple-double in an NBA Finals clincher, the first since Tim Duncan in 2003.
The others, among the best in NBA history, are noted in the chart on the right.
James averaged 30.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists this postseason. It was the second time he has averaged a 30/9/5 combination in a single postseason. He also did so in 2009. The only player to hit those plateaus even once for a postseason was Oscar Robertson for the 1963 Cincinnati Royals.
How did the Heat win Game 5?
The Heat were just too much for the Thunder, both down under the hoop and from the outside.
NBA Finals Career
James was 8-for-11 for 16 points from inside five feet in Game 5. He averaged 14.8 points per game from that close in the Finals, nearly double what he averaged there versus the Mavericks.
OKC had no answer for the aggressive James in the paint, where he scored 18 points Thursday. He had at least 15 points in the paint in each of the five Finals games. He didn’t have more than 12 in any Finals game last season.
The Heat also tied an NBA Finals record with 14 3-pointers in the game, matching the mark previously set by the 1995 Orlando Magic and 1995 Houston Rockets, who each did it once in that series. The Heat were 14-for-26 from 3-point range in the game after combining to go 14-for-39 in Games 3 and 4.
Earlier in the Finals, it was Shane Battier who played unlikely hero. In Game 4, it was Mario Chalmers. In the clincher, it was Mike Miller's turn, as he came off the bench to make seven 3-pointers, one shy of the NBA Finals single-game record. Miller was one of three players on the Heat with at least 10 seasons of NBA experience who won their first title in this game.
Miller, a 12-year veteran, joined 18-year vet Juwan Howard (the first member of Michigan’s “Fab Five” to win a title) and Batter (11th season) in that group.