Big Three: From villains to champs
At last, the Big Three earned its crown. With their win over the Thunder last night, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade silenced their critics and delivered against a feisty, young Oklahoma City team. Here’s how the trio of stars got there:
1. July 8, 2010: “The Decision” — “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach.” With that, James and Bosh join Wade in Miami, forever changing their legacies. The state of Ohio weeps.
2. July 9, 2010: The first news conference — At a party complete with smoke and strobes, the three unite in their new unis for the first time in front of 13,000 fans at AmericanAirlines Arena.
3. Nov. 27, 2010: A terrible start — The Mavericks beat the Heat 106-95 (harbinger?) as Miami (9-8) stumbles out of the gate. A players-only meeting is called to hash out problems.
4. Jan. 9, 2011: An incredible streak — After the meeting and rumors of coach Erik Spoelstra’s ouster, the Heat go on a tear, winning 21 of 22 games, culminating on this day with a 107-100 overtime win over Portland.
5. March 6, 2011: CryGate — Spoelstra says some members of the Heat are crying after a loss to the Bulls — their fourth straight — but won’t name the weepers.
6. June 7, 2011: NBA Finals Game 4— The Heat are outscored 21-9 to end the game as Bosh (24 points) and Wade (32) show up, but James does not, shooting 3 of 11. The Heat would lose that game, 86-83, as well as the next two and the series.
7. March 10, 2012: Triple combo — James tied a game against the Pacers with a 3, Bosh did the same in OT and Wade hit a game-winner with 0.1 seconds left. The Heat are 31-9 and all is well in Miami.
8. May 14, 2012: Bosh goes down — During the Heat’s playoff series against the Pacers, an MRI reveals Bosh has a strained abdominal muscle, suffered in Game 1 a day earlier. The Heat rally from 2-1 down in the series as Bosh misses nine games in all.
9. June 7, 2012: Eastern Conference finals Game 6 — Facing elimination, James goes off for 45 points and 15 rebounds, Wade pours in 17 and Bosh comes off the bench to swat three shots as Miami wins in Boston. The Heat take Game 7 at home two days later, but have only two off days until the Finals begin.
10. June 14, 2012: NBA Finals Game 2 — After a Game 1 loss, the Heat start their next game with an 18-2 run and have just enough juice to hold off the Thunder in the final seconds. Miami would not lose again.