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Miami Heat wins NBA championship

Miami captures its second NBA title with a 121-106 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5. LeBron James finishes with a triple-double and is named the most valuable player of the Finals.

June 21, 2012|By Ben Bolch
  • Miami's LeBron James, left, and teammate Dwyane Wade have some celebratory fun on the sidelines during the final moments of their 121-106 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
Miami's LeBron James, left, and teammate Dwyane Wade have some celebratory… (Lynne Sladky / Associated…)

MIAMI — LeBron James was in no hurry as he walked off the court in the final minutes, raising his right arm in triumph.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were not far behind, the ballyhooed Miami Heat trio hugging teammates and coaches along the sideline.

Bosh, who had wept after last year’s NBA Finals, held Udonis Haslem in a firm embrace, swaying back and forth. James playfully nudged Coach Erik Spoelstra.

Five years of Finals anguish ended for James on Thursday night at AmericanAirlines Arena when Miami routed the Oklahoma City Thunder, 121-106, in Game 5 to win its first title since 2006.

The Heat won the series, four games to one, against a Thunder team that went from precocious to bumbling, hardly resembling the bunch that lost only three games combined in its first three playoff series.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook sat out the final 4 minutes 43 seconds, with Durant draping a towel around his head as if it might somehow block out the scene unfolding around him.

For James, it was a triumph that will presumably lessen some of the ache he has endured since Finals flops in 2007 with the Cleveland Cavaliers and last year with the Heat. His efforts against Oklahoma City helped him earn most valuable player of the Finals honors.

James continually attacked the basket from the opening tip and was excellent in every facet, collecting a triple-double with 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds to lead six Heat players in double figures scoring. Bosh had 24 points and Wade 20.

Miami got it done with the Big Three and with the little ones, making 14 of 26 three-pointers. Reserve guard Mike Miller was a stunningly effective sharpshooter, making seven of eight shots from beyond the arc.

The veteran guard finished with 23 points, nearly tripling his combined eight points from four previous Finals games in which he was a nonfactor. He opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back three-pointers to extend Miami’s cushion to 27 points.

Game, season, series, Heat.

Fans began celebrating in earnest after the Heat put together a 36-point third quarter, taking a 95-71 lead.

Heat 95, Thunder 71 (end of third quarter)

The partying has started in South Beach.

Barring a total collapse, Miami will win its second NBA title and first with the ballyhooed trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh after putting together a 36-point third quarter.

The Heat is getting it done with the Big Three and with the little ones, making 12 of 21 three-pointers and putting together a 32-11 run after the Thunder had made it a five-point game.

Bosh has 22 points to lead six Heat players in double figures scoring.

Oklahoma City pulled to within 61-56 early in the quarter when Serge Ibaka picked up a loose ball and went in for a dunk, and the Thunder had the ball again after Kevin Durant blocked a shot by James.

But Durant made a behind-the-back move dribbling up the court and lost the ball.

Miami's Mario Chalmers made a three-pointer from one corner of the court and then Shane Battier made a three-pointer from the other corner on the Heat's next possession, extending its advantage to 67-56 and prompting a Thunder timeout.

There was a momentary dustup between Durant and Chalmers after they pushed one another along the sideline with 7:21 left in the quarter.

Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins then picked up his fifth foul shortly thereafter when he got tangled up with Chris Bosh and came out of the game.

Things further deteriorated for the Thunder when Derek Fisher was called for a flagrant foul for thrusting his body into James' as James drove toward the basket.

Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook had one shot blocked by James and another by Wade within a few possessions late in the quarter.

Heat 59, Thunder 49 (halftime)

AmericanAirlines Arena will never be confused with its NBA Finals counterpart, Chesapeake Energy Arena, in terms of deliverable decibels, but the place was rocking midway through the second quarter of Game 5.

Mike Miller -- no joke -- made his fourth three-pointer of the first half and then LeBron James went in for a layup off a turnover that gave the Miami Heat a 17-point lead in a potential closeout game.

Good times, indeed, for Heat fans.

Miller finished the half with 12 points, more than the eight the veteran guard had in the four previous Finals games combined. James has 15 points, continually attacking the basket and making six of nine shots.

Not everything went perfectly for the Heat.

Dwyane Wade picked up his third foul with 5:35 left before halftime when he dove for a loose ball and collided with James Harden. Wade sat out the rest of the half.

Meanwhile, shots continued to rattle in and out for the Thunder before a mini-run to close the half kept the Heat within striking distance.

Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant has 14 points and little offensive help from players not named Russell Westbrook or James Harden.

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