Arena security thought the NBA Finals were over and so did hundreds of fans with 28.2 seconds left in regulation of Game 6. As security personnel surrounded the court of AmericanAirlines Arena with a yellow rope in preparation for the Spurs’ trophy ceremony, fans poured out of the arena in droves, unable to watch the Heat lose the championship on its home court. Allen had the final say, literally, when screamed at the security workers to “get those [motherbleeping] ropes out of here!” after hitting his three-pointer. Fans who left the arena weren’t allowed back in for overtime.
LeBron James’ mastery of Game 7 of the NBA Finals (37 points, 12 rebounds, four assists) was highlighted by a clutch shot from 19 feet with 27.9 seconds remaining. The basket gave the Heat a four-point lead.
Chris Bosh’s two blocks in the final 32 seconds of overtime helped secure the win in Game 6 and preserve the championship hopes. Bosh blocked Tony Parker’s 17-foot attempt with 32 seconds left in the game and then blocked Danny Green’s three-point attempt at the buzzer.
Sandwiched between Bosh’s blocks was a key steal by Allen under the Spurs’ basket with two seconds remaining. It marked the eighth and final turnover by Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili in the game.
Dwyane Wade’s six steals in Game 4 of the Finals was one shy of trying Robert Horry’s 18-year Finals record for steals in a game.
Wade limped into Game7 of the Eastern Conference finals but found the strength to deliver a huge performance. His steal and transition dunk in the first quarter, which included one of his trademark Euro-steps around Lance Stephenson, signaled to everyone that Wade and the Heat were not ready to quit playing. Wade finished the game with 21 points, nine rebounds and two steals.
Mike Miller was inserted into the starting lineup for Game 4 of the Finals after making eight consecutive three-pointers in Games 2 and 3. Miller shot 61.1 percent from three-point range in the Finals.
Norris Cole delivered his signature performance of the postseason in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Bulls. He went 7 of 9 from the field and 4 of 4 from three-point range in the Heat’s 115-78 victory to tie the series. Cole was 9 of11 from three-point range and 20 of 29 from the field in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Who can forget Bulls reserve Nazr Mohammed losing his cool in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals? Mohammed shoved James to the ground in the physical game. James pushed back, scoring 25 points and going 11 of 11 from the free-throw line to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists.
Cole fell one assist shy of a triple-double (16 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists) in the second-to-last game of the season, a 96-95 victory for the Heat. Cole preserved the lead in the final seconds when he stripped Cavs guard Kyrie Irving of the ball just before Irving attempted a shot.
It was a surreal night in Cleveland on March 30. The Heat came back from a 27-point deficit in the second half to preserve the winning streak, and James finished with a triple-double (25-12-10), but the most memorable moment was when a fan ran onto the court and approached James wearing a T-shirt that asked James to return to Cleveland. Instead of running in the opposite direction, James patted the fan on the head in a touching gesture as security pulled him off the court.
James’ breakaway alley-oop dunk over Celtics guard Jason Terry set Twitter ablaze on March 18. Terry crashed to the ground during the play, which started a running theme on the Internet that Terry died that night in Boston.
Mario Chalmers set a Sleep Train Arena record for three-pointers in a game Jan. 12 when he made 10 of 13 attempts from distance. He finished the game with 34 points but was subbed out at the end to avoid embarrassing the Kings.
Allen’s four-point play with 6.7 seconds left against the Nuggets on Nov. 3, 2012, was the veteran’s guard first clutch basket with his new team.
Allen’s three-pointer against the Spurs on Nov. 29 was a sign of things to come. The shot gave the Heat a two-point lead with 22.6 seconds left. The Heat won 105-100 even though the Spurs showed to Miami without its key stars.
Nov. 11 was night to forget for Houston guard Jeremy Lin, who airballed a three-point attempt with 9.9 seconds left in the game and his team trailing by a point. James won his duel with James Harden, scoring 38 points to go along with 10 rebounds and six assists.
The trip to China included many memorable moments, such as the flight to China itself, which went over the Arctic Circle. Beijing proved its love for basketball in the Heat’s first overseas exhibition game. The arena was rocking like an NBA Finals game before the game even started. Near the end, fans began whizzing thousands of foam Frisbees around the arena. The Frisbees were free giveaways.
SHANGHAI SHAGHAI SLIP
Next time, don’t leave the bay doors open at the arena next to the river. Shanghai’s Mercedes Arena was a marvel, but arena personnel left two huge loading dock entrances wide open during the Heat’s second game in China. Moisture blew in off the Huangpu River and pretty soon the court was a slip-and-slide.
A FUNNY HAT
Pat Riley can be a tourist, too. During the team’s excursion to The Great Wall of China, the Heat president got some laughs when he bought a military-style winter weather hat and wore it throughout the day.