This is when we knew. Not when Mike Miller (23 points, 7-of-8 threes) was pouring threes in like a South Florida tropical storm. Not when LeBron James hung in the air for impossibly tough buckets, twice. Not when Derek Fisher‘s “flagrant” foul turned the tide finally in Miami’s favor. We knew this game had become Miami’s when LeBron gave Mario Chalmers (10 points, seven assists) a staredown during an incredible third-quarter stretch, up 25 points, to tell him Not now. Hold it in, and finish. That’s when we knew this wasn’t the Miami team that took the stage and made a foolhardy pitch for seven titles without earning a thing. LeBron’s face — another comical yell at Chalmers this series — told us they, but mostly LeBron, had shed the ways that made everyone hate them. Because Game 5, a 121-106 win, was only about basketball and an awe-inspiring game at that. OKC/Heat/Celtics/whoever fan, this was an eye-opening display. It was also a buzzsaw of a path to a 4-1 NBA Finals series win for the Miami Heat. Say what you will but LeBron (26 points, 11 rebounds, 13 rebounds) is a champion and he carried Miami with him to the trophy by finishing with his first triple double of the entire season. … Two early fouls on Dwyane Wade (20 points, eight rebounds) and you were thinking, uh oh, but he stayed in the game — by being moved onto James Harden (19 points, most in garbage time). That’s how un-Harden-like The Beard played in this series. After three single-digit scoring nights in the first four games he’d become the safe harbor for a guy with foul trouble. Wade mirrored the two early fouls on Thabo Sefolosha (0 points, a nonfactor in 9 minutes), but there were fewer spots to hide him on defense than Wade. … Serge Ibaka (nine points, four rebounds) must have watched Tuesday’s film and taken everything on it personally. He came out blocking two shots and getting involved on offense. He had to stay inside more in the first quarter as the last line of defense when Chris Bosh (24 points, seven boards) ran past Kendrick Perkins damn near twice in a row in the first for a dunk and a tough layup. Ibaka struggled once Miami hit its threes and stretched the court. This wasn’t the team that was driving at will in Games 3 and 4. In turn, Ibaka couldn’t find a position that put him in good position. … When Mike Miller checked in with a couple minutes to go in the first and hit his first four threes he looked like Teddy Dupay was feeding him the rock and it was 1998. When Norris Cole came in and lit up OKC from deep with a triple, his new haircut looked like an anvil. Together they made everyone think along the same lines: If Miami’s role guys are hitting those shots, start the coronation. … Jeff Van Gundy‘s thoughts on Kevin Durant‘s huge baseline throwdown on Udonis Haslem: “That reminded me of Tracy McGrady on Shawn Bradley.” … How about that head-only flop from Harden on an elbow by LeBron? His neck was more like a hinge by the look of it. LeBron, though, got it back by spinning past him going right and then hanging for 1..2..3 in the air over Ibaka for the double-clutch bucket. … Miami gave “Big Three” a whole new meaning all night, first with Miller and Cole, then with Chalmers thrown in with Battier. The count was an NBA Finals-record 14-of-26 from distance. Chalmers in particular hit a backbreaking three to OKC in the third quarter, giving them an eight-point lead when OKC could have cut it to three in its own transition. And that was just the start … Hit the jump to hear about the Heat’s ridiculous second half.
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