7. 2012 NBA Finals: Miami Heat beat Oklahoma City Thunder (4-1)
Overall excitement: 6/10
Average score: 6/10
In the wake of his catastrophic performance in the 2011 NBA Finals, LeBron James was at a crossroads. His legacy was hanging in the balance as he had failed time and time again to deliver at the highest stage. With three MVP awards but no championship rings, the 2012 NBA Finals was James’ last chance to win a title before being completely written off.
In contrast, this series was just the beginning for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Star players such as Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and James Harden would make their first Finals appearance. Behind a monster season from this Big 3, the Thunder were serious threats to win it all.
Game 1 started with a bang for the Thunder. A dominant 36-point night from Durant helped bring the Thunder to an 11-point victory and a 1-0 series lead. Sadly, the Thunder’s luck ran out from this point on, as the Miami Heat made it clear they weren’t going to settle for second place.
Maybe it was the desperation of having their backs to the wall or their advantage in having more experience, but the Heat were on another level for the remainder of this series. Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and James were firing on all cylinders. Wade chipped in big time, putting up 22.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game.
Meanwhile, veteran sharpshooters such as Shane Battier and Mike Miller proved to be crucial factors to the series. In the final Game 5, Miller went 7-for-8 from beyond the 3-point line. This burst of shooting effectively ended the series for the Thunder.
In the end, James captured the championship he had been chasing his entire career. Numbers of 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game helped clinch one of the greatest individual performances basketball has ever seen.