The Miami Heat and their All-Star Trio of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are making their second straight trip to the NBA Finals where they will face Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Last season, the Heat fell to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in six games and fell short of their ultimate goal. This year, they have another chance and are just four wins away from the second NBA championship in Miami Heat franchise history.
Miami earned its first NBA championship in 2006 by defeating the Mavericks in six games. The quest for championship number two will continue when the Heat visit Oklahoma City for Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals on Tuesday, June 12.
Before the 2012 NBA Finals begin, let's review how the Heat won the East.
First Round- Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks
The Heat won the first three games of the series by double digits and went into Game 4 looking for their first sweep in the playoffs since the 2005 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Washington Wizards. Miami held an 11-point lead, 51-40, with 8:22 remaining in the third quarter of Game 4 and seemed to be on their way to a four-game sweep. But by the end of the third, the Heat trailed the Knicks by three points. Miami failed to regain control of the contest and fell to New York 89-87. The Heat closed out the series with a 12-point victory in Game 5.
Eastern Conference semifinals- Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers
After a 95-86 Game 1 victory, Miami suffered a 78-75 loss to the Pacers in Game 2 and lost home-court advantage. The Heat failed to regain home-court advantage in Game 3 and went into Game 4 needing a win to avoid a 3-1 deficit. James and Wade combined for 70 points in Game 4, and Miami tied the series at two games apiece with a 101-93 victory. The Heat won Games 5 and 6 to win the series four games to two.
Eastern Conference finals- Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics
Miami took a 2-0 series lead with a 115-111 overtime victory in Game 2. At halftime of Game 3, the Heat trailed the Celtics 55-42 and were down by 22 heading into the fourth. The final result was a 101-91 Miami loss. The Heat lost Games 4 and 5 as well and went into Game 6 trailing the Celtics 3-2. In a must-win Game 6, LeBron James put on a transcendental performance (45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists) as he led Miami to a 98-79 victory. Miami's All-Star Trio answered the call in a series-deciding Game 7. Heading into the fourth quarter the game was tied 73-73. Over the final 12 minutes, the Heat outscored the Celtics 28-15 for a 101-88 victory. All 28 of Miami's fourth quarter points were scored by James (11), Dwyane Wade (9) and Chris Bosh (8).
In their two seasons together, Bosh, James and Wade have led the Heat to two consecutive NBA Finals appearances. With four more wins, they can lead Miami to its second NBA championship in franchise history.
Mark is a lifelong fan of the NBA who has loved the game of basketball ever since his first trip to an NBA arena. Mark has watched more basketball games than anyone can count and has hundreds of articles about the NBA published on the internet. Mark also shares his random NBA musings and game-by-game predictions on RandomNBAFan.com.
More on the 2012 NBA Playoffs:
Information from Basketball-Reference.com's Miami Heat Franchise Index, ESPN.com's Miami Heat Schedule, Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks--Recap--May 06, 2012, Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks--Play By Play--May 06, 2012, Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers--Box Score--May 20, 2012, Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics--Play By Play--June 01, 2012, Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics--Recap--June 07, 2012 and Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat--Play By Play--June 09, 2012 was used for this article.