The Miami Heat entered Game 5 of the NBA Finals vs. the San Antonio Spurs facing perhaps their last game of the season. With the Spurs up 3-1, the Heat were in need of several excellent performances from key players, most obviously from basketball demigod LeBron James. While a strong game wouldn't necessarily guarantee a win, it was hard to imagine Miami staying alive without one.
Thankfully for the two-time defending champions, LeBron came through with one of the top first quarters of his career, postseason or otherwise. In a first quarter during which he sat only 14 seconds, James scored 17 points (5-for-7 FG, 2-of-3 3FG, and 5-of-5 FT) and grabbed six rebounds to pace a 29-22 opening period. As noted by Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com, LeBron had never hit those totals in the first quarter over his NBA career.
He also had his fair share of highlights. Like this putback dunk:
Or this chasedown block:
Or even this very long stepback three-pointer:
A very good first quarter obviously does not guarantee a Miami win. However, it looks like James entered the game determined to extend his team's year. Whether that's enough is a different story.
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