Greatest Miami Heat Moment of the 21st Century

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From Last Word on Pro Basketball, by Harrison Marcus

Welcome to the Greatest Moment series at Last Word On Pro Basketball, where we’ll present to you each NBA team’s greatest moment of the 21st century. From draft lottery luck, to a franchise-changing trade, to the sweet taste of a championship, every NBA team has had its own special moment to look back on.

In this edition, we will relive the greatest Miami Heat moment of the 21st century: Ray Allen‘s three-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals.

Greatest Miami Heat Moment of the 21st Century: Ray Allen’s NBA Finals Glory

“Rebound Bosh, back out to Allen, his three-pointer, BANG!”

The words of Mike Breen will never be forgotten among Miami Heat fans, San Antonio Spurs fans, and, quite frankly, all basketball fans. Ray Allen’s three pointer to tie Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals with 5.2 seconds remaining may go down as the most clutch shot of all time. We all know the end result, but let’s re-visit exactly what made this moment so special.

Pressure for the Big Three to Succeed

The 2012-13 season was LeBron James‘ third as a member of the Miami Heat. James had already won his elusive first title the year prior against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but this series against the San Antonio Spurs seemed to be a much tougher task. The Spurs were the epitome of disciplined, fundamental, and team-focused basketball.

As the defending champions, Miami was the favorite heading into the series. James promised not one, not two, not three (it goes on, you know the story) championships. The big three of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh was supposed to be invincible. The target on the back of the Miami Heat organization was immeasurable, and for good reason.

Miami’s Struggles Down the Stretch of Game 6

In the final minute of Game 6 of the NBA Finals – with the Spurs leading the series 3-2 – James coughed up two turnovers and missed on a three-pointer. The Spurs led 94-89 with 28.2 seconds left. The game, and the season, seemed just about over. Heat fans had already left the building, prepared for an off-season of depression. Security had already brought out the ropes to prepare for the Spurs’ championship celebration.

Everything in the past few minutes had suggested misery was on its way for the Heat. It appeared as if James would take yet another hit to his heavily scrutinized legacy, and it also appeared as if the Heat were about to have just one championship to show for the first three years of the Big Three era.

Change in Momentum

But then the momentum began to shift. James hit a three-pointer to make the game closer. 20.1 seconds left. Still a two-point game with San Antonio in possession of the ball, but now the Heat were just a lucky break and a clutch shot away from saving their season.

First came the lucky break: Kawhi Leonard missed one of two free throws, making the score 95-92. 19.4 seconds left.

Mario Chalmers brought up the ball and dribbled towards the left corner, where he passed to a cutting James along the three-point line. An open look for the best player in the world, but the shot was off. No clutch shot just quite yet.

Goosebumps

Among a crowd of three black jerseys, Chris Bosh managed to pull down a season-defining rebound.

And then, something magical happened. The pitter-patter of Ray Allen’s feet scrambling to the three-point line; the recognition of Bosh to pass the ball to Allen; and then, of course, the perfect rotation of the rock from one of the greatest shooters of all time – nothing but net. Swish, tie game. Or if you’re Mike Breen, “Bang!”

Goosebumps – that’s what a “greatest moment” is all about. Ray Allen gave every Miami Heat fan goosebumps that night.

Significance of the Shot

Of course that shot didn’t win the game, nor did it even win the series. Miami went on to win Game 6 in overtime, followed by a triumphant victory in Game 7.

Without Ray Allen’s shot, LeBron James’ legacy may be viewed completely differently. Miami’s Big Three would probably be viewed as a failure to fully live up to expectations. But of course that’s just speculation.

With three championships since 2000, the Miami Heat have had so many great moments to choose from. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Shaquille O’Neal all gave the franchise so many incredible moments throughout the years. However it’s Ray Allen who gets the nod here.

Four years later, and it still sounds like yesterday…

“Rebound Bosh, back out to Allen, his three-pointer, BANG!”

 

Main Photo
Embed from Getty Images

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