The Miami Heat are headed back to the NBA Finals. In an elimination game the Indiana Pacers with their backs against the wall just failed to show up. The Heat defeated the Pacers 117-92 to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals.
This is Miami’s fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals, a feat last accomplished by the Boston Celtics from 1984-1987.
Not only is Miami making history by playing in four straight Finals, they’re chasing the Pat Riley trademarked “Three-peat”. Only a select few teams have managed to win three championships in a row, the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers did it twice (1952-1954, 2000-2002). The 90s Chicago Bulls also completed the three-peat twice (1991-1993, 1996-1998). Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics won 8 titles in row from 1959-1966. Completing the three-peat would put LeBron and the Heat in some pretty good company.
“Me and D-Wade grew up watching the great Chicago Bulls teams with Michael Jordan and the rest of those guys,” Heat forward LeBron James said. “Anytime I hear my name or our team in the same breath with legends and great teams and franchises, it’s so humbling, man. To be able to play the game and move up at a high level as teammates is the ultimate. And when you get comparisons, you respect it.”
Standing in Miami’s way will be the San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder. The Spurs lead the Western Conference Finals 3-2, with game 6 taking place tonight in Oklahoma City. Miami defeated both teams to win their last two championships and would probably be odds on favorites to beat them again.
Both the Spurs and Thunder want to avenge their Finals losses to the Heat, but King James will have something to say about that.
James is averaging 27.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 5 assists during the 2014 NBA Playoffs. He’s sure to elevate his game when the stakes get higher.
“I’m blessed. Very blessed. Very humbled,” James told ESPN. “And we won’t take this opportunity for granted. It’s an unbelievable franchise, it’s an unbelievable group. And we know we still have work to do, but we won’t take this for granted. We’re going to four straight Finals and we will never take this for granted.”