In 2013, Heat dynasty picks up steam

Agence France-Presse

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In 2013, the Miami Heat picked up right where they left off by returning their core group and adding key pieces en route to winning their second-straight NBA championship in 2013

LOS ANGELES, USA – The Miami Heat picked up right where they left off by returning their core group and adding key pieces like veteran Ray Allen en route to winning their second-straight NBA championship in 2013.

Talk of a Heat dynasty gained momentum and LeBron James was named MVP of both the regular season and the Finals for the second-consecutive year. He also silenced the critics who said he couldn’t win the big one.

James carried the Heat on his back in two game sevens in the postseason, including a 37-point, 12-rebound performance in a 95-88 win over the San Antonio Spurs to give Miami back-to-back NBA titles.

“It feels great. This team is amazing,” he said. “The vision I had when I decided to come here has all come true. To win back-to-back championships is an unbelievable feeling.”

James had another 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in a must win game six that pushed the Spurs to the brink of elimination.

Allen drained a key three pointer with five seconds left in regulation to force overtime in game six and keep the Heat’s season alive.

COLD-BLOODED. Allen sinks the overtime-forcing triple. Photo by EPA/Larry Smith.

James’ game-seven playoff heroics also included scoring 39 points in a 99-76 rout by the Heat over the scrappy Indiana Pacers in the league semi-finals.

The Heat won a league-best 66 games which included an impressive 27-game win streak which began on February 3 with a win over Toronto. It marked the second longest win streak in NBA history behind the Los Angeles Lakers 33-game run in the 1971-72 season.

NBA darlings

The Heat are now the darlings of the NBA, just two years after becoming one of the most reviled teams in league history when James and Bosh jumped ship and joined Dwyane Wade in south Florida.

But the big three are also a year older, especially the 31-year old Wade who has been suffering from chronic knee problems for the last few years.

Oklahoma City became a victim of their own success. After a strong 2011-12 season, the Thunder traded away James Harden after the two sides couldn’t agree on a new contract.

The Thunder failed to find a replacement for the offensive weapon, who was sent to Houston in a trade.

In Harden’s absence, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook stepped up to lead the club to a 60-win season, but the loss of their top sixth man proved to be too much for the Thunder to overcome.

Kobe Bryant went down with a torn left Achilles tendon in April. To top it off, Dwight Howard’s brief stint in LA ended up being a bust and he eventually ended up bolting Hollywood for the low-key atmosphere of Houston.

MAMBA LIMPS. Bryant suffered an injury late in their win over Golden State. Photo by AFP/Jeff Gross.

The Lakers also lost their long-time owner Jerry Buss who died at age 80 in 2013.

Collins, Rose, and other 2013 highlights

On the injury front, no contending team felt the loss of a superstar more than the Chicago Bulls who lost Derrick Rose for the season with a torn ACL. In a small consolation, the Bulls were the ones who ended Miami’s 27-game win streak with a victory on March 27.

Rose returned and played a few games for the Bulls in the 2013-2014 season before suffering another season-ending injury on his right knee.

NBA player Jason Collins made headlines in May by becoming the first openly gay athlete of any of the four major North American sports.

The New Jersey Nets moved to Brooklyn to become the Brooklyn Nets.

The move allowed the club to return to New York where it first played when they joined the NBA in 1976.

The first game of the 2012-13 season in Brooklyn was supposed to feature the Nets playing the New York Knicks, but it had to be postponed because of Hurricane Sandy which slammed into the east coach of the United States, killing over a hundred people and causing billion of dollars in damage. – Rappler.com

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