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No disrespect to the Boston Celtics, but no one thought the Celtics would give the Heat the kind of series they did. The Celtics are one of the oldest teams in the NBA, with the combined age of their big three around 86 years.
Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are certainly one of the greatest trios in NBA history, but beating them, like the Heat did last year, won't be considered as impressive as knocking out the "new trio" in the NBA—consisting of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
With some experts talking about the Thunder's big three as the best big three in the entire NBA, the Heat have the perfect opportunity to solidify themselves as one of the most dominant teams in NBA history.
If LeBron is able to carry the Heat past the upstart Thunder in the NBA Finals, his epic 2011-12 season will be capped off by proving that he can lead the Heat against the veteran teams in the NBA like the Boston Celtics, while also being able to knock off the young, athletic teams in the NBA like the Thunder.
Against the Thunder this season, LeBron averaged 25.5 points, five rebounds and 8.6 assists per game. LeBron will have to increase his production, like he's done all postseason long, if he wants to lead the Heat over the Thunder.
Doing that will not only earn LeBron his first NBA title, it will also make a bold statement to the rest of the NBA that he's ready to pull through on his "not one ... not two ... not three ... " promise.
A career-defining performance against the young and athletic Thunder will mean more for LeBron's career than his classic performance against the Celtics. Failing to beat the Thunder will result in fans forgetting about everything that happened before the NBA Finals, just like they did last season.