NBA Playoffs 2012: Why LeBron James and Miami Heat Should Be Clear Favorites

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVJune 10, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 09:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat reacts after making a three-pointer in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 9, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Led by a three-time MVP that is finally ready to prove to the world his greatness, the Miami Heat will not be stopped this postseason by any means. 

If I had a nickel for every time that I heard "the Western Conference Finals is really the NBA Finals" this past week... well, you know the rest.

The crazy world that is the NBA and its following has become way, way too quick to judge. Sure, the Oklahoma City Thunder are deserving of their spot in the NBA Finals above anyone else in the West, but we seem to forget what the Miami Heat are capable of.

When James left Cleveland and shocked the world by joining forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, they emerged automatically as heavy favorites to win the title year in and year out. But after a subpar performance in the NBA Finals—a team has never made it to the Finals and gotten the type of letdown that the Heat had—we were left scratching our heads.

Sure, LeBron asked for us to micro-analyze his game with his popular line "Not 5, not 6..." but that doesn't mean that their struggles have forced them to become an afterthought.

Sure, Kevin Durant has emerged as one of the top players if not the top player in basketball by some accounts. He's surrounded by a great team that has a lot of youthful talent.

But the public seems to forget about Miami's experience in big moments, whether they've won the big moments or not. James is now heading to his third NBA Finals, and you can bet he's more comfortable than ever before with the big stage. Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden can't say that, and their jitters will be evident.

When the Boston Celtics took a commanding three-to-two game lead over star-studded Miami, we were all way too quick to write off the Heat. But a champion emerged and led their team to wins that would have been improbable without his presence.

In the fourth quarter of Game 7 with everything on the line, Miami's Big Three stepped up to the plate and proved their dominance. Just when the world was starting to forget about the Heat as title contenders, Bosh, Wade and James became clutch.

The one thing that James has been dissed about more than anything else was the driving force to get his team to the NBA Finals.

He was clutch. He had great chemistry not only with Wade, but with the still not 100 percent Bosh, who is finding his complete game. You can bet that Pat Riley didn't go out and get Bosh so that he could hit clutch three-pointers in a Game 7, but he'll take it.

And LeBron James will take his first NBA title.

Only six more to go.