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For every Hall-of-Famer that has ever stepped onto a basketball court, they can always look back to the one moment that paved the path to a career full of individual and team success.
LeBron James had his moments in the postseason prior to the 2012 NBA Finals. The dunk on Kevin Garnett, the game-winner against Orlando or even the dunk on Rasheed Wallace could all be described as moments that truly illuminate and represent the duration of his career. However, with nothing to show behind it, they're not moments that have led to the success that LeBron has always craved.
No, that moment came in Game 4. Only moments after suffering a cramp, which was so severe he needed an assistant coach and Juwan Howard to help him off the court, James limped on the court and gave it the best he could. There was so little he could do, his ability to drive and create space was nonexistent, but there was only one thing he needed to do.
With the game tied at 94 apiece and only three minutes remaining, James had to leave his mark in order for the Heat to come out of Game 4 with a 3-1 series lead. Dribbling the ball at the top of the perimeter, James was left in a spot he had seen too many times before—attempting to be the hero. In past instances, James had failed in this spot but the 2012 NBA postseason was like none other for the reigning MVP.
James took a few steps closer to the three-point line, shot, and converted the biggest shot of his career over the outstretched hands of Thabo Sefalosha to give the Heat a 97-94 lead. It would be the last shot James would make as he would soon be taken out for the rest of the game moments after.
As we all know, the Heat won 104-98 and would win the NBA Finals the very next game. LeBron James deservedly won his first Finals MVP and the collective sound of one million mouths finally stopped talking.
45 points (19-of-26 from field, 2-of-4 from deep, 5-of-9 from foul line), 15 rebounds, 5 assists at Boston (Game 6)
Before LeBron hit that huge shot and won the NBA Finals, however, he was in a little bit of a pickle in the Heat's Conference Finals series against the Boston Celtics.
With his team facing a 3-2 deficit heading into Boston, James made it a point to make sure that nobody will end up blaming the Heat failing to win the championship on him again.
From the start, James was on a mission as he befuddled countless Celtics defenders with his ability to hit the mid-range jumper. As they say, once LeBron begins to hit the jumper it becomes nearly impossible to stop him, and that's exactly what happened.
James couldn't stop converting shots as he would lead the Heat to a 98-79 victory in front of a stunned Celtics crowd. LeBron's 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists was the most anyone had seen in a playoff game since Wilt Chamberlain did it in 1962.