Miami Heat: The 10 Most Memorable Moments of the 2010-'11 Season
The 2010-'11 season hasn't always been what we expected out of the Miami Heat when we pictured this team during the summer. With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh joined up, an unstoppable juggernaut was believed to be formed just from the sheer talent of those three players alone.
Since they have started, though, they have proven to have a number of struggles and flaws that have affected the outcomes of games in a negative light.
Whether it has been losing their two best players off the bench or the cohesion issues in the starting lineup, Miami has had more trouble than it envisioned coming into the season.
With the way the media keeps the Heat under a microscope, you probably wouldn't think that they are 43-17, leading the Southeast Division by five games, and only half a game out of the first spot in the Eastern Conference.
They have had their struggles against the elite teams of the league and have had offensive stretches that would lead you to believe that they didn't have three players averaging over 18 points and two players in the top five in scoring.
One thing has remained consistent for the Heat, though, and that has been their knack for making Top 10 highlights on a nightly basis. Between the collective talent of James, Wade, and Bosh, they have made the American Airlines Arena the house of highlights when they hit the court.
While the usual dunks and blocks have been featured, they have also made plays that have only been seldom seen in NBA history.
Mile-long alley-oops and shots taken from the crowd are only the beginning of what Heat fans have been seeing for the first 60 games. With 22 games remaining in the regular season, we can only imagine what this team is capable of accomplishing.
Remember that the real excitement comes in May.
10. LeBron James Welcomes Wesley Johnson to the NBA
If LeBron James is famous for one aspect on defense, it is his ferocious chase-down blocks. Too many times over his career, James has come from behind on an opposing team's fast break that he would come from out of nowhere to smack the lay up attempt rows deep into the bleachers.
The city of Miami once dreaded it, but it is now welcomed as they ooh and ahh at every chase-down that James completes.
His best came during a laugher of a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Rookie Wesley Johnson led a fast break and weaved through multiple defenders and appeared ready to make an easy two points in a meaningless game.
What he didn't know however was that James was stalking him the entire time down the floor and as soon as he put the shot up, it was sent into the third row of the American Airlines Arena.
At least he's not blocking Miami's shots any more.
9. Chris Bosh Wishes the Los Angeles Lakers a Merry Christmas
Overall this season, no player in the NBA has been more criticized than Chris Bosh. Despite averaging 18 points and eight rebounds per game, Bosh has been the talk of Heat critics everywhere as they look for negatives to his game.
One of the biggest criticisms has been his lack of aggressive play, as he would rather finesse a layup or shoot an 18- to 20-footer than drive and slam over a defender.
However, this has been Bosh's game and it has proven to be very successful in his first seven and a half years in the league.
He put on a completely different show during the Heat's highly anticipated match-up with the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.
Early on in the Heat's eventual victory, Bosh received a perfect pass from Wade, who had brought some defender's attentions with him. This allowed Chris to get open at the dotted line, where he would then take a step and slam it over Lakers forward Matt Barnes.
It was very uncharacteristic of Bosh to be that ferocious, as I'm sure everyone watching the game expected a layup or a jumper.
8. LeBron James Mean Mugs Like He Can't Smile
It seems that LeBron James doesn't dunk in traffic as much as he used to now that he's with Miami.
Either it's because of how the offense is run or the fact that James doesn't have to work as hard for his points now is beyond me, but he did pull off one of the dunks of the year during a game against the Phoenix Suns.
LeBron appeared to revert back to Cleveland-mode as he split two defenders, jumped from the dotted line, got pushed by Channing Frye, and then finished the dunk.
He would then give the meanest face ever recorded on TNT after he already screamed at the scared Suns crowd.
7. Dwyane Wade Dunks on Joey Graham and Takes Him on a Ride
The Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers matchups at the American Airlines Arena nowhere near had the entertainment value that the game in Cleveland had.
Instead, it was basically an elite team playing against another cellar dweller that would most likely result in a few highlight plays and an easy victory for the better team.
The two games in Miami wouldn't be the LeBron James Show, but instead it was the Dwyane Wade Experience as he scorched the Cavs for 28 points in a 101-95 victory.
The highlight of the night came from him as well. Following a Cleveland miss, LeBron would rebound and fit a perfect outlet pass to a streaking Wade, who had plenty of real estate ahead of him.
As he rose up to dunk however, Cavs guard Joey Graham would grab onto him in mid-air in an attempt to stop the dunk. Graham obviously forgot who he was trying to foul because Wade finished the dunk with ease before flying into the crowd.
The George Jefferson at the end only adds to the intensity.
6. LeBron James > The Cleveland Cavaliers
It was the game that every NBA fan had marked on their calendars. A Dec. 2 match-up between the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers that marked the first time LeBron James would be in a different uniform at the Quicken Loans Arena.
Following the disaster known as 'The Decision,', the city of Cleveland grew a high level of distaste and disgust for the player that they once idolized and looked to as a hero. James had turned the Cavaliers franchise around from a joke to a legitimate championship contender in only five years.
The crowd that had cheered him now jeered him. With a sellout crowd on hand, James had heard the boos from the second he was introduced. Even during the shoot around, he was jeered and heckled.
When the game started, LeBron made his impression immediately felt by hitting a few jumpers to only momentarily silence the Cleveland crowd. The Cavs jumped to an early 17-11 lead, but it would be all Heat from there as they would lead by as much 40 in the third quarter.
To say the least, James put on a show. In only 30 minutes worth of game time, he had 38 points, eight assists, and five rebounds to lead the Heat to an easy 118-90 victory.
By the second half, you could hear a pin drop in the arena that had fans foaming at the mouth to get a chance to heckle their one-time hero. Following that loss, the Cavs would lose 21 of 22 games and would eventually set an NBA record with 26 consecutive losses.
The Heat won 21 of 22 following the game.
5. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James Put on a Show for Milwaukee
In a game that already featured this, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade decided to give the Bradley Center crowd in Milwaukee a little more entertainment that the Bucks don't usually give.
Early in a game between the Heat and Bucks, Wade and James put on display the art of running the perfect fast break. A Brandon Jennings miss led to a Wade rebound. He would immediately run the floor with Carlos Arroyo and James alongside of him.
Rather than give it up to Arroyo who probably would've made the easy lay-up, he dropped it off to James who was running behind him.
LeBron received the pass, jumped a little before the dotted line, and threw down one of the most intense tomahawk dunks of the season.
It also gave us this picture.
4. Who Needs the Big Three When You Have Eddie House?
Essentially, people will always find a flaw in any system. One of the most prominent has been the big three's inability to take the last shot late in close games, which has been displayed on a number of occasions.
What most of these people don't realize is that a defense's attention will most likely always be centered on the players who are expected to take the shot. A defense would more likely focus their attention on LeBron James or Dwyane Wade than on Mike Miller or Mario Chalmers.
Most of the time, the big three found their supporting cast for open looks, but failed to convert. In this specific game however, they found the open man and converted.
With a tight game against the Oklahoma City Thunder coming down to the wire and the Heat down by one, the ball was in Wade's hands to hopefully give Miami the lead for good.
He would miss the shot from 20 feet, but the rebound would land into the hands of Mike Miller, who would promptly pass the ball to an open James outside the perimeter.
The offensive rebound caused the defense to scramble that featured a close out by Daequan Cook on James. LeBron then passed the ball to veteran Eddie House, who would drain the three-pointer and give the Heat the eventual win.
The dance at the end? So worth the $25,000.
3. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James Give Miami a Preview of What's to Come
The early weeks of Miami Heat basketball this season weren't always the prettiest. In fact, it was sometimes gut-wrenching to see such talented players that had made careers out of scoring with ease struggle on offense playing together.
However, we did get to see one of the more impressive alley-oops of the season when Dwyane Wade and LeBron James hooked up in a game against the New Jersey Nets.
With a double-digit lead already in hand, Wade and James decided to show the American Airlines Arena what was in store for the coming years.
LeBron hit the streaking Wade for what appeared to be an easy dunk in store, but Dwyane took it to a completely new level by getting under the basket and tossing the ball up to James, who would catch it and finish with authority.
Only five more years of this electricity, so take advantage while you can.
2. The Difficulty on This Shot Might Be a Little Higher Than It Should Be
We've seen Larry Bird do it. We've seen Kobe Bryant do it. We've seen LeBron James do it and now we see him do it once again, this time in a Miami Heat uniform with an even higher degree of difficulty.
In a tightly contested game against the New Orleans Hornets, LeBron lost control of the ball near the baseline with a few seconds remaining on the shot clock, and found himself behind the board with a 7' Aaron Gray closing in.
LeBron promptly shot the ball over the board and the outstretched hands of Grey and made the shot. The hardest two points James will ever make ignited the run that allowed the Heat to pull away and win the game.
1. The Best Touchdown Pass Miami Has Seen in over a Decade
Touchdowns don't come around too often for the city of Miami. With Chad Henne leading the way for the Dolphins (hopefully for not much longer), Miami was a team that was looking for answers on offense.
The obvious solution isn't from the draft or from the number of quarterbacks who will be free agents, but instead on the hardwood, where Dwyane Wade is making a case to be the next starting QB for the Dolphins.
His 90 foot alley-oop to LeBron James early in a game against the Indiana Pacers has arguably become one of the greatest passes in NBA history.
Wade came down with the rebound near the baselines after a Pacers miss, turned around, and heaved the ball to a streaking James.
LeBron James lining up alongside Brandon Marshall would be nice as well.