In 2013, LeBron James shed all the remaining weight of doubt, expectations and criticism. No longer any talk about clutch, choking or having to prove anything. After winning his second NBA title with the Miami Heat while picking up his fourth MVP award, the only question remaining isn’t whether he’s got it or not, but how many will he end up with, and where will he be ranked among the greatest of all-time when it’s all over.
May 22, 2013: The Indiana Pacers put up one hell of a fight in Miami against the Heat, with Paul George putting on quite a show scoring 27 points. The game will be remembered for two things: Frank Vogel taking Roy Hibbert out of the game for the last possession, leading to the second thing. LeBron James getting the ball on the inbound pass and taking Paul George to the basket, scoring the game winning layup in overtime.
June 3, 2013: This was clutch of a different kind. The Miami Heat took game 7 with a dominant defensive display, limiting Paul George to only 2-of-9 from the field, scoring 7 points. The Pacers turned the ball over 21 times, while LeBron James scored 32 points, adding 8 rebounds and 4 assists while being almost perfect from the line, hitting 15-of-17, leading the Heat to their third consecutive NBA Finals series.
June 13, 2013: Game 4 of the NBA finals was a must win for the Miami Heat, once again having to try and even up the series. LeBron James was struggling up to that point, as the Spurs kept Duncan close to the rim to stop him and Wade from penetrating, while rotating Boris Diaw and Kawhi Leonard on James, wearing him down. That had to end at some point. The big three scored 85 points, with LeBron James leading the way scoring 33 points, and beginning a wonderful finish to the finals, at least from an individual stand point.
June 18, 2013: Game 6 of the NBA finals will forever be about Ray Allen hitting the shot that saved the season for the Miami Heat, with LeBron James missing two three pointers. However, he didn’t hide or cower from the last shots, and was good enough in overtime to see things through, putting on a dominant performance with a triple double, scoring 32 points, adding 11 rebounds and 10 assists. He didn’t hit the game winning shot, but did everything else, which sometimes is just as important.
June 20, 2013: Game 7, D-day. No last second shot, nothing as dramatic. Simply a great game from James and Wade, finally making the Spurs pay from start to finish for leaving them so much space to hit mid-range jumper, one after another. James’ biggest shot came late in the fourth, as Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard messed up the switch on James, open to hit one of the biggest shots of his life. A second championship following a 95-88 win, followed by a speech that you loved if you’re a fan of LeBron James, and hated if nothing was going to convince you he’s not the bad guy the media made him out to be.