In case you have been on another planet, let me be the first to not just give you a warm welcome back to Earth, but also an abridged summary on how the 2011-’12 NBA season panned out.
LeBron James was good. Really good. In fact, he was more than good; he was unbelievable. Even unbelievable would be putting it lightly because there are few words to describe just how well James played this season. On top of averaging 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists per, while also posting up career-high’s in field-goal percentage (53 percent) and three-point percentage (36 percent), James also completely redefined his game.
Adding a post-game and making a conscious effort to score in high-percentage areas near the basket worked wonders for the Miami Heat’s success, as well as James’ legacy. The refined game eventually led to his first NBA champion, capped off with a triple-double, and his first Finals MVP award after averaging 28 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists per and doing all he could to limit the NBA’s scoring champion on the other end.
Since we have exhausted all we could possibly say about James, perhaps it’s time to showcase why he is the world’s best basketball player through captured video. Because when it comes to a player like LeBron, it’s much easier to observe and take in what he is doing, rather than attempting to write it out and giving only half the story. LeBron is a player much better seen, rather than heard.
With not much else to say about LeBron James and his wildly successful 2011-’12 campaign, we take a look at the five best moments of the season.
5. LeBron James Jumps Over a Human Being
While there are some critics who will dismiss this because LeBron is jumping over someone who is 5’11″, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that he was capable of catching a ball in mid-air and then continuing to maintain his focus while he calmly jumps over another NBA player.
This occurred early in a game against the Chicago Bulls and was widely considered the dunk of the year, until Blake Griffin destroyed Kendrick Perkins only a few hours later.
However, it’s still debatable on who had the better dunk. After all, LeBron did jump over someone and throw in an alley-oop at the same time. It’s not as easy as so many are claiming it to be. Right next to his baptism of Damon Jones, this dunk is the best example of LeBron’s strength and athleticism.
4. Game-tying jumper against the Indiana Pacers
LeBron James went on a frenzy this season when it came to proving people wrong. Before he did it in the postseason, however, he got it done in the regular season with a huge shot in the final seconds of a tightly-contested game with their eventual second-round opponent, the Indiana Pacers.
The Heat were playing from behind all game and appeared ready for a loss, if not for some bonehead plays by Dahntay Jones and some clutch makes by each member of the ‘Big Three. With only 21 seconds remaining and the Heat down by three, the ball was inbounded and Miami would use some incredible ball movement to keep the Pacers defenders chasing the ball, rather than sticking to their assignment.
The disruption in the defense eventually created a wide-open three for James who, without hesitation, netted the shot from beyond the arc to tie the game. On the other end of the floor, he would guard Darren Collison, who would ultimately lose the ball on account of the pressure from LeBron. With James sending the game into overtime, it eventually led to another comeback; one where it would be Dwyane Wade hitting the big shot.
Why does a game-tying shot carry significance? Because it was one of the toughest shots James converted in his two years with the Heat. Although it was a wide-open shot from the corner, you could still feel the pressure beating on LeBron’s shoulders like the sun at high-noon. Despite the pressure of everyone depending on him and critics waiting to frantically get to their keyboards, James hit it with ease.
3. LeBron James…Game 6
In recent NBA postseason history, there hasn’t been a game similar to what LeBron James had in Game 6 against Boston since Tim Duncan’s near quadruple-double when his San Antonio Spurs closed out the New Jersey Nets.
However, Duncan, or nobody for that matter, had as much pressure on them as LeBron James did when he walked into TD Garden and the Boston Celtics holding a 3-2 series lead. In a building where the Heat had lost 14 of their previous 15, the pressure was all on James, despite the fact that Dwyane Wade was struggling getting anything going and Chris Bosh was only in his second game back since returning from an injury that had kept him out nine of the previous ten games.
LeBron went into Cleveland mode. By Cleveland mode, I mean that he just did everything on both sides of the ball and absolutely took over. It was one of those special nights James tends to have where he’s hitting his jumper from everywhere while still making his presence near the rim and on the defensive end where he quietly held Paul Pierce to 9 points on 4-of-18 shooting.
Yes, in the middle of recording 45 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists, LeBron was also keeping Paul Pierce in check to a mere nine points in a potential closeout game.
If there was a moment that stuck out, however, it would be the three-pointer he hit with under three minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Celtics were looking to make a charge after cutting a 15-point deficit to ten, but it quickly came to an end when LeBron converted a three-pointer with the shot clock running down. Boston would never get within less than 11 from that point on, as James would lead the Heat to a blowout 98-79 victory.
2. LeBron James Hits the Biggest Shot of his Life…on one leg
In one shot, LeBron James silenced an entire nation’s worth of doubters, critics, “haters”, speculators and plain-old blowhards.
Playing on one leg after suffering a cramp, James hit a layup to give his team a two-point lead late in the fourth quarter but was then forced to the bench. With trainers frantically attempting to calm down the symptoms, James re-entered the game with a little under four minutes remaining. With the game tied at 94, it was up to LeBron to do his work as he took renowned perimeter defender Thabo Sefolosha in an isolation.
He had no chance of driving with the leg cramp, so there was only one thing he knew he could do. LeBron lulled Thabo to sleep, pulled-up and nailed the three-pointer from 25 feet out to give the Heat a 97-94 lead with three minutes remaining. It would be the last points of the night for James, as Wade, Mario Chalmers and the Heat defense would handle the rest to secure a 104-98 win and an insurmountable 3-1 series lead.
1. This face
If that face doesn’t show you how much LeBron James wanted to win a title, then I don’t know what to tell you.