It took Miami 18 years to reach the franchise’s first NBA Finals. Six years later, the city is watching its third Finals trip start tonight when the Heat play in Oklahoma City in Game 1. But don’t think just because it’s not a long history of playoff dominance that there aren’t some crazy moments from their Finals history that still have us in awe.
The constant theme throughout any remembrance of a Heat highlight tape from its two Finals appearances is, of course, Dwyane Wade (trust me, he’s well represented on this list). While LeBron James has become the certifiable story in these playoffs with his nearly 34 points per game average in the Conference Finals, he’s only been around for half of the Heat’s Finals trips. Here then, is the whole story of the top moments in Finals history for Miami.
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5. DWYANE WADE’S FACIAL DUNK ON ERICK DAMPIER
Not all highlights are created equal, which is to say this dunk on Erick Dampier‘s face from 2006 met nearly all criteria for it to be an incredible one. Finals? Check. Embarrass someone? Check. Have a highlight before the highlight? Check. The split of a Josh Howard-Keith Van Horn double team was nasty enough, but he had his eyes on another target. Nothing personal, Erick. You were just in the way.
4. ALONZO MOURNING’S CLINCHING 2006 BLOCK PARTY.
This was ‘Zo’s last stand after kidney trouble, but he could still jump, too. Just ask any of the shooters from Dallas whose five shots were blocked in the closeout game of the 2006 title. Shaq led all players with 34 blocks in that season’s playoffs, and even Wade’s 26 were more than Mourning could muster. Who else, however, but the pillar of the Heat franchise, would deliver such an enormous performance when it mattered? He only played 14 minutes in Game 6, but had eight points and six boards in addition to his game-changing swats.
We’ll get to the rest of Game 6 later in this countdown, but Zo’s is the one performance fans probably forgot about that series. Anywhere but Dallas, that is.