MIAMI, FL - MAY 11: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat makes a late 4th quarter dunk during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Arena on May 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

NBA Playoffs 2011 Memes: LeBron James Overcomes Celtics, Celebrates Wildly

In Wednesday's Celtics-Heat edition: LeBron James silenced his crunch-time doubters and celebrates wildly, the Celtics' run (maybe) ends, Dwyane Wade swats away his own regular-season struggles against the Celtics and more.

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Celtics Vs. Heat: LeBron James Shatters Anti-Clutch Meme

All season, the argument went that the Miami Heat couldn't get it done in crunch time. For much of the year, LeBron James was the one taking most of the shots then, and he wasn't converting. This kick-started a vocal group that suggested that while LeBron could do his thing in quarters 1-3, Dwyane Wade, and not LeBron, should be taking the last shot. I guess all of those people need to rethink their position after LeBron sunk the Boston Celtics for good with a scintillating 10-point stretch, during which he hit two threes to give Miami a six-point lead, then stole a pass and went in for a dunk to put the game away.


Full coverage of Celtics Vs. Heat Game 5

To make things even more interesting, LeBron's exploits came after Dwyane Wade dominated the game for Miami. If the argument above truly had much merit, then LeBron's decision to take the big shots would have backfired. But it didn't, and all those who thought that LeBron couldn't come up big in a big spot need to reevaluate their position.

The tricky thing about LeBron in crunch time is that, according to the numbers, he's fantastic. Few players shot a higher percentage in clutch situations (within five points with five minutes left) over the last few years than LeBron. Now, yes, I get that clutch is impossible to define and that it merely refers to anytime someone buries a "big shot." But even by that arbitrary scale, LeBron's Game 5 performance certainly should remove all doubt that he can hit big shots in big spots.

LeBron and the Heat may fall short somewhere further along in their NBA Playoffs journey, and these questions might come back again. It still doesn't take away what happened on Wednesday night. I'll let Dan Devine of Yahoo! Sports have the last word because he said it better than I could.

But if you can't acknowledge that he just won a pretty darned big one, with the eyes of the world and the weight of history all over him, you're either a Celtics partisan still crying in his beer, an inveterate contrarian unwilling to give credit where it's due, a dope that doesn't know what "big one" really means, or someone that didn't watch the end of Game 5.     

For all five of Wednesday's 2011 NBA Playoff memes, click here.

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Celtics Vs. Heat: LeBron James Celebrates Like He Won NBA Title, And That's Fine

If you watched the end of Game 5 between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat, you noticed LeBron James celebrating like a madman once his crunch-time scoring binge ended. He even was caught crying because he had finally conquered the rival that gave him so much heartbreak over the years. Since athletes showing emotion before winning the title is one of the Seven Deadly Sins of to bitter sportswriters, a lot of people were mad.


Full coverage of Celtics Vs. Heat Game 5

It was predictable, but it doesn't make things less silly. Why shouldn't LeBron be excited that he finally beat the Boston Celtics? None of us will ever understand what it must feel like for a superstar athlete to be thwarted at every opportunity by the same team. We can't possibly understand the psychology of LeBron in that very moment. So why do we pass judgment so freely?

I liken Wednesday night to LeBron finally graduating college. He may have struggled a lot, and he may have transferred to an easier school, but it's still him getting his degree. College kids celebrate graduation with a week-long party, a huge ceremony, a shiny diploma and lots of support from some of the most distant family members they'll ever know. If we celebrate graduating college like that, why can't LeBron celebrate beating the Celtics? Sure, he has more work to do to win a title, but by the same token, human beings aren't automatically successful just because they graduate college. That doesn't mean they can't pause and be proud of passing a significant benchmark towards success in life.

How would you like it if someone told you that you celebrated your college graduation too much because you still didn't have a job? Think about that before passing judgment on LeBron.

For all five of Wednesday's 2011 NBA Playoff memes, click here.

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Celtics Vs. Heat: A Tribute To Everything Boston Accomplished

For the third straight year, the Boston Celtics will depart from the NBA Playoffs before winning the title. As soon as the Celtics' Game 5 loss to the Heat ended, it was natural to wonder whether this was indeed the end of their run for good. Then, Doc River proclaimed his desire to return as head coach in his post-game press conference (though we forget he clarified to say that was his thought right now), and we realized they may not be done yet.


Full coverage of Celtics Vs. Heat Game 5

Still, this probably represents the end of one of Boston's best final shots to win a title. Everyone is a year older next season, and key decisions need to be made on the futures of role players like Glen Davis, Delonte West and Jeff Green. If this is indeed it, the Celtics truly departed like champions, pushing a significantly more talented team to the brink despite numerous injuries.

Now, the second-guessing may begin. Does Boston win this series if Rajon Rondo doesn't hurt his elbow in Game 3? Rondo was completely ineffective in this game, and word within the organization is that he'd be out 6-8 weeks under normal circumstances. More importantly, does Boston win this series with a healthy Kendrick Perkins? It's impossible to define the intangible element his departure had on the psyche of the team, but it's hard for me to think that a banged-up Perkins would make a difference against a Miami team that would respond by going small to neutralize his impact. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't.

Regardless, those are questions for another day. For this day, let's appreciate the Celtics going out while putting up a great fight, unlike the other NBA Finals team from last season.

For all five of Wednesday's 2011 NBA Playoff memes, click here.

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Celtics Vs. Heat: Dwyane Wade Overcomes Regular-Season Struggles Vs. Boston

During the regular season, Dwyane Wade had a ton of problems when the Miami Heat played the Boston Celtics. For Miami to win, Wade absolutely needed to turn those struggles around in a big way. In the end, he did just that, punctuating a dominating series with a spectacular effort in Game 5.


Full coverage of Celtics Vs. Heat Game 5

For the series, Wade averaged 30 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game, with a true shooting percentage of 61.6 percent. He dominated Game 1, and for three quarters, he dominated Game 5. Ultimately, he ended with 34 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals. LeBron James may have won the game at the end, but the only way Miami even has a chance was if Wade submitted the kind of performance he submitted.

It's a testament to Wade's greatness that he was so good on both ends of the floor. Chasing around Ray Allen defensively can be an incredibly difficult thing to do. Carrying an offense despite doing all that is even more difficult. Wade found a way and his Heat won the series. Just remember this when you claim Kobe Bryant is better.

For all five of Wednesday's 2011 NBA Playoff memes, click here.

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Celtics Vs. Heat: Delonte West Experiences Mini-Revival In Defeat

I'm saving the last meme of the day for someone that has always been one of my favorites. It hasn't been a very good last two years for Delonte West, a former starter on a 60-win team that seemingly had his career derailed by his own mental health issues and trouble with the law. The Celtics were nice enough to take a chance on him this season, but West didn't get it going because he suffered an injury earlier in the season.


Full coverage of Celtics Vs. Heat Game 5

Recently, though, West really came on, and his play in Game 5 allowed Boston to stay close. With Rajon Rondo sidelined due to injury, West got the call and played like the guy who emerged as LeBron James' most reliable teammate in Cleveland. He hit big shots and made a couple beautiful moves to get to the basket, stabilizing a Boston second unit that has been horrible at times this season. It wasn't enough in the end, but it was a nice mini-redemption for someone who has fought so many issues.

I also really liked it when he and LeBron hugged after the game. Everyone by now knows the nasty rumors that spread involving the two men in the wake of James' departure to Miami. That hug probably dispels them about as well as anything could. Here's hoping West's revival is complete and some team gives him a nice contract in the offseason.

For all five of Wednesday's 2011 NBA Playoff memes, click here.

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