Heat's NBA Finals history: LeBron James looks to lead Miami to 3rd straight championship

Mike Ehrmann

The Heat are back in the NBA Finals for the fourth year in a row. A victory would give Miami four championships in eight years.

The Miami Heat head to their fourth straight NBA Finals with a chance to secure their third straight championship. If the Heat manage to defeat the San Antonio Spurs for the second year in a row, it would be their fourth title in franchise history, with all four being won by the duo of Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade. Of course, this would also be the third ring for the franchise since LeBron James joined the team in the summer of 2010. Let's take a look at how the Heat have historically fared in the Finals.

2013 Finals: Beat San Antonio Spurs, 4-3

It's hard to forget last year's incredible conclusion to the NBA season. The Spurs were seconds away from unseating the Heat as champs, but Chris Bosh grabbed an offensive rebound, Ray Allen knocked down an unbelievably clutch three-pointer to tie the game and the Heat went on to win Game 6 in overtime. After San Antonio's devastating collapse in Game 6, the final game of the series seemed like all but a formality as James dominated, and the Heat beat the Spurs in seven games to capture back-to-back NBA championships.

2012 Finals: Beat Oklahoma City Thunder, 4-1

After a disappointing showing in 2011, the Heat returned to the Finals for what was supposed to be an epic showdown between James and Kevin Durant. Oklahoma City took down Miami in Game 1 of the series, but the Heat took advantage of some key match-ups and rattled off four straight wins against an inexperienced Thunder squad.

James averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 7.4 assists as he picked apart the OKC defense and cruised to his first championship. There were some tremendous individual performances by Russell Westbrook and Durant, but the disappearance of James Harden and Scott Brooks' inability to adjust to Miami's quicker lineups were just too much for the Thunder.

2011 Finals: Lost to Dallas Mavericks, 4-2

Miami reached the NBA Finals in the first year of the Big Three era, but the season that began with such fanfare ended in bitter disappointment. The Heat led late in the fourth quarter of Game 2 and looked poised to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. But the Mavs came storming back and stole Game 2 to tie series at one game a piece. Miami rebounded to take Game 3, but then dropped three straight as Dirk Nowitzki redeemed himself for the 2006 Finals and won his first NBA Championship.

2006 Finals: Beat Dallas Mavericks, 4-2

Dallas roared out to a 2-0 series lead, but Wade refused to lose in his first Finals appearance. Wade averaged a ridiculous 34.7 points per game in the Finals. Nobody on the Mavericks' team could stay in front of Wade as he took a total of 97 free throws over the course of the series.

After an early season coaching change, the Heat reached the Finals for the first time in franchise history in Shaquille O'Neal's second season with the team. Once they got there, Wade took care of the rest and put the team on his back to win the franchise's first NBA championship.

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