Two thousand thirteen undoubtedly stands as the best year in franchise history for the Miami Heat. From the historic 27-game winning streak to Miami's most thrilling championship, the year brought lots of great moments for Heat fans. Next year, a lot will ride on the Heat's playoff run and by extension the possible free agencies of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. But while we still have some time, why don't we reminisce?
I've composed a list of top 10 moments for the Miami Heat. Below is part one of the two-part series; check back soon for part two. For the list from 2012, click here.
10. The Miami Heat do the Harlem Shake
Depending on your perspective, the Harlem Shake was a raw, frenetic dance that originated in New York during the 1980s or a meme that swept the Internet in early 2013. The Heat players eventually joined the long list of imitators with a YouTube video that garnered more than 47 million views. The video was entertaining in its own right, with LeBron James donning a crown and cape, Mario Chalmers dressing up as Mario from the Nintendo game series and Shane Battier wearing an astronaut suit and horse head. But more importantly, the video exemplified the Heat's true sense of chemistry and camaraderie. If the video-bombs aren't evidence enough, this team likes to have fun.
9. Chris Bosh, Ray Allen make consecutive 3s to beat Indiana
The only game from the 2012-13 season to make this list came rather recently. With injuries (Derrick Rose) and malaise (both New York teams) decimating any semblance of strength in the East, only the two foes in the conference finals remain formidable. And despite any words to the contrary, this game meant a lot to the Heat. Just look at how angry LeBron James got at Mario Chalmers -- an explosion he would later apologize for.
This was a great game for several reasons. One, Dwyane Wade scored a season-high 32 points, far from the player who struggled through last season's playoffs. James has spoiled Heat fans with some of his recent dunks, but this one made Luis Scola look like a statue. And three, the Heat proved on both ends in the fourth quarter that they can still muster up a gutsy win. Even with Indiana's improvements, this game let the Pacers know that the Heat won't go down without a fight.
8. Feb. 8: Heat sign Chris Andersen for remainder of season
Who could've predicted that the Heat would've signed a key contributor to its success in mid-season essentially off the street? After falling out of Denver's rotation during the 2011-12 season, the Nuggets amnestied the Birdman. No team wanted him, but Miami signed him to consecutive 10-day contracts in January. Despite not having gone through training camp, Andersen quickly established himself as the Heat's best big outside of LeBron James and Chris Bosh. His contributions to the Heat -- a solid defender and shot-blocker, energy and hustle, ability to finish at the rim -- cannot go understated. The man made 15 consecutive field goals to open the Eastern Conference Finals. Pat Riley cycled through Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Erick Dampier, Dexter Pittman, Jamaal Magloire and Eddy Curry before finding the right center for this team. But he's the right center for this team (unless Greg Oden proves himself in 2014).
7. Heat beat Boston Celtics to extend win streak to 23
Coming into this game tied with the 2007-08 Houston Rockets for the NBA's second-longest streak, this game was quite the spectacle. The Celtics built an early 17-point lead in the second quarter. The Heat began to turn things around shortly thereafter. Need we remind anyone of LeBron James' dunk on Jason Terry? But Miami fell down by 13 with eight-and-a-half minutes to go, thanks in large part to a career night from Jeff Green. James answered, scoring 13 points in the final frame to lead Miami back, including a clutch jumper over Green with 10 seconds left. Miami moved in sole possession of the NBA's second-longest streak thanks to this night.
6. Heat eliminate Chicago Bulls in Game 5
The only close win for the Miami Heat during the conference semifinals rounds out the first part of this countdown. This game was tight throughout the fourth. Norris Cole made a nice dunk midway through the fourth to give Miami a one-point lead. After struggling mightily earlier in the series, Dwyane Wade delivered in the clutch to help Miami advance. He made a Euro-step runner and then slammed home a putback to give Miami a seven-point lead with three minutes left. As we would later find out, Wade didn't "come back" that night. But that Game 5, as well as Games 4 and 7 of the NBA Finals, proved that he still had enough in the tank to push Miami over-the-top.
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