2012 NBA Finals
2012 NBA Finals logo.jpg
Team Coach Wins
Miami Heat Erik Spoelstra 4
Oklahoma City Thunder Scott Brooks 1
Dates: June 12–21
MVP: LeBron James
(Miami Heat)
Eastern Finals Heat defeated Celtics, 4–3
Western Finals Thunder defeated Spurs, 4–2

The 2012 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 2011–12 season of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the conclusion of the season's playoffs. The Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat defeated the Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder, 4–1, to win their second NBA title. Miami's LeBron James was named the Finals MVP.

This marked the first time that the Oklahoma City Thunder appeared in the NBA Finals since the franchise's relocation from Seattle, Washington in 2008, and their first Finals appearance overall since 1996 as the Seattle SuperSonics. It also marked the Miami Heat's third appearance in the NBA Finals. The Heat previously appeared in 2006 and 2011, both times against the Dallas Mavericks.

The series began on June 12, five days later than its originally planned June 7 start. This delay was due to the lockout that pushed the start of the season to late December and shortened the regular season to 66 games.[1] The series then ended on June 21. Under the 2–3–2 rotation, the Thunder had home-court advantage, since they had a better regular season record than the Heat, and thus hosted the first two games. The Heat also became the first team since the 2008–09 Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA title after losing the previous year, and the first Eastern Conference team to do so since the 1988–89 Detroit Pistons.

2012 NBA Playoffs

Oklahoma City Thunder (Western Conference Champion) Miami Heat (Eastern Conference Champion)
47–19 (.712)

1st Northwest, 2nd West, 3rd Overall

Regular season 46–20 (.697)

1st Southeast, 2nd East, 4th Overall

Defeated the (7) Dallas Mavericks, 4–0 First Round Defeated the (7) New York Knicks, 4–1
Defeated the (3) Los Angeles Lakers, 4–1 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (3) Indiana Pacers, 4–2
Defeated the (1) San Antonio Spurs, 4–2 Conference Finals Defeated the (4) Boston Celtics, 4–3

Series summary

Game Date Home Team Result Away Team
Game 1 June 12 Oklahoma City 105–94 Miami
Game 2 June 14 Oklahoma City 96–100 Miami
Game 3 June 17 Miami 91–85 Oklahoma City
Game 4 June 19 Miami 104–98 Oklahoma City
Game 5 June 21 Miami 121–106 Oklahoma City


Miami Heat

This was the second consecutive appearance for the Heat, after losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. This was also their second Finals appearance in the "Big Three" era.[2] Their other Finals appearance was in 2006, when they defeated the Mavericks to win their first NBA title.[3]

In the regular season, the Heat finished with 46 victories, then defeated the New York Knicks (4–1), Indiana Pacers (4–2) and Boston Celtics (4–3) on their way to the Finals. Along the way, they managed to overcome series deficits that nearly sent them home but they had strings of victories to let them survive. The first was against the Pacers in the Conference Semifinals when they trailed in the series, 1–2. The Heat responded by taking three straight victories to defeat the Pacers. The second was against the Celtics in the Conference Finals when they trailed, 2–3, in the series. They responded by winning a decisive game 6 in Boston, taking the last two games of the series to advance to the Finals.[4]

The Heat retained much of the same cast from last year, save for rookies Terrel Harris and Norris Cole,[5] Eddy Curry,[6][7] and Ronny Turiaf, who was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers team that lost in the Finals to the Boston Celtics in 2008.[8]

Oklahoma City Thunder

This was the Thunder's first NBA Finals appearance since they relocated in 2008 from Seattle. Including their seasons as the Seattle SuperSonics, this was also the club's fourth Finals appearance, and first since 1996, when they lost to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. The team was seeking their first NBA championship since 1979.[9]

The Thunder finished with 47 wins, second in the Western Conference. During the playoffs, they defeated the defending champion Dallas Mavericks (4–0), the Los Angeles Lakers (4–1), and the #1 West Seed San Antonio Spurs (4–2).[9]

The Thunder came into the Finals as the second-youngest finalists in NBA history.[10] With the exception of Derek Fisher (with the Los Angeles Lakers), Nazr Mohammed (with the San Antonio Spurs) and Kendrick Perkins (with the Boston Celtics), all players from the Thunder were playing in their first NBA Finals.

Road to the Finals

Oklahoma City Thunder (Western Conference Champion) Miami Heat (Eastern Conference Champion)

2nd seed in the West, 3rd best league record

Regular season

2nd seed in the East, 4th best league record

Defeated the (7) Dallas Mavericks, 4–0 First round Defeated the (7) New York Knicks, 4–1
Defeated the (3) Los Angeles Lakers, 4–1 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (3) Indiana Pacers, 4–2
Defeated the (1) San Antonio Spurs, 4–2 Conference Finals Defeated the (4) Boston Celtics, 4–3

Regular season series

The season series was tied, 1–1, with both teams winning at their home floor.

March 25, 2012 Template:NBA Recap Miami Heat 87, Oklahoma City Thunder 103    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
April 4, 2012 Template:NBA Recap Oklahoma City Thunder 93, Miami Heat 98    American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida

The series

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (UTC−4)[11]

Game 1

Game 1 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Heat 29 25 19 21 94
Thunder 22 25 27 31 105
June 12
9:00 pm
Recap Miami Heat 94, Oklahoma City Thunder 105    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Attendance: 18,203
Scoring by quarter: 29–22, 25–25, 19–27, 21–31
Pts: LeBron James 30
Rebs: Udonis Haslem 11
Asts: Dwyane Wade 8
Pts: Kevin Durant 36
Rebs: Nick Collison 10
Asts: Russell Westbrook 11
Thunder lead series, 1–0

The Thunder defeated the Heat, 105–94, in Game 1. Miami held the lead for most of the first three quarters, including a 13-point lead at one point during the second quarter. The Heat made five three-pointers to jump to a 29–22 lead by the end of the first quarter, but Oklahoma City kept on pace with Miami to keep the score at 54–47 by halftime. The Thunder then took the lead for good with 16 seconds left in third quarter after Russell Westbrook made a free throw to make it 74–73. Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 36 points, while Westbrook had 27. LeBron James led the Heat with 30 points, but was held to one basket during the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter.[12]

Game 1 of this series marked the first time since 2008 the NBA Finals started after the conclusion of the NHL's Stanley Cup Finals. The 2012 Stanley Cup Finals ended the day before.

Game 2

Game 2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Heat 27 28 23 22 100
Thunder 15 28 24 29 96
June 14
9:00 pm
Recap Miami Heat 100, Oklahoma City Thunder 96    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Attendance: 18,203
  • No. 43 Dan Crawford
  • No. 25 Tony Brothers
  • No. 49 Tom Washington
Scoring by quarter: 27–15, 28–28, 23–24, 22–29
Pts: LeBron James 32
Rebs: Chris Bosh 15
Asts: James, Wade 5 each
Pts: Kevin Durant 32
Rebs: Perkins, Westbrook 8 each
Asts: Russell Westbrook 7
Series tied 1–1

The Heat defeated the Thunder 100-96 in Game 2, tying the series at one game a piece and giving the Thunder their first home playoff loss of the season. Miami never trailed, building a 27–15 first quarter lead, and holding a 17-point advantage at one point. The Thunder attempted a comeback in fourth quarter, and with 37 seconds left in the game, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant made a three-pointer to cut the deficit, 98–96. After the Heat failed to score on their next possession, Kevin Durant missed a jump shot along the baseline that would have tied the game. LeBron James led the Heat with 32 points. [13]

Game 3

Game 3 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Thunder 20 26 21 18 85
Heat 26 21 22 22 91
June 17
8:00 pm
Recap Oklahoma City Thunder 85, Miami Heat 91    American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
Attendance: 20,003
Scoring by quarter: 20–26, 26–21, 21–22, 18–22
Pts: Kevin Durant 25
Rebs: Kendrick Perkins 12
Asts: James Harden 6
Pts: LeBron James 29
Rebs: LeBron James 14
Asts: Dwyane Wade 7
Miami led series, 2–1

Miami won Game 3, 91-85, to go up two games to one in the series. Miami had a slim 47–46 halftime lead before Oklahoma City began the third quarter with a 10–4 run, eventually building a 10-point lead midway through the period. However, Miami scored the last seven points in the third quarter to regain the lead at 69–67. With 7:36 remaining in the game, the Thunder came back to retake the lead at 77–76, but the Heat then scored eight unanswered points to build an 84–77 advantage with 3:47 left. A 6–0 run by Oklahoma City pulled them within one point of Miami with 90 seconds left, but the Thunder could not score again for the rest of the game while the Heat made five insurance free throws.[14]

Game 4

Game 4 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Thunder 33 16 26 23 98
Heat 19 27 33 25 104
June 19
9:00 pm
Recap Oklahoma City Thunder 98, Miami Heat 104    American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
Attendance: 20,003
Scoring by quarter: 33–19, 16–27, 26–33, 23–25
Pts: Russell Westbrook 43
Rebs: James Harden 10
Asts: Russell Westbrook 5
Pts: LeBron James 26
Rebs: Bosh, James 9 each
Asts: LeBron James 12
Miami led the series 3–1

Miami won Game 4, 104–98, to go up three games to one in the series. The Thunder jumped to a 33–19 lead by the end the first quarter, but the Heat rallied to cut the score to 49–46 at halftime, thanks to two huge three-pointers by Heat rookie Norris Cole. The two teams remained neck-and-neck throughout most of the third quarter, with Miami holding a 4-point lead at the start of fourth period. However, for the final 16 minutes of the game, Russell Westbrook (who led the Thunder with 43 points) and Kevin Durant (who had 28 points) were the only two Oklahoma City players able to score. With the other Thunder players struggling to make their shots, Miami was able to pull away in the end, largely thanks to late-game heroics from LeBron James, Mario Chalmers and Dwyane Wade. LeBron James led the Heat with 26 points, including the go ahead three pointer, but had to sit out during the final two minutes of the game due to leg cramps.[15]

Game 5

Game 5 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Thunder 26 23 22 35 106
Heat 31 28 36 26 121
June 21
9:00 pm
Recap Oklahoma City Thunder 106, Miami Heat 121    American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
Attendance: 20,003
Scoring by quarter: 26–31, 23–28, 22–36, 35–26
Pts: Kevin Durant 32
Rebs: Kevin Durant 11
Asts: Russell Westbrook 6
Pts: LeBron James 26
Rebs: LeBron James 11
Asts: LeBron James 13
Miami wins NBA Finals, 4–1

Miami won Game 5, 121–106, to win the series, four games to one.[16] After keeping it a close game in the first half, the Thunder were outscored by 14 in the third quarter, with Miami leading as much as 27 at one point. Miami was fueled by strong performances by LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, as well as by Mike Miller, who was 7 for 8 for three-pointers, ending the night with 23 points. The team tied an NBA Finals record for most 3-pointers in a game with 14.[16] With three minutes remaining in the game, both teams took their starters out of the game, with the Heat still leading by more than 20 points. With their Game 5 win, the Heat won their second NBA championship in team history, and the first for several Heat players, including James, who was named the NBA Finals MVP after averaging 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists in the finals, capping it all off with his first triple double of the season in the final game.[16] For the Thunder, Kevin Durant had 32 points, and 11 rebounds; Russell Westbrook had 19 points and 6 assists; and James Harden led the bench with 19 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds.[16]

The Heat became just the third home team to sweep the middle three games of a Finals series since the NBA switched to the 2–3–2 format in 1985, the other two being their 2006 team and the 2004 Detroit Pistons. They also joined the 2004 Pistons and 1995 Houston Rockets as the only lower seeded team to win the Finals in 5 games or less. In addition, they became the first team to win the NBA Finals after trailing in three different series in the postseason, 1–2 against Indiana, 2–3 against Boston, and 0–1 against Oklahoma City. Dwayne Wade and Udonis Haslem are the only Heat players to win both 2006 and 2012 NBA championships for the Miami Heat.

Statistical leaders

Category High Average
Player Team Total Player Team Avg. Games
Points Russell Westbrook Oklahoma City Thunder 43 Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder 30.6 5
Rebounds Chris Bosh Miami Heat 15 LeBron James Miami Heat 10.2 5
Assists LeBron James Miami Heat 13 LeBron James Miami Heat 7.4 5
Steals LeBron James Miami Heat 4 Mario Chalmers Miami Heat 1.8 5
Blocks Serge Ibaka Oklahoma City Thunder 5 Serge Ibaka Oklahoma City Thunder 2.0 5


  1. "2012 National Basketball Association Important Dates". NBA. http://www.nba.com/news/key-dates/index.html. Retrieved May 27, 2012. 
  2. Whitley, David (June 10, 2012). "Miami Heat's second-straight NBA Finals appearance not enough to remove doubt around LeBron James". Sporting News. http://aol.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2012-06-10/miami-heat-nba-finals-lebron-james-dwyane-wade-okc-thunder-celtics. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  3. "Pat Riley: The Miami Years". ESPN. June 21, 2012. http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2012/story/_/id/8072533/pat-riley-miami-heat-years. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  4. Hawkins, Mark (June 11, 2012). "Miami Heat’s Road to the 2012 NBA Finals: Fan's Take". Yahoo! Sports. http://sports.yahoo.com/news/miami-heat-road-2012-nba-finals-fans-061300646--nba.html. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  5. Haberstroh, Tom (April 9, 2012). "The rise and fall of rookie Norris Cole". ESPN. http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/miamiheat/post/_/id/13310/the-rise-and-fall-of-rookie-norris-cole. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  6. Wallace, Michael (December 10, 2011). "Eddy Curry signs with Miami Heat". ESPN. http://espn.go.com/nba/truehoop/miamiheat/story/_/id/7339013/slimmed-eddy-curry-signs-hopes-career-revival-miami-heat. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  7. Brian, Windhorst (December 8, 2011). "Shane Battier to sign with Heat". ESPN. http://espn.go.com/nba/truehoop/miamiheat/story/_/id/7330117/memphis-grizzlies-shane-battier-plans-sign-miami-heat. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  8. Associated Press (March 21, 2012). "Ronny Turiaf signs with Heat". ESPN. http://espn.go.com/nba/truehoop/miamiheat/story/_/id/7718396/miami-heat-bolster-depth-sign-veteran-big-man-ronny-turiaf. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Hawkins, Mark (June 10, 2012). "Oklahoma City Thunder’s Road to the 2012 NBA Finals: Fan's Take". Yahoo! Sports. http://sports.yahoo.com/news/oklahoma-city-thunder-road-2012-nba-finals-fans-153800334--nba.html. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  10. Sherman, Mike (June 18, 2012). "NBA Finals: Thunder has overcome much, but it must now overcome doubt". The Oklahoman. http://newsok.com/article/3685491. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  11. "Bizball: NBA Releases Finals Schedule". Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/maurybrown/2012/06/02/bizball-nba-releases-2012-nba-finals-schedule/. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  12. "Kevin Durant, Thunder pull away from Heat, win Game 1". ESPN. June 12, 2012. http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=320612025. Retrieved June 12, 2012. 
  13. "LeBron James, Heat hold off Thunder, knot NBA Finals at 1–1". ESPN. June 14, 2012. http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=320614025. Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
  14. "LeBron James leads way with 29 points, 14 boards as Heat go up 2–1". ESPN. June 17, 2012. http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=320617014. Retrieved June 17, 2012. 
  15. "Heat overcome Russell Westbrook's 43 points, take 3–1 Finals lead". ESPN. June 19, 2012. http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=320619014. Retrieved June 19, 2012. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 ESPN. "LeBron James, Heat dominate Thunder to win NBA championship". http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=320621014. Retrieved June 22, 2012. 

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