Big Three (Miami Heat)
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The Big Three were a trio of professional basketball players for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from the 2010–11 NBA season to the 2013–14 NBA season. The "Big Three" consisted of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. All three of those players were selected within the first five picks of the 2003 NBA draft. James was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 and announced his free agent move to the Miami Heat on his TV special called The Decision. Wade was selected fifth by the Miami Heat. Bosh was selected by the Toronto Raptors and then signed a free agency contract to play for the Heat. Each of the players from the Miami Heat's "Big Three" was the franchise scoring leader for the franchise that drafted them. They led the Heat to the NBA Finals in each of their four seasons playing together. Both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh continued to play for the Heat for two more seasons after LeBron James left to return to Cleveland before Wade would sign with the Chicago Bulls and Bosh would consider medical retirement due to continuous blood clots before the start of the 2016–17 NBA season.
LeBron James was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft. James was named the 2004 NBA Rookie of the Year. At the 2006 NBA All-Star Game James scored 29 points and grabbed six rebounds to become the youngest player to be named NBA All Star Game MVP. James was the runner-up for the 2006 NBA MVP Award behind Steve Nash who won the award. However, that season, James led the Cavaliers to the playoffs for the 1st time since 1998. In the 1st round of the NBA Playoffs, James had a strong performance including a triple-double in Game 1 with 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists and making the game winning shots in Game 3 and Game 5 as he led the Cavaliers past the Washington Wizards in a six-game series. James was successful in the conference semifinals vs. the Detroit Pistons recording 22 points in Game 1, a double-double in Game 2 with 30 points and 14 rebounds, a triple-double in Game 3 with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, 22 points in Game 4, 32 points in Game 5, a double-double in Game 6 with 32 points and 11 rebounds, and 27 points in Game 7. However, Cleveland lost to the Pistons in seven games.
After the 2006 playoffs, James signed a 3-year $60,000,000 contract with the player option for the 4th year. James had another successful year for the Cavaliers in the 2006–07 season as he led the Cavaliers to 50 wins for the 2nd straight season and clinched a postseason berth for the Cavs as the Eastern Conference's #2 seed. In the 1st round of the playoffs, James was too much for the Wizards as he led the Cavaliers to their 1st postseason sweep in franchise history. James lead the Cavaliers past the Nets for their 1st appearance in the Conference Finals since 1992. In Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals, James exploded with a career playoff-high 48 points (a single game franchise record) scoring 29 of the teams finals 30 points including the teams final 25 points and scoring all 18 of the team's points in the two overtime periods for a 109-107 double overtime win over the Detroit Pistons. The Cavaliers went on and won Game 6 to advance to the NBA Finals for the 1st time in franchise history. In Game 1 of the 2007 NBA Finals, James was held to 14 points and lost to the San Antonio Spurs. In Game 2, the Cavaliers were down by 29 and James led the Cavaliers to a 25-6 run by scoring 25 points in Game 2, although the finals result was a loss to the Spurs. James was the top scorer in Game 3 of the 2007 NBA Finals with 25 points but he missed the game-tying 29 foot 3-pointer which would have sent the game to overtime, so the Cavaliers lost Game 3 75-72. James led the Cavaliers to a rally from down 11 in the 3rd Quarter as the Cavaliers scored 14 consecutive points to take the lead and James scored 24 points that game but the Spurs ultimately beat the Cavaliers 83-82.
In the 2008 NBA All-Star Game, James scored 27 points, earning him the NBA All-Star Game MVP award for the 2nd time in his career. On March 21, 2008, James scored 29 points, setting the Cleveland Cavaliers career scoring record surpassing Brad Daugherty's 10,389 points. His seven triple-doubles during that season set the Cavaliers' single-season triple-double record. James' 2,250 points in the 2007–08 season won him the 2008 NBA Scoring Title. James led the Cavaliers to a #4 seed in the 2008 NBA Playoffs and to their 3rd consecutive 1st round victory over the Washington Wizards in six games. In the 1st two games of the Conference Semifinals, James was held to 8-for-42 shooting in two losses at the TD Garden to the Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers bounced back with a game 3 blowout over the Celtics and in Game 4, James's dunk over Kevin Garnett fueled a win over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 to tie the series at 2-2. James's shooting improved for Game 5 at TD Garden but the Cavaliers still lost to the Celtics 96-89. In Game 6, although both teams shot under 40%, James scored 32 points, grab 12 rebounds, and had six assists to beat the Celtics 74-69, forcing a Game 7. In Game 7, James and Paul Pierce had a shooting duel with James winning the duel by scoring 45 points over Paul Pierce's 41 points. However, the Celtics eliminated the Cavaliers from the playoffs with a 97-92 Game 7 victory.
James finished second in voting for the 2009 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award to winner Dwight Howard and for the 1st time in his career, he was on the NBA All-Defensive Team. James and Mo Williams led the Cavaliers to a 66-16 record and a #1 seed in the Eastern Conference in the 2009 NBA Playoffs. James was named NBA MVP for the 1st time in his career being the 1st player in Cavalier history to do so. James started well in the 1st round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs with 38 points in Game 1 and an 102-84 victory over the Detroit Pistons. In Game 2, James had a double-double with 29 points and 13 rebounds in a 94-82 win over the Pistons. James led the Cavaliers in the two games at The Palace of Auburn Hills with two double-doubles with 25 points and 11 rebounds in Game 3 and 36 points and 13 rebounds in Game 4; he also led in assists both games with 9 in Game 3 and 8 in Game 4. The Cavaliers won both games to sweep the Pistons and advance to the conference semifinals. James continued to dominate in the conference semifinals with 34 points in Game 1 (and 10 rebounds to make a double-double), 27 point on Game 2, 47 points in Game 3 (with 12 rebounds to make a double-double and 8 assists), and 27 points in Game 4 (also leading his team in assists with 8) as the Cavaliers beat the Atlanta Hawks in a four-game sweep to advance to the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals. James and Howard, the two front-runners for the 2009 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, were in a shooting duel during these games. James dominated Game 1 with 49 points while Dwight Howard had 30. James had the potential game-winning three-point play but Rashard Lewis made a game-winning three-pointer to win Game 1. In Game 2, James scored 35 points and made the buzzer-beater to win the game and even the series 1–1. In Game 3, James's 41 points were not enough as Dwight Howard had 24 to win 99–89. James scored 44 points in Game 4 including the two free throws to send the game to overtime but Howard's 27 points propelled the Magic to a Game 4 victory in overtime. James followed in Game 5 with a triple-double – 37 points, 14 rebounds, and 12 assists – to win 112-102 to force a Game 6. James had a 25-point performance in Game 6 but it was not enough to outlast Dwight Howard's 40 points; the Cavaliers lost 103-90 and were eliminated from the playoffs.
James won the NBA MVP award in 2010 for the second consecutive year and led Cleveland to the best record in the NBA for the second consecutive year. In the playoffs, James scored 24 points in Game 1, 40 points in Game 2, and 39 points in Game 3, and had a triple-double in Game 4 with 37 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists, allowing the Cavaliers to beat the Chicago Bulls in five games. James's performance carried over to the Conference Semifinals against the Celtics with 35 points in Game 1, 24 points in Game 2, 38 points in Game 3, 22 points in Game 4, and 27 points in Game 6 but that was not enough to get past the Celtics as the Cavaliers suffered a six-game loss to the Celtics and were eliminated from the playoffs.
Dwyane Wade in the Elite Eight of the 2003 NCAA Tournament recorded a triple-double with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists in an 83–69 victory over 1st-seeded Kentucky to win the Midwest Regional and advance to the 2003 Final Four as Wade was named Midwest Regional MVP.
Wade was selected by the Miami Heat, who had the 5th overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft. After a rough start, Wade led the Heat to the playoffs. In Game 1 of the first round of the 2004 NBA Playoffs, Wade made the game-winning basket to beat the New Orleans Hornets 81-79 and the Heat beat the Hornets in seven games to advance to the Conference Semifinals. There, the Miami Heat were beaten by the Indiana Pacers in six games. Following his success, Wade was unanimously selected to the 2004 NBA All-Rookie Team and he finished 3rd in voting for the 2004 NBA Rookie of the Year award behind Carmelo Anthony and winner LeBron James.
Wade was helped in his second year by Shaquille O'Neal, who was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Heat; the Heat did much better, earning a spot in the 2005 NBA Playoffs. Wade in the first round of the 2005 NBA Playoffs had a 32-point performance in Game 1 and a 34-point performance in Game 4 and the Heat swept the New Jersey Nets. Wade's dominance carried over to the Conference Semifinals as he had 20 points in Game 1, 31 points in Game 2, 31 points in Game 3, and 42 points in Game 4 and the Miami Heat swept the Washington Wizards to advance to the 2005 Eastern Conference Finals. Wade shone in the early games of the 2005 Eastern Conference Finals, with 40 points in Game 2, 36 points in Game 3, and 28 points in Game 4 but he missed Game 6 due to a rib injury which also limited him in Game 7, leading to the Heat losing to the Detroit Pistons in seven games.
Wade became a star by the 2005–06 NBA season and in the 2006 NBA All-Star Game, he made the game-winning basket with 16 seconds left to lead the Eastern Conference to a 122-120 victory. Wade got the Miami Heat into the playoffs for the 3rd consecutive year. He had a solid start in the 2006 NBA Playoffs highlighted by a 30-point performance in Game 1, a 26-point performance in Game 3, and a 28 performance in Game 5 as the Heat beat the Chicago Bulls in six games. Wade's solid performance continued through the Conference Semifinals with 25 points in Game 1, 31 points in Game 2, 30 points in Game 3, and 31 points in Game 4 and the Heat beat the Nets in five games. Even playing through injuries, Dwyane Wade still remained solid for the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals as he had 25 points in Game 1, 32 points in Game 2, 35 points in Game 3, 31 points in Game 4, and 23 points in Game 5 as the Heat beat the Pistons in six games to advance to the 2006 NBA Finals. Wade had a hot performance in the 2006 NBA Finals with 28 points in Game 1, 23 points in Game 2, a double-double in Game 3 with 42 points and 13 rebounds, 36 points in Game 4, 43 points in Game 5, and 36 points in Game 6 as the Heat beat the Dallas Mavericks in six games and Wade won the 2006 Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award, becoming the 5th youngest player to win the award.
In the 2006–07 season, Wade missed 31 games due to injury but he still went to the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, he still received All-NBA honors and the Miami Heat still got into the playoffs. In the playoffs, the Heat were swept by the Bulls.
The following season, Wade's leg got better and his season was better too as he won the 2009 NBA scoring title with 2,386 points during the season. In addition, the Heat made the playoffs as a result of his performance. Wade's performance carried over to the post-season with 19 points in Game 1, 33 points in Game 2, 29 points in Game 3, 22 points in Game 4, 29 points in Game 5, 41 points in Game 6, and 31 points in Game 7, but that was not enough to beat the Atlanta Hawks as the Heat suffered a seven-game loss to the Hawks.
In the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, Wade had a double-double with 28 points and 11 assists and in addition, he had 6 rebounds and 5 steals and as a result was named the 2010 NBA All-Star Game MVP. Wade got the Miami Heat back in the playoffs. Wade had a successful performance in the 2010 NBA Playoffs with 26 points in Game 1, 29 points in Game 2, 34 points in Game 3, 46 points in Game 4, and 31 points in Game 5 but that was not be enough as the Heat lost to the Boston Celtics in five games and face early elimination for the 2nd consecutive year.
Chris Bosh played for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during his one-season college career. Bosh was selected by the Toronto Raptors who had the 4th overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft and was on the 2004 NBA All-Rookie Team.
In his second season, Bosh became the star player for the Raptors and was named NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the week of January 3–9, 2005. As the season drew to a close, Bosh had the potential to be a future all-star.
Before the 2005–06 season Bosh was named the captain for the Raptors. Three days after Bosh was named NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week, he was selected to play for the Eastern Conference in the 2006 NBA All-Star Game. After he had a season-ending injury, the Raptors had a 1–10 skid.
Bosh was selected to the 2007 NBA All-Star Game as a starter. Later that season, he received popularity from Raptors fans at the Air Canada Centre when they chanted "MVP". Bosh led the Toronto Raptors to the playoffs for the 1st time in five years. He was not so successful in the playoffs as the Raptors lost to the New Jersey Nets in six games.
Bosh had a slow start to the season but improved as the season went on and was eventually named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the 2nd week in January. Bosh was selected to play in the 2008 NBA All-Star Game. Bosh managed to get the Raptors in the playoffs. Bosh had two double-doubles in the 1st round of the playoffs with 29 points and 10 rebounds in Game 2, and 39 points and 15 rebounds in Game 4, but the Raptors were still eliminated in the 1st round for the 2nd straight year losing to the Orlando Magic in a five-game series.
Bosh was selected to the 2009 NBA All-Star Game as a reserve but an injury prevented him from playing in that game. Bosh failed to get the Raptors back into the playoffs.
On January 3, 2010, Bosh had a 22-point performance to pass Vince Carter for the Toronto Raptors scoring record. Bosh was invited to the 2010 NBA All-Star Game as a reserve. As a result of injuries to Bosh and Hedo Türkoğlu, the Raptors went straight from the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference to fighting for the 8th seed with the Chicago Bulls. On March 22, Bosh had his 44th double-double to set the Raptors record for career double-doubles. On April 5, 2010, Bosh was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the 7th time in his career tying the Raptors record for player of the week awards. However, Bosh had an injury which prevented him from playing in the April 11 game vs. the Chicago Bulls and as a result, the Raptors were blown out by the Bulls and lost the battle for the final playoff spot.
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