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The shot itself was relatively simple: Mario Chalmers sets a screen at the top of the key, LeBron James comes across, fights past Tony Parker and pulls up over an out-stretched Kawhi Leonard for a long two-pointer.
In hindsight, Dwyane Wade called it the most clutch moment in James’ career to date.
That’s because it occurred with time expiring in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals as the Miami Heat clinched their second straight title.
Wade made the comments on Wednesday during an Instagram Live session noting it stuck out, not only because it helped give the Heat a four-point lead with less than 30 seconds remaining, but because it was James arguably reaching the height of his powers.
More importantly, Wade noted this was the title for Miami’s big three that couldn’t be picked apart. The Heat legend quipped that NBA fans like to discredit the team’s Finals win over Oklahoma City in 2012 because the Thunder trio of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden were just “pups” then.
No one could deny the strength it took to take down the San Antonio Spurs in seven games.
“I knew we won at that moment,” Wade said Wednesday. “He needed that for his career.”
The clinching shot might not be as flashy as the block against Golden State to seal the title for Cleveland, but Wade believes the 2013 moment helped unlock a new level of clutch to James’ game.
The NBA is certainly better off for it.