MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Every superstar who looks to cement a legacy and win a championship has a signature moment. Miami Heat superstar LeBron James needed that moment and he got it late in the fourth quarter of Game 4.
LeBron started to severely cramp up late in the fourth quarter and at 5:15 had to be carried off the court by his teammates. As he was carried off, a collective gasp went up through the arena and from many of the members of the media gathered inside the arena.
An eerie silence followed as Miami took a timeout to see if LeBron could get back into the game. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra replaced James with James Jones for the next minute or two and then LeBron lumbered up to the scorer’s table to check back into the game.
The crowd at the AmericanAirlines Arena let out a roar as James made his way back onto the court and a feeling came over the fans that Miami wasn’t going to let the game slip away.
Then with 2:51 seconds to go in the game, LeBron, who was limping and grimacing in pain, got the ball at the top of the key and proceeded to drill a 3-point shot that put the Heat ahead for good and sealed a Game 4 victory.
“He was hurting,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. “But that’s what it’s about this time of the year. It would hurt more if we lose the ballgame, so it feels a little better if you can win it.”
James was humble about the shot that could go on to help define his career.
“I was just trying to make a play,” James said. “If I was out on the floor, I wanted to try to make a play with the limited mobility I had at the time, and I was happy I was able to come through.”
LeBron finished the game with 26 points, nine rebounds, and 12 assists. While his 3-point shot isn’t in the same league as Willis Reed’s heroic comeback for the Knicks; it inspired his teammates and made it clear to the sports world that it looks like it’s finally LeBron’s time.
LeBron and the Heat are on the cusp of winning the franchise’s second championship in six years and James’ first ever. The Heat will battle the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 on Thursday night.