When LeBron James decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers after seven unsuccessful seasons with the team, he instantly became the villain for the entire league. His popularity further plummeted after announcing his decision to join the Miami Heat and join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Say whatever you want, James was a different beast during his time with the Miami Heat. It was arguably LeBron's physical peak, and he used to dismantle opponents on a nightly basis.
One of his best games in a Heat jersey was back in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, where his team faced the Boston Celtics. Additionally, the Heat were down 3-2 and would have been eliminated if they had lost Game 6.
But LeBron destroyed the Celtics almost single-handedly and forced a Game 7 in the series. Later on, the Heat not only ended up winning that series but the 2012 NBA Championship as well.
Fast forward to 2022, the Miami Heat are once again in a similar situation. After the Game 5 loss, the Heat are now down 3-2 in the series and face elimination in the next game. Unfortunately, this time around, there is no LeBron James to pull off a miracle and help the Heat force a Game 7.
NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins is well aware of that and pointed that out in one of his recent tweets:
"Last time Boston and Miami met in the ECF with Miami down 3-2, LeBron James delivered an epic 6 to save the Heat. Well guess what? LeBron James ain’t walking through those doors no time soon. Boston in SIX. Carry on…"
LeBron James is unarguably one of the best scorers in the history of the Miami Heat. Since he left the team after 2014, the Heat have failed to find another player of that talent.
Jimmy Butler is someone who will have to perform at that level, but considering he is struggling from an injury, it seems unlikely that he will be able to force a Game 7. But never say never in the NBA, who knows, maybe the Heat will pull off a miracle and prove everyone wrong.