For all those Lebron James haters, prepare to eat his shorts. As I write this, reports are that Lebron James is in the locker room reading a fiction novel while all the reporters who had marked him for dead, have no choice but to patiently wait. I love it!!!
BOSTON – No one can say LeBron James retreated from the moment this time.
James turned in one of the Heat’s all-time greatest postseason performances Thursday night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, scoring 45 points in Miami’s 98-79 victory. Now, it comes down to one game for a ticket to the NBA Finals, and the Heat has homecourt advantage. Game 7 of the series is Saturday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Heat entered Game 6 losers of 15 of its previous 16 games at TD Garden but, fueled by a virtuosic show from James, Miami took an early lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Considering the circumstances, it might have been James’ best postseason performance of his career. Wade’s 46 points against Boston in the 2010 playoffs is the franchise postseason record.
“We’re not going to celebrate about this win,” James said. “It’s a one-game series now and it’s in our building.”
In 2010, James and his Cleveland Cavaliers trailed 3-2 against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals and James wilted from the moment in Boston. Not this time. James averaged a point a minute, going 19 of 26 from the field in 45 minutes. He played every minute of the first three quarters before watching from the bench in the final minutes.
“I just wanted to try to lead my team the best I could,” said James, who also had 15 rebounds and five assists. “I’m glad we were able to get this win a force Game 7.”
Led by James’ brilliance, the Heat shot 48.7 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from three-point range. The Heat led by double figures throughout the second half and its largest lead was 25 points. The Heat out-rebounded the Celtics 44-34.
Once again, Dwyane Wade wasn’t himself to begin the game but once again he played well in the fourth quarter. Wade started Game 6 with four points in the first half and was 1 of 6 from the field in the first quarter. But, while he might playing with an injured knee, he still had enough left in reserve to give the Heat a boost in crunch time.
Wade finished with 17 points on 6 of 17 from the field and scored eight in the final period. Wade and James were the only players to score in double digits for the Heat but Mario Chalmers contributed nine important points on three three-pointers. The Heat was 7 of 16 from three-pointer range, with James adding two and Shane Battier delivering a pair as well.
James had 30 points in the first half and the Heat led by 13 points to begin the third and fourth quarters. It was a postseason high for James in a first half and it matched the most by any player in a half this season. Monta Ellis of Golden State did it against Oklahoma City in February.
Wade had a hand in the Heat’s first seven points of the fourth quarter. He scored four straight points to begin the period and then whipped a difficult pass to Battier in the corner, who swished his second three-pointer of the game to give the Heat an 18 points.
Chalmers drained a wide open three-pointer with 5:56 left in the third quarter to give the Heat a 15-point lead. It was Chalmers’ third three-pointer of the game, giving the Heat five three-pointers on its first 11 attempts.
James made the Heat’s sixth three-pointer less than two minutes later to put the Heat ahead 72-59.
Wade, who struggled early in first halves throughout the series, began the game 0 of 4. For the series, Wade is shooting 30 percent (7 of 23) in first quarters. Meanwhile, James was phenomenal. He started the game with 14 points in the first quarter, shooting 6 of 7 from the field to go along with three rebounds and an assist.
He made 11 straight shots between misses on his first and final attempts of the half. Chris Bosh came off the bench to contribute seven points, six rebounds and three blocks in his second game back from injury.
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