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Heat-Celtics Game 7: One quarter of exceptional LeBron enough to send Miami to finals

Jun 10, 2012, 1:12 AM EDT

Miami Heat's James reacts after a foul is called on Boston Celtics'  Pierce  in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Finals NBA basketball playoffs in Miami, Florida Reuters

LeBron James in Game 7 Saturday was not the LeBron James of Game 6. At least not for the first three quarters. In fact, at the half his performance pretty pedestrian — he and Brandon Bass had matching point totals.

But with the game tight in the fourth quarter, LeBron put his head down, barreled to the hole, led Miami on an 18-4 run and that was enough to give them a 101-88 win, which sends them on to the NBA finals for the second consecutive year.

If Miami plays half a game like that against Oklahoma City they will get blown out of the water. But that’s the problem for tomorrow. Today, the Heat get to celebrate a win.

What Miami did in the fourth quarter was what they needed to do all series against Boston — play good defense and have their stars attack. In the first half Boston’s offense was clicking as they shot 53 percent and built a seven-point lead at the half. It felt like it should have been more. Miami never pulled away and the first 14 minutes of the second half were a see-saw affair.

But in the fourth quarter Boston scored just 15 points on 39 percent shooting. There were moments Rajon Rondo — 22 points, 14 assists — carried the offense but in the fourth he went dry. Boston could not score and at the other end they struggled to slow Miami’s attack.

In the fourth quarter LeBron (31 points) and Dwyane Wade (23) were able to get in the lane, but for the first time this series Chris Bosh was on the floor to make Kevin Garnett and the Celtics defenders pay for their rotations. He hit two three pointers and had 8 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. Any defense, even one as good as Boston’s breaks down when you can drive into the paint on it.

Which was an odd way for what might be the last game of the Big Three era in Boston to end. This was one of the best defensive teams of a generation, it was also one of the most selfless, throwback teams we had seen in a long time. They were good for basketball and the NBA.

But it was not enough. Miami’s talent and spurts of execution were enough.

This round.

  1. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 10, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    12

    wow!

    • edweird0 - Jun 10, 2012 at 1:20 AM

      Indeed.

  2. jucam1 - Jun 10, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    Oh Celts….that was a great effort but you just weren’t up to it…. Can’t wait for the finals

  3. canehouse - Jun 10, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    Just getting home from the AAA… what a Old School Heavyweight bout… The Celtics were inspiring to watch… but they just got wore out in the end. Amazing series… very proud to be from the East Coast…. LET’S GO HEAT!!!!

  4. storebrandcookies - Jun 10, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    This is going to be a great Finals series. The two most electrifying teams on display fighting for the trophy.

    If you asked me right now who would is going to win the series, I would choose the Thunder. The reason is because of the C/PF defensive duo of Perkins and Ibaka and the ability to lock down the paint.

    X-factors for both teams will be Bosh for the Heat and his perimeter stroke that could make Ibaka creep up opening holes for LeBron and Wade. Lastly for the Thunder is there interior defense of Perkins/Ibaka and making the Heat a jump shooting team.

    • storebrandcookies - Jun 10, 2012 at 1:43 AM

      And lastly the home court.

  5. tangledupinblue12 - Jun 10, 2012 at 1:38 AM

    Look, I’m from Chicago, and I actively root against the Heat, but does there always have to be some sort of qualification for every story about them?

    “But it was not enough. Miami’s talent and spurts of execution were enough.

    This round.”

    This round. DUN DUN DUN. It’s like, “Sure, they are talented, but did you know they hate puppies and freedom??”

    They won. They were down and should have been out in the series, and they won. Let’s be impressed for at least one night.

  6. reddolfan66 - Jun 10, 2012 at 1:40 AM

    Let’s go Heat!!!! Good series Boston….

  7. thekingdave - Jun 10, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    Hey congrats to the Heat it’s pretty impressive to have two of the best players on the planet on the same team and struggle to put them away in 7. Granted the Celtics struggled to put them away in 7 right?

    • progress2011 - Jun 10, 2012 at 4:10 AM

      Do you have any idea, what you just said ! Did you get confused, halfway thru your thought process.

  8. 00maltliquor - Jun 10, 2012 at 2:04 AM

    IDC what anyone says, Bosh won that game for them.

    • progress2011 - Jun 10, 2012 at 4:19 AM

      Sup rot-gut liquor,

      Some teams actually know how to play ” FUNDAMENTAL B-BALL” ! Which means, pass it to the wide-open guy.

      Boston and Miami have a plethora of guys, that are O.K. with someone else taking over and winning the game.
      The otherday, it was Rondo, for Boston, I’m sure Garnet, Allen and Pierce were happy for him.

      Today it was Bosh for Miami, James and Wade both said, in their post game interviews, they are happy for him and the win.

      Unlike your fake-show lakers, where it’s kobe who has to have the ball all the time…one man show….Harlem Globetrotter.

      Since that strategy DOES NOT work….which is why they are at home, ” FUNDAMENTAL B-BALL” fans will tolerate your drunken comments.

      No body want’s your cheap “malt liquor”….so the least you provide is a good laugh, from time to time……ahahaha

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:13 PM

        Lol! How old are you kid? Seriously. And why’d you have to take it so offensively, I was going for the Heat the whole series and that comment was to give Bosh his props since no one else does.You got some serious issues progress, nobody takes you serious on these boards anyways so why even bother with your cheap shots?

        And for Kobe being a one man show strategy that doesn’t work, try again! 5 rings says it all. You’re ring-less king still won’t have any jewelry after the finals anyways once The Durantula & Co. put the smackdown and show what REAL teamwork is all about. (For the record, I love LeBron, but this clown made me do it!) Stop being so jealous of the Lakers and all their success and focus on your team not choking in the waning minutes of a close game. And do your homework son.

    • spankygreen - Jun 10, 2012 at 6:51 AM

      As well he should have…..He is after all one of the BIG THREE……And another thing, the more players that can step up for the HEAT, the more the thunder will have to account for……..That’s the way it should be, It’s amazing how much success a Team can have when no one cares who get’s the credit……Team ball my friend….

      Le Bron and Wade will get their numbers……..It’s the other players (from both teams) more often than not that will make the difference.

  9. passerby23 - Jun 10, 2012 at 3:18 AM

    The Thunder don’t have the same holes that Boston has. They have depth and shotblocking upfront. They have homecourt. Lebron will have his moments, but he’s not going to get to the rim at will like he did so often in this series. The Thunder have long, athletic defenders who can get in the passing lanes.

    Westbrook torches inferior guards. I see that same problem in this series. Thunder have taken the next step. They make the big shots, they play unselfishly, and their defense is ramped up right now. Thunder in 6.

  10. rickyspanish - Jun 10, 2012 at 5:48 AM

    “But it was not enough. Miami’s talent and spurts of execution were enough.

    This round.”

    Puke city! I always read comments about how Helin is a Heat sympathizer, all I’ve read lately is the popular stance du jour, doubting the Heat. With articles that seem to be about a Miami victory, but end up throwing a snarky jab at the end will make a Miami championship even sweeter. Sweet and refreshing like an Arnold Palmer on a warm day. Jon Barry is a turd.

  11. cantonbound13 - Jun 10, 2012 at 8:00 AM

    OKC in 5!

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 10, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      OKC in 6

  12. truthhurtstoo - Jun 10, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    Miami knew it could coast some as the celts were in over their heads. No contest- HEAT are the superior team, same as last year and let’s see how OKc handles their defense.

    • scalfor3 - Jun 10, 2012 at 11:37 AM

      celts were an incredible team…showed a ton of heart and were playing with alot of guys either out or far less than 100%. it wouldn’t hurt to show them a little respect, most of your fellow heat fans are doing so.

      • progress2011 - Jun 10, 2012 at 11:58 PM

        No Respect off the court ! Earn it on the floor.

        The fact that your core 4 players were all available, is all that matters. Who cares about role players. They are typically a wash. No role player is expected to win a game, on either team.

        Conversely, you conveniently leave out the fact that one of Miami’s Big 3 was out most of the series. Not a role player ! But a player the Heat expect to get 15 & 5 every night !

        Your team is OLD. They barely kept pace against ONE GUY….LBJ ! Because Wade was missing several games and gave a half-hearted effort.

        But once the other core player for the Heat returned, your teams butts were handed to them, in Boston and in Miami. Quite easily.

        One could argue, if Bosh would have been available at the beginning of the series, the Old Dudes would have been swept !

    • infectorman - Jun 10, 2012 at 3:13 PM

      no contest?
      It took them 7 games to pull it out.
      it was far more than a “contest”, it was a 7 game series..

      OKC will handle their Defense far better than the “washed up” Celtics.

      Miami fans HAVE to know that!?!?!?

      • progress2011 - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:05 AM

        No Infected,

        Wade gave a half hearted effort and Bosh was out.

        When Bosh returned, fans that watch “FUNDAMENTAL” B-Ball saw that it was never a contest.

        To be truthful, for most of the series, you were beat by One Guy….LBJ.

      • infectorman - Jun 11, 2012 at 4:38 PM

        “Wade gave a half hearted effort and Bosh was out.”
        Pure Excuse, right along the lines of Boston is old, Boston was missing missing Avery Bradley, Jeff Green and Jermaine Oneal. Nothing but an excuse

        A 7 footer hits 3-4, 3-pointers. Yeah, that’ll happen again….NOT

        In Boston, we know fundamental basketball. I’ve been watching it from our professional club here since 1978. Heat have a long way to go on that one.

        But hey, whatever makes you sleep well at nite, Progress. Whatever gets you thru the nite.

        Good luck to your Heat, they’re gonna need it

  13. jimeejohnson - Jun 10, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    This year’s finals should be incredible. The two best players in the world, LeBron James and Kevin Durant, displaying their skills. The “real” basketball fan is ready for a great series. Let’s hope the officiating does not overly influence the outcome.

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