The Boston crowd were loud, the Celtics held Dwyane Wade to a sub-standard game and Rajon Rondo posted a 21 point and 10 assist game. This should have been another celebration for Celtic fans and another trip to the NBA Finals except for one thing.
LeBron James happened.
James was absolutely spectacular posting a stat line of 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists on 19 for 26 shooting in Miami’s 98-79 victory. The line of 45/15/5 itself having only been done by one other player in NBA playoff history, Wilt Chamberlain.
Reading the box score alone can illustrate LeBron’s dominance in this game but seeing him give his all for 45 minutes was truly a privilege to any hoops fan that laid their eyes on the game. The level of difficulty of the shots made by the league MVP was incredible and thwarted any and all comeback attempts made by the Celtics. Add to this the fact James had to carry Dwyane Wade in this game and the picture starts to complete itself.
Boston had no answer for James in this game, as LeBron proceeded to stake the sting out of the TD Garden crowd from the outset. As the final quarter expired, the crowd that had stayed until the end could be heard chanting “Let’s go Cel-tics!” even though their team trailed by near-20. It was a nice touch from the Garden faithful with their team now heading off to Miami for a series decider.
Unfortunately not all Celtics fans mirrored that touch of class as one fan spilled a drink on James as he disappeared down the tunnel.
For Boston it was a somewhat lacklustre performance, with Pierce, Garnett and Allen all failing to truly influence the game. The “Big 3″ as they are affectionately known combined for 31 points, 13 rebounds and only two assists falling well short of James’ awe-inspiring output. To compound this shortcoming, the Celtics got next to nothing from their bench as Marquis Daniels was the highlight of sorts, posting eight non-influential points.
The stage is set for a blockbuster Game 7 on Sunday (AU time) with both teams needing to see major improvements from key players. For the Heat it’s all about the productivity of Dwyane Wade who will need to lift a couple of gears to adequately support LeBron James. Don’t be surprised to see a 18/12/8 game from James while space is cleared for Wade to postal on offense.
Boston’s requirements are a little more complex as they will need contributions from a more diverse list of personnel. Rondo, Pierce and Garnett will all need to be at the top of their game as it’s on the road. A cameo from Allen, Pietrus or even Brandon Bass would give the Celtics the best chance at victory.
Everyone loves a Game 7. Let’s see if the Miami experiment ends or meets it’s toughest challenge. Do Boston have one more run at the top? All will be revealed over the weekend.