LeBron James, Heat Torch Celtics to Force Game 7
Published: Friday, June 8, 2012
Updated: Friday, June 8, 2012 02:06
Game 6 Results: Miami Heat defeat the Boston Celtics 98-79 to force a Game 7
Forget the first four games.
Miami had a perfect chance in Game 5 and they failed. Boston had a perfect chance in Game 6 and they failed.
Simple as that.
Hold the excuses, hold the theories, hold the sob story. LeBron James did exactly what people were scared of him doing, and frankly not expecting him to do - deliver a clutch performance. On the verge of elimination James took control of the game from the beginning, scoring 30 points before halftime while the rest of his team only had 25.
Go ahead, read that again.
Complete domination. Whether it was in the paint, a mid-range shot or a three-pointer, LeBron was sinking them all. But of course there’s more behind it. Boston struggled throughout the night as they were 1-14 behind the arc and shot 42.7% overall.
Rajon Rondo led the C's as he finished with 21 points and ten assists, but there was just no answer for LeBron James.
Who’s Hot: 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Thursday night was LeBron’s 11th 40-point playoff game as he is now averaging 34.2 ppg this series. There really isn’t much more to say. The odds were against him and the Heat, but LeBron left it all on the court and led his team to fight another day. "This was a gut check for us and it was good to see we were able to bounce back from that Game 5 loss at home," James said. "I'm looking forward to Game 7. See y'all in Miami!" Erik Spoelstra said it best, LeBron was absolutely fearless.
Who’s Not: Paul Pierce.
The Celtics captain went from hitting a clutch shot in Game 5 to a nearly invisible performance in Game 6. Pierce had two points at halftime and finished the night with only nine points and five rebounds. Part of the reason he had such an uncharacteristic performance is because he got into early foul trouble -- as has been many times this postseason -- and never got into a shooting rhythm.
Dwyane Wade also got off to a slow start on Thursday, being held scoreless in the first quarter and finishing the night with only 17 points. I’ll repeat -- Wade has to be better to give the Heat any chance at even getting past Game 7.
Biggest Question for Celtics: Asked this question after Game 3 but I had to bring it back - how much does Boston have left in the tank? As aforementioned, Thursday night was the perfect chance for them to win the Eastern Conference in front of their home fans at the thunderous TD Garden. Instead, the Celtics were outplayed by a one-man wrecking crew and now have to head back to Miami for a final game against the Heat.
"This team has not done it the easy way this year. Maybe this is justified for us -- go in there and do it," Doc Rivers said.