THERE WEREN’T MANY tipping the Miami Heat to go to Boston and secure the win they needed to force a game seven in the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals.
The Heat had, afterall, lost 15 of their previous 16 visits to the Celtics’ TD Garden and the entire future of the franchise was in question with many commentators suggesting the big three era in South Beach was already at an end.
Step forward LeBron James.
The three-time league MVP has often been criticised for lacklustre performances when his team has really needed him.
However, the 27-year-old was nothing short of imperious last night, scoring 45 points, gobbling up 15 rebounds and providing five assists.
James, who scored on 21 of his 30 shooting attempts, became the first player to score at least 25 points against the Celtics in eight consecutive postseason games since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1984.
It was exactly the sort of performance a team on the verge of elimination needed and in direct contrast to that of team mate Dwayne Wade who scored just 17 points with eight rebounds and four assists.
For their part, the Celtics were chasing the Heat for most of the game and all but gave up the ghost when Miami took an 18 point lead in the fourth quarter.
They must now hope to regroup quickly before Saturday’s game seven in Miami but, if James can put in another display like this one, it’s difficult to see anything other than a Miami and Oklahoma NBA Finals.
Watch the highlights here:
YouTube Credit: MediaCrux