Saturday Night, the American Airlines Arena was rocking with hopes of their team to advance to the NBA Finals for the 2nd straight year. This marked James’ third career game 7 after his instant classic performance from game 6 quieting all doubters scoring 45-15-5. Before game time LBJ gave a team pregame speech encouraging his teammates to want game 7 more than want your next breath. The Celtics who were now in their 2nd consecutive seven game series, initially came out energized after their discouraging game 6 loss led by guard Rajon Rondo who had 4 points and 5 assist in the first quarter. Miami would get support from forwards Shane Battier, who hit back to back three-pointers and Udonis Haslem hitting a jumper to give the big 3 time to get their offensive composure together. Wade and LBJ would shoot 7 free throws alone in the first as the game plan for the Heat was to attack the basket every possession. Miami entered the 2nd quarter down by 4 points but Chris Bosh would tie the game after hitting three consecutive jumpers to put the game even out at 30. Celtics big, Kevin Garnett got into early foul trouble with two and would have to sit down until after the break. Boston would soon go on an unexpected 14-3 run limiting Miami to just one FG made by Mario Chalmers in 5 minutes. At the 3 min. mark, the Celtics would have their largest lead of the game at 11 with Brandon Bass scoring a fast break dunk via Dwade turnover. Bass was big for the Celtics without KG as he had 14 points in the first half. Miami would soon cut the lead down to 7 led by James and Wade scoring a fast break alley-oop to give their team momentum for the 2nd half. In the 3rd, Shane Battier would come up big for Miami once again hitting another pair of three pointers. Down by 1 with 45 seconds remaining before the 4th, Rajon Rondo who scored 10 of Boston’s 20 third quarter points would hit a huge 3 pointer to up his team back up by 3. On the next ensuing possession, Chris Bosh would hit a long jumper to tie the game heading into the last quarter. At the stat of the 4th, Chris Bosh would set the tone for the quarter hitting a long distance trey to put his team up by 1. Miami’s big 3 would go on a tear as Dwyane Wade and LeBron James also got into attack mode not settling for jump shots and taking it straight to basket. Up by 4 points just past the 6 min. mark, LBJ would hit his only 3 of the game to put the finishing touches on the series to give Miami a 7 point lead.
MVP, LeBron James finished the game with 31 points, 12 boards and only 2 assist; shooting 12 for 17 from the stripe. He also hit 11 of his 31 points in the 4th quarter; not clutch right? Dwyane Wade finished with 23 points (9 scored in the 4th), 6 boards and 6 dimes while Chris Bosh was the only player from the Heat bench who scored netting 19 points and 8 boards; shooting 3 for 4 from long distance. Rajon Rondo was the architect in Boston’s playoff run and captured a 10th career postseason triple-double tying Larry Bird for third all-time. He finished as the high-man for Boston scoring 22 points, 10 boards and 14 dimes. Ryan Hollins was the only player from the Celtics bench who scored and only had 2 points in the game. Ray Allen finished with 14, while Paul Pierce had 19 and KG scored 14. If this was the last game for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in a Celtics jersey, they’ve achieved a lot in their short 5 year tenure in Boston winning an NBA championship and playing in 3 of the last 5 Eastern Conference Finals. Now after surviving the quote on quote old Celtics, the Miami Heat now head to the NBA Finals for a 2nd consecutive year to face the young and focused Oklahoma City Thunder. This upcoming series was the finals match-up mostly the entire basketball world including myself picked before the season started last December. While Miami travels to Oklahoma City for Tuesday night’s game 1 showdown, the Thunder will have their own 3-headed monster waiting in Durant, Westbrook and Harden. For Miami, the motto the entire year has been ‘championship-or-bust‘ but the same can be said for the Oklahoma City Thunder as they’ve had one of the best postseason runs in NBA history so far. The marquee match-up in LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant as to who’s really the best player in the world should be enough alone to make this one of the best NBA Finals since the Magic Johnson, Larry Bird epic clashes from the 80s.
Game 1 is scheduled Tuesday on ABC with a tip-off set for 9:00 pm (ET).
Win Or Go Home.
Heat Win 4-3
Game 1: Miami 93, Boston 79
Game 2: Miami 115, Boston 111 (OT)
Game 3: Boston 101, Miami 91
Game 4: Boston 93, Miami 91 (OT)
Game 5: Boston 94, Miami 90
Game 6: Miami 98, Boston 79
Game 7: Miami 101, Boston 88
Bonus | Celtics Big 3: A Look Back--