First, he did it during a low-stakes February game against the Sacramento Kings. Now, he does it in a closeout Eastern Conference semifinals game against the Boston Celtics. I guess we can officially say that this shot is part of Dwyane Wade's repertoire. They ought to make a special StatsCube category for it; he'd probably lead the league in that particular advanced statistic. Wow.
Whether his shots were flailing flips or squared-up jumpers, Wade was unstoppable in the first half, scoring 23 points on 9-for-12 shooting. (Not at the line, though — the Miami Heat star missed 4-of-9 free-throw attempts in the half.)
His torrid shooting from the floor kept the Heat in the thick of things, making up for his teammates' cold performance (Chris Bosh was the only other Miami player to make a shot in the first quarter, and Wade's mates shot just 25 percent in the half) and weathering the Boston Celtics' efficient early offense. Despite shooting 53 percent from the field and holding Miami to 47 points, Boston held only a two-point lead at halftime.
After a third quarter that saw each side put up 24 points in 12 minutes, Miami took over late, limiting Boston to just 14 fourth-quarter points and holding Doc Rivers' team scoreless for the final 4:28 of the game. With Boston's offense summarily stamped out, it was LeBron James' time to shine.
One year after turning in a miserable Game 5 performance against the Celtics as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, James was sensational in the fourth quarter. He scored 13 points in the frame and provided the Heat's final 10 points — including a pair of ice-cold 3-pointers directly in the mug of longtime nemesis Paul Pierce — to push Miami to a 97-87 Game 5 victory.
The win completes a 4-1 Miami win in its best-of-seven second-round series against the Celtics, sending them to the Eastern Conference finals to face the winner of the matchup between the Chicago Bulls and the Atlanta Hawks. Chicago holds a 3-2 series lead there, with Game 6 coming up Thursday night in Atlanta.
James finished with 33 points on 11-for-20 shooting to go with seven rebounds and four assists. Wade tapered off a bit after his sizzling first half, but still led Miami with 34 points on 13-for-19 shooting, adding 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Ray Allen led the Celtics with 18 points and five 3-pointers, while Kevin Garnett had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Boston captain Paul Pierce added 12 points.