Wed May 11 10:50pm EDT
LeBron James'(notes) line for the Eastern Conference semifinals: 28 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.8 blocks per game (with 3.4 turnovers). He shot 52 percent from the floor and 43.7 percent from 3-point land (and 66.7 percent from the line), and posted three 30-plus-point performances.
He was definitely the best player on the floor in Game 2, was arguably the best player on the floor in Game 4, and absolutely dominated the proceedings in the final 130 seconds of the Miami Heat's series-clinching 97-87 Game 5 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. James scored the game's final 10 points to end Boston's season, and perhaps its run among the NBA's elite, in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
This dynamic performance, reminiscent of James' tour de force coming-out party against the Detroit Pistons in Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference finals, won't silence his critics. Those who say LeBron James isn't clutch won't stop saying that — won't stop proclaiming from every street corner and mountaintop that he can't win the big one — until he, y'know, wins the big one, the final series of the playoffs, over the best team the Western Conference has to offer. Second-round heroics do not a champion make.
But if you can't acknowledge that he just won a pretty darned big one, with the eyes of the world and the weight of history all over him, you're either a Celtics partisan still crying in his beer, an inveterate contrarian unwilling to give credit where it's due, a dope that doesn't know what "big one" really means, or someone that didn't watch the end of Game 5. Go ahead and click the play button up above, then recognize real all over again.