While some refuse to give LeBron James any credit for his accomplishments on the court, the 2011/12 MVP put on another historic performance on June 7, leading the Miami Heat to a 98-79 victory against the Boston Celtics. With the win, the Heat even out the Eastern Conference finals, with both teams tied at three games apiece.
LeBron's amazing performance couldn't have come at a better time, as the Heat only had two options going into Game 6 against the Celtics: win or go home.
"He was absolutely fearless tonight, and it was contagious," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters about LeBron's performance. "The way he approached the last 48 hours, and not only LeBron, but everybody else. Nobody likes getting dirt thrown on your face before you're even dead. He showed great resolve."
Miami's defense looked as sharp as ever during Game 6, stifling the Celtics' offense throughout the contest. The Heat got off to a solid start, and they kept it up until the final buzzer, never giving the Celtics a chance to get back in the game.
LeBron led Miami with his 45 points (game high), 15 rebounds (game high), and 5 assists. Even Celtics coach Doc Rivers was amazed by LeBron's performance.
"I hope now you guys can stop talking about LeBron and he doesn't play in big games," Rivers said after the game. "He was pretty good tonight. So we can put that to bed and go play Game 7."
Dwyane Wade was the only other Heat player to score over 10 points, walking away with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Chris Bosh put up decent numbers in his second game back from an abdominal strain, putting up 7 points and 6 rebounds in 28 minutes.
Miami's role-players weren't particularly impressive on Thursday, but they did get some help from Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier. Both shot the ball pretty well from beyond the arc, finishing with 9 and 8 points respectively.
The Heat also got some quality minutes out of Udonis Haslem, who was a force to be reckoned with inside the paint, pulling down 9 rebounds.
With Game 7 set for June 9 at the American Airlines Arena, the Heat are once again in control of the Eastern Conference finals. Their series against the Celtics has been a lot tougher than many initially thought, but I expect the Heat to send them packing on Saturday.
Associated Press, "LeBron James scores 45 points as Heat force Game 7 vs. Celtics"
Player and game information from ESPN.com
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