LeBron nears career high point with 45
The Miami Heat came into the Boston TD Garden Center and took command of this best of seven series for the NBA’s Eastern Conference crown with LeBron James hitting 12 of his first 14 shots en route to 30 first half points and a 98-79 victory.
The heat switched their “fronting” defense on PF Kevin Garnett and decided to play him straight up which cut his 19.9 ppg/10.8 rpg average to 12 points and five rebounds.
“In an environment like this, you want to have a big game. I wanted to be there for my teammates, no matter what was going on throughout the course of the game. This was a gut-check for us.” Kevin Garnett post game comments
Paul Pierce continued to struggle going just 4-18 for nine points to go along with five rebounds but it was James who stole the show.
”I hope now you guys can stop talking about LeBron and he doesn’t play in big games,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said postgame. ”He was pretty good tonight. So we can put that to bed and go play Game 7.”
Game 7 will be played Saturday at 8:30 pm.
Game 5 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals tips off today at 8:30 Eastern time and by the time the game wraps up, one team will have the momentum and the other team will be on the verge of elimination. Yes, the stats bear this out; every team that won game 5 also won game 6, the team that won game 5 also won game 7 seven times.
While the Celtics are still nursing injuries to some core players (namely Ray Allen) their level of play has increased as the series progresses.
“We’ve got to win a game in Miami, of course,” Celtics Forward Paul Pierce said after Game 4. “We have a chance of winning this series. It’s not going to be easy. You know, a good old classic bar fight. Going in to it you got to expect every game to be like this. Coming down to the wire, both teams trying to find an edge.”
For the Miami Heat, the possible return of Chris Bosh could go one of two ways; either Bosh comes in and contributes immediately or Miami will be out of sync trying to work him back into the lineup. Either way, the centers used in his absence have not been able to stop Kevin Garnett from imposing his will on the Heat. To stress the importance of Bosh to his team, since Bosh arrived in Miami, the Heat have won 72% of their games with him and 52% without him.
“We couldn’t win without him for two years. And not only could we not win without him, we looked horrible without him,” Heat Coach Eric Spoelstra said. “So I think that was the bigger challenge. If and when we ever get to that point, we’ll gladly take that challenge. He was our most important player for a long period of time.” On the return of Chris Bosh
Game 5 will be played tonight in Miami at American Airlines Arena
Sixers force Game 7
The Boston Celtics were forced into a Game 7 for the right to move on the Eastern Conference Finals as the veteran Celtics could only manage to shoot 33.38% (26-78) and an even more miserable 21.4% from the 3-point line (3-14). Still the Celtics (who only got one day of rest) were in it till the end. But Boston Head Man Doc Rivers was less then pleased with the work his team put in.
The Sixers forced the ball out of Rojon Rondo’s hands, trapping the guard and forcing him to turn the ball over or give up the dribble. Rondo only managed 4-14 shooting in 43 plus minutes of playing time.
“I thought our spacing was horrendous,” Rivers said, “so even if they didn’t trap, they didn’t have to because we were standing next to each other a lot.”
For the Sixers, game 7 was always in their minds and even former Sixers bad boy Allen Iverson showed up in red, white and blue to help support the team. Iverson led the crowd in chants and cheers and afterward dropped a line on his Twitter page.
“You can always come home again!!!,” Allen Iverson on Twitter