Quantcast 2011 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs: Semifinals - Miami vs Boston

 

2011 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals

Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 5 - Miami 97, Boston 87 - Heat win series, 4-1

 

For those who may have forgotten, LeBron James just may be the best basketball player in the world. The Boston Celtics won’t soon forget.

In a dazzling display of talent, James scored the game’s final 10 points, single-handedly putting the defending Eastern Conference champions’ season on ice. James’ explosion was just part of a 16-0 Miami run to finish the contest that turned a panicky Miami performance into a satisfying triumph that, moreover, should fuel the Heat with confidence as they move forward. Many had opined that a new day was about to emerge in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, given that the Celtics were just one game away from an early exit. Following Miami’s dizzying late-stage knockout punch of Boston on Wednesday at American Airlines Arena, that idea is no longer opinion but fact.

With the Celtics controlling the first part of the final stanza, capped by a Nenad Krstic jumper with 4:28 remaining to give Boston an 87-81 lead, it looked as though the series might be pushed to a Game 6 on Friday in Boston, setting the stage for a possible Game 7 deathmatch on Monday.

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LeBron would have none of that. After his teammates had tied the score at 87, James hit back-to-back three-pointers to push the Miami lead to six points in a heartbeat. With the crowd in a frenzy, smelling blood in the water, James stole the ball on the ensuing possession, capping it off with a fierce dunk. The emphatic flush marked a point of catharsis, a grand act in which a stake was driven into the heart of a persistent nemesis. The gesture magnified what Lebron had finally overcome. After years of failure against Boston in the playoffs, his time had come.

Boston gave a valiant effort but looked lost down the stretch without point guard Rajon Rondo, who remained on the bench, obviously hobbled by his elbow dislocation in Game 5 and worn down even more by a nagging back injury. The Celtics lost a general, something much more than a frontline soldier, when Rondo left the lineup and was appropriately pulled by coach Doc Rivers. Whether it was Miami’s defense or the sting of seeing their aging bodies run out of steam, the Boston Celtics simply could not execute down the stretch for a second straight game. Turnovers and missed jump shots became the modus operandi. For the first time since they regained prominence during their 2008 run to the NBA championship, this group of Celtics looked markedly outclassed in the postseason.

 

 

Credit LeBron and his Miami teammates. Dwayne Wade capped a tremendous series, scoring 34 points on 13-of-19 shooting. James added 33 points of his own. Chris Bosh, the third member of the self-professed Big Three, posted 14 points and 11 rebounds. Miami dominated the paint and the defensive glass, shooting 38 free throws and getting out in transition following Boston misses.

For fans in Miami, this is what they expected. For LeBron James, this is what he came to South Beach to accomplish. With two series down, James and company are just two more series wins away from the promised land. With performances like Wednesday night’s crunch-time conquest, one would be ill-advised to count James out. He reminded us all that he is that kind of player, a man who still knows what it’s like to deliver daggers in a playoff game’s most meaningful moments.

Now, LeBron needs to do those things in a conference finals series.

 

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By: Zach Bloxham
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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