Before tip off of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals many people seemed to be prisoners of the moment. Many NBA experts such as ESPN's Stephen A Smith and Tim Legler were 100 percent sure that Boston would close it out at home, and that Lebron James could do nothing to prevent a heart breaking late playoff exit at the TD Garden. Well, they were wrong. The Miami Heat won game 6 in convincing fashion by a score of 98-79, tying the series 3-3 and forcing a game 7 in South Beach. The team defense, rebounding, and intensity were crucial in the success the team had tonight against the Celtics, who gave them many problems so far in this series. However, the play of the 3 time NBA MVP Lebron James was the biggest key to this win.
Lebron started off red hot scoring the bulk of the teams points from the start. At one point in the first half he was 11-12, while his superstar companions were off; such as Dwyane Wade being 6-17 tonight, and being 1-6 at one point in the first half. Still Lebron knew what had to be done in order to stay alive, and he did so, posting a stat line of 45 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists. No player has done that in the playoffs since Wilt Chamberlain in 1964. His performance was dominant, efficient, and flat out spectacular. Now we could sit here and say well we've seen him do this before. However with the pressure mounting at a ridiculous level he took charge, and faced that pressure with ease something he has been criticized of not doing.
Another big phase of James's game which he used to his advantage was his transition play. Boston's defense, which seemed sluggish tonight, could not keep up with him or Wade as they sped up and down the court. The transition defense was also on point making point guard Rajon Rondo turn the ball over 7 times which he doesn't do. Combined with that, the return of Chris Bosh opened things up more for Lebron because Miami had more offensive threats on the court, and his post presence made the Celtics stop double teaming James and Wade. With more freedom to have one on one matchups, Lebron was aggresive, and as Boston Head coach Doc Rivers said "they played with more force".
Now Miami faces one more tough challenge ahead to get to the grand spectacle which is the NBA Finals. South Beach should be lively, and the ratings will surely be high. I expect Lebron to continue his high play, but for this team to continue to win his partners in Wade, and Bosh have to play at a high level. I also expect the Celtics to come at the Heat with everything they have, and then some. Set your DVR's, and clear your schedules because Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals will be one for the history books.
Game 7 is Saturday at 8:30 pm, On ESPN.