Found June 10, 2012 on Fox Sports Florida:
MIAMI As much as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh chafed at the trash talk, the head games and even the pushups each time they have played Boston, deep down they knew there was a reason the Celtics, after putting Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett alongside Paul Pierce had won a title, lost another in Game 7, and never, ever went down without a fight. The Celtics not only played with heart of a champion, but with the head of one. That's what had to make Miami's 101-88 victory Saturday night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals so gratifying. This wasn't so much the nouveau Big Three vanquishing the standard bearer as it was the Heat keeping alive their championship-or-bust season by winning the Celtics' way. In a game that was thick with tension and drama, befitting not only a Game 7, but this entire series, it was the Celtics that blinked, not the Heat. For nearly 12 minutes in the second half, neither team led by more than two points. Then James rose in the biggest moments, Bosh did not shrink from big shots and Wade found a poise that matched his passion. The Heat's identity as a lock-down defense resurfaced and the ball moved crisply and decisively. "What can I say?" Pierce said. "It was a tie game, one quarter to go, winner plays for the championship. What more can you ask for? They made the plays they needed to make to get there." When Miami went to the bench at the end of the third quarter, the score tied and 12 minutes left to define its season, the Heat settled in and gave themselves 30 seconds, to clear their heads of the anxiety that hung in the arena around them. "What we're saying to each other is it's time," said James, who along with Wade and Bosh scored all of Miami's 28 fourth-quarter points. "It's time." Now, Miami heads to Oklahoma City, where the NBA Finals will begin Tuesday. The Finals figure to be intriguing, with the two stars, James and Kevin Durant, close friends but also cultural counterpoints one who audaciously took his talents to South Beach and the other who is pleased as punch to be in one of the NBA's most remote outposts. As delicious as the possibilities are, it will have a hard time being as captivating as this one. Rajon Rondo was spectacular at times for Boston, and also antagonized the Heat saying during a halftime TV interview that they "cried" about calls. James was confronted by questions about his late-game foibles after missing a pair of potential game-winners. Wade missed one, too, when James and Pierce fouled out on controversial calls. And Miami coach Erik Spoelstra looked overmatched by Boston's Doc Rivers. When the Heat lost three consecutive games in this series done in by "unintelligent play," according to Shane Battier after Game 5 they looked heartless and hopeless. Then James delivered a performance for the ages in Game 6, with 45 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists in the Boston Garden, a place where Miami had lost 15 of its last 16 games, and had served as the stage for James' exit from Cleveland two years ago. If it was unrealistic to expect a similar performance Saturday, even by the standards that James is judged by, it was not necessary. James had 31 points, 12 rebounds both game highs and two assists, but those numbers belie how well he facilitated opportunities for others. He knew better than to rely on his jumper two nights in a row, so he attacked the basket, which allowed him to get to the foul line 17 times. When Boston sent an extra defender, he made decisive passes. Often that second defender turned out to be Garnett, who was defending Bosh. That allowed Bosh, who had missed three weeks with an abdominal strain before returning in Game 5, to make two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and three for the game, something he had never before done in his NBA career. In all, he finished with 19 points on 8 of 10 shooting along with nine rebounds. "Listen, if that's what's going to beat you," Rivers said. "If you had told me that before the game . . . their center is beating you with the 3-point shot late in the shot clock and we got the ball out of LeBron's hands, honestly, I think we would take it." Bosh's final 3-pointer, coming when James collapsed the defense on a drive to the basket, put Miami ahead 86-82 with 7:17 left. It was the first time since early in the third quarter that either team had any breathing room. When James sank a 30-footer with 5:44 left, holding his follow through as he jogged back down court, it gave Miami, which had trailed by 13 in the second quarter, a seven-point lead and also dented the psyche of the Celtics. "That was a backbreaker for us," Rivers said. After Rondo's layup, the Celtics went dry on their next six possessions missing five shots and turning the ball over once. Finally, with the Celtics down by 11 with 28.3 seconds left, Rivers removed Allen, Garnett, Pierce and Rondo. With Allen, who turns 37 next month, and Garnett, 36, both free agents, an inevitable topic afterward was whether it was the end of an era. As much talk as there has been about a changing of the guard in the Western Conference, with Oklahoma City vanquishing the teams that have won the last 13 conference titles the Spurs, Lakers and Mavericks that's also what Saturday night was about in the East. Miami may have beaten Boston last May, but that series shifted sharply when Rondo was injured. This time there were no qualifiers. The changing of the guard may be more ephemeral in the East, given the Thunder's youth and seeming staying power, but it may have been more profound the Heat finally learning the lessons that seemed to elude them. "You can never relax," James said of the lessons gleaned from playing the Celtics. "You can never feel comfortable. You always feel on edge when you go against them. This is their chemistry that they built over the years. It's like no other team that I've ever faced in the postseason. They're great." Wade, who delivered 23 points and six assists, said his takeaway from playing the Celtics was how they endured talk for the last three years that they were too old. "They get dirt thrown on them all the time," said Wade, whose team is quite used to having dirt thrown at it, if not on it. "They continue to come out and prove they're going to be there. So we look at them as a team and say look what they deal with, look what they go through on a yearly basis." As Wade and James sat side by side at the interview podium, all the hard knocks and hard lessons the Celtics had delivered to them in recent years could be wrapped up in a simple sentiment and a single word. Thanks.

ESPN graphic had LeBron James still playing for the Cavs (Picture)

We make plenty of mistakes here at LBS, so I don’t mean to pick on ESPN too heavily with this. But … you have to admit the timing and severity of this mistake was pretty amusing. LeBron James had just gone off for 45 points in Game 6 for the Heat against the Celtics, and a graphic at the bottom of the ESPN screen said James still played for Cleveland. As if Cavs fans don’t...

Boston Fan Pours Beer On Lebron James After Celtics Loss To Heat

A.B. As much as I hate Lebron James and the Miami heat, this is bush league. Being some 45 year old mid-life-crisis-big-bellied Bostonian who dropped $200+ on tickets and $8+ on crappy beer doesn’t give you the right to throw a beer at a professional athlete. Be a man and jump on the court and take a swing at the big fella. I would respect that much more. But waiting for Lebron...

Kevin Durant Understands Individual Matchup Between Him, LeBron James Will Dominant Finals Headlines

Kevin Durant knows that whatever happens in the NBA Finals, he and LeBron James will be viewed as being at the center of it, for better or for worse. He recognizes that, he understands that, but he doesn't have to like that. Durant and James have more in common than chasing a championship starting Tuesday in Oklahoma City. Both have become hermits during the playoffs, with James...

Fan hits Dwyane Wade in head with basketball (Video)

Dwyane Wade was accidentally hit in the head by a fan tossing the basketball back to the court after it went out of bounds during the first quarter of Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals in Boston on Thursday night. Wade had chased the ball out of bounds and had turned around to get back into position on defense. The ball went out of bounds into the second row, and...

Windhorst: 'Behavior Modification' Has Helped LeBron

LeBron James returns to the NBA Finals this week, one year after the Heat lost to the Mavericks in disappointing fashion.

What's next, LeBron?

To reach in to the bag of cliches, LeBron James delivered a statement game Thursday night. He dug down deep, answered his critics and kept his team alive. He did what he's done before. With 45 points, 15 rebounds and a look on his face that indicated he could have posted 60 and 25, had he needed to, LeBron reminded us all that he's the most uniquely gifted basketball...

Bosh just happy to be back on the court

MIAMI (AP) -- Starting, not starting, it's irrelevant to Chris Bosh right now. He's just happy to be playing again. Bosh said Saturday that he is planning to come off the bench for the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics, the same role he had in the last two games of the series. Bosh missed nine games with a strained lower abdominal...

June 8th: Play Of The Day

"Play Of The Day" Lebron James Nasty Dunk in ECF game 6! I chose this as the play of day because of the amazing athletic ability of Lebron James to go up and get this ball and because it was key to the Game 6 Eastern Conference Finals . I do not own this video or any rights to it.

Celtics Will Stick To Game Plan Against LeBron

Boston has no plans to adjust their defense against LeBron James after he scored 45 points in Game 6.

NBA Finals Preview – Thunder vs. Heat

                It’s the finals every body wanted. LeBron James versus anti-LeBron James, aka Kevin Durant. The makeup of both the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat could not be any more different. Miami built their big-3 through free agency in the summer of 2010. James and Chris Bosh upped with Dwyane Wade, which of course prompted this.  Meanwhile, just days after...

Giant statues of Miami Heat big three created at go kart race track (photos)

With the Miami HEAT headed to the 2012 NBA Finals versus the Oklahoma City Thunder, a local South Florida company thought it was only right to commemorate the occasion with 16, 18 and 20 foot statues of the big three. Prime Time Amusements, a global operator, seller and event renter of video arcade machines and simulators, made Miami’s biggest sports figures – LeBron James,...

LeBron James Credits Doc Rivers, Calls Him 'One Hell of a Coach' (Video)

Well, it’s all over for the Celtics. However, an enemy of many Celtics fans had some nice things to say about head coach Doc Rivers. LeBron James told ESPN’s Doris Burke, after the Heat defeated the Celtics 101-88 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, that he thinks River is “one hell of a coach.” He commented on how well Rivers prepares his team. James closed out the...

Spoelstra not saying if Bosh will start for Heat

Coach Erik Spoelstra isn't saying whether he'll put All-Star forward Chris Bosh back into the starting lineup or keep bringing him off the bench now that the Miami Heat are in the NBA finals. Bosh started every game he played during the regular season and until he suffered an abdominal injury during the Eastern Conference playoffs, but played as a reserve in the final three...

I Don’t Get The NBA’s Whole “Kiss Your Mom On The Lips” Deal

I’m starting to think it’s me.  Maybe I’m emotionally detached from my mother?  Maybe I’m the crazy one but its bizarre to watch the new generation of NBA stars to kiss their mothers ON THE LIPS during games. I’ve been ripping into Miami Heat’s Lebron James for repeatedly kissing his mom on the lips in Game 1 against the Boston Celtics and in Game 5 too but at least...

Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo Skip Handshakes, Head to Locker Room After Game 7 Loss (Video)

Three years ago, LeBron James was raked through the coals after he walked off the court without shaking hands following a season-ending Game 6 loss to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. He infamously declared afterward that he didn't like shaking people's hands after a loss because he was "a winner." Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo had the good sense...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.