By John Harris |@JHBasketball
Heat overcome Rondo’s triple-double; headed to the Finals:
Lebron James played all 48 minutes and poured-in 31pts to lead the Heat over the Boston Celtics and into the NBA Finals. Dwyane Wade added 23pts for Miami who had to overcome another Rajon Rondo playoff triple-double to finally put away the Celtics in what has been an enthralling Eastern Conference battle. Rondo hit 22pts, grabbed 10 boards and dished 14 assists to try and find a way for his Celtics to beat Miami at home again, but it wasn’t enough.
Boston’s bench have found a way to step up at pivotal points during the postseason but couldn’t impose themselves at all against the Heat. Understandably Doc Rivers rode his starters for most of the game and all 5 scored in double figures but in over 30 minutes (most from Mickael Pietrus) the bench could only manage 2pts. Erik Spoelstra had a similiar strategy but could rely on the still-recovering Chris Bosh to give a boost from his unusual spot on the pine. He had 19pts and a dagger corner three-ball in the 4th quarter when Lebron dished under pressure.
The Heat actually found themselves down early in the game behind some strong play from Brandon Bass who had it going in the first half. However Miami slowly chipped away the lead by constantly attacking the basket and forcing defenders to foul. Paul Pierce again struggled with his foul count as he has done all series, picking up 5 personals trying to keep Lebron away from the hoop. In the 4th quarter it was a different tactic for Miami that put the game away. Lebron and Wade clicked at the same time (as the Heat have rarely seen in their time together) and went into full godmode, knocking down 30ft threes and off-balance mid-range jumpers on every possession.
With less than a minute to go Doc Rivers pulled Allen, Garnett and Pierce from the game, possibly for the last time with all three wearing Celtic green. Allen is expected to move on next year and while Paul Pierce is contracted for another season, Garnett is rumoured to be thinking of retirement. No such worries for the Heat, who have a chance to win their first ‘Big Three’ title when they face-off against the Oklahoma City Thunder in what should be an explosive finals match-up.
What are your predictions for the Heat vs Thunder series? Will Boston blow it up? Let us know below!
Join the 8000+ others who follow Hoopsfix and subscribe.