LeBron led the way in Game 7, but got a lot of help from his teammates along the way.In the end, LeBron James finally got his signature Game 7 win.
Though he didn't post up once in the first half, he was aggressive in attacking the rim early, resulting in 10 free throw attempts. He didn't let up in the second half either. The fact he finished with 31 points while making only shot outside of the lane (1-11) was telling.
The Heat are 6-0 in the playoffs in the last two seasons when James draws 10 or more fouls (he drew 12 on Saturday).
The Celtics led 82-81 with eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Game 7. It looked like the game was going down to the wire, a time period in which they dominated in key Game 4 and 5 wins in the last week.
Final 8 Minutes
Eastern Conference Finals Game 7
But this time it was the Heat finishing strongest, closing the remainder of the game on a 20-6 run. During which, both James (8) and Dwyane Wade (7) scored more points than the Celtics.
For the game, the Heat outscored the Celtics by 21 points in 27 minutes with their Big 3 on the court together.
James has now averaged 34.3 PPG in his career in three Game 7s. That's higher than any player whose played multiple winner-take-all games. And yes, that's more than Michael Jordan (33.7).
So yes, James earned any and all accolades that he will receive from this marquee win. But the Heat might not have advanced to NBA Finals for the second straight year if not for some help from his friends.
LeBron, Wade and Chris Bosh scored the Heat's last 31 points (including all 28 points in 4th quarter).
All together, non-LeBron Miami players combined for 70 points on 55 percent shooting Saturday night. That's a far cry from the production LeBron saw from his teammates in his other two Game 7s (47 in the 2008 loss in Boston and just 34 points in the 2006 loss at Detroit).
BOSH GREAT LATE
Bosh missed the start of this series, but he made up for it late. He made three trifectas in the clincher, more than he's ever made in any regular season or postseason game. Fifteen of his 19 points came on shots from outside 15 feet. That's a stark contrast to his success on the same shots in Games 5 and 6 (1-7 for two points).
While this will go down in the history books as a Heat coronation, it should be noted just how close this decisive game was. It featured a series-high 20 lead changes and 10 ties.
RONDO LEAVES HIS MARK
Game 7 Triple-Doubles in NBA History
Though it ended bitterly, this postseason will also be remembered for the supreme stat stuffing by Rajon Rondo. He became the first player to have two Game 7 triple-doubles. Not in one postseason - but ever.
Our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau confirmed that the only other players to ever have as many as four triple-doubles in a single postseason were Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd. With 10 career playoff triple-doubles, the point guard ties Larry Bird for third most in NBA history.