Forget the stat line, which was nothing exceptional. LeBron was a leader on Sunday. He played with discipline and aggressiveness -- and as much defensive intensity as we've seen from him since the Heat's win in OKC. When the Heat needed an inside presence, he screened and rolled. When they needed an initiator, he found teammates. And when they needed a W, he delivered.
All eyes were on Wade on Sunday after he laid eggs in the Heat's previous three meetings with the C's this season. Like James, Wade didn't have his best statistical game, but his energy, defensive commitment and baseline attacks were serious. His vicious block of a Ray Allen layup attempt in transition was the afternoon's crescendo.
He picked up his second foul 1:45 into the game, then returned for one of his more emotional outings of the season, which was refreshing. Kevin Garnett effectively took him out of the offense, bumping Bosh off his spot and preventing him from serving as an entry point. But Bosh performed solid work on the defensive end in pick-and-roll coverage.
Anthony allows the Heat to do what they want defensively, but often hurts them on the other end. Not on Sunday. Anthony's quickness keyed the Heat's defensive resurgence. His hustle and rebounding gave the Heat a ton of extra opportunities. And he was serviceable on offense. If Anthony can replicate this in the postseason, the Heat might've found their solution at center.
This game didn't mean nearly as much to Boston as it did to Miami. Still, the Celtics can't be pleased their offense has degenerated into a slow, often passive series of midrange jumpers and forced drives into traffic. Garnett played well and continued to generate space for teammates (space that closed up quickly), but Rondo's instincts didn't help the C's.