Despite being down by 17 in an arena the Miami Heat haven’t won in (regular season) since the forming of the Big Three, LeBron James wasn’t just going to let six weeks of unstopped winning come to an end. So he had one of those exclamation games with lots of points, rebounds and assists that makes everyone says wow, but more importantly was his clutchness, and hitting the game winning shot and extend their win streak to 23.
Despite Tracy McGrady saying that Houston’s 22 was harder to achieve, no one should really listen. The Miami Heat, on paper, are a much better team than the Boston Celtics, but everyone knew that even without Kevin Garnett playing, it was going to be a tough one for the Heat, as it turned out to be. The Celtics built a 17 point lead in the first half, but it all came down to final 33 seconds of the game.
With it tied at 103-103, LeBron James dribbled down the clock until he made a jumper and looked around at the hushed Boston crowd, who probably hates losing to this man and this team more than anything else. Jeff Green was stopped by Shane Battier on the next possession, before Paul Pierce had another shot to win the game from three with an open look, but the ball bounced away, and it ended with a Miami Heat win.
It means a lot. I know the history of the game. To be sitting in second place right now … for us to be there and doing it the way we want to do it, it means a lot.
James had one of those MVP-type nights, scoring 37 points and adding 12 assists. More? His 12 assists were turned into 27 points, creating 64 points on the night, which is the second highest mark of the season, behind the 77 points he was responsible for in a win over the Kings last month. He, Wade (16 points) and Bosh (13 points) combined for 22-30 from inside 5 feet, as the absence of Garnett made it very easy for the Heat to get better looks in the paint, but mostly by making the most of Boston’s 20 turnovers, coming when the Heat turned on the pressure.
Mario Chalmers has had his duels with Rajon Rondo in the last couple of years, but this time he wasn’t really facing a real point guard. He finished with a second-best 21 points for the Heat, enjoying a very hot hand from beyond the arc with 4-5, unlike Ray Allen who had a bad night on his second return to Boston, missing all three of his three point attempts, finishing with 6 points.
After a win such as this, it’s really not that hard to imagine the Heat going all the way and reaching 33 wins, maybe more, with 16 games left to play. The 17 point deficit was the biggest the Heat have faced during their winning streak; playing in Boston, for them, was probably the toughest thing they were preparing for. After a win like this, even if it did take the best of LeBron James to make it out alive and still winning, means there really isn’t anything to fear the rest of the way.