Three things we learned Thursday night in Miami's 98-79 blowout win over the Celtics:
LeBron James is undoubtedly tired of the naysayers who question his “clutch-ness” in the fourth quarter.
James didn’t do anything to change that view of him – he just did everything to avoid it even becoming an option in the end.
James was simply unstoppable in Game 6, finishing with 45 points on 19-of-36 shooting, 15 rebounds, and five assists. His 14 first quarter points almost outscored the entire Celtics team (16 points) and he didn’t let up from there. Step-backs, drives, 3-pointers, it didn’t matter. He got Paul Pierce in foul trouble early on and never looked back. You don’t have to like him, but you have to respect his game.
No Pierce or Bench
The Celtics go as Rajon Rondo goes, and thrive off of Kevin Garnett’s energy – but they won’t win games if Paul Pierce isn’t on.
He wasn’t in Game 6. Pierce finished an abysmal 4-of-18 from the field, including 0-for-6 from 3-point range, for just nine points total. He didn’t get any help from the bench either.
The C’s bench didn’t score its first points until the 2:51 mark … of the third quarter. When starters like Pierce and Garnett (6-of-14, 12 points, five rebounds) aren’t getting it done, it’s up to someone on the bench to step up.
Game 7 in Miami
Of course it would come down to a Game 7, right?
The Celtics have never been a team to make things easy on themselves, and they’ve done nothing of the sort in this series either. The C’s came out flat from the start in front of the home crowd, mustering up just 16 points in the first quarter. That turned out to be a sign of things to come.
Now, Boston must go back to Miami and do what they did in Game 5: shock everybody. It’s going to have be the hardest played game of the new Big Three era – they don’t have a choice.