LeBron James of the Miami Heat scored 10 straight points to eliminate the Boston Celtics. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Credit where credit is due: Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James took a giant leap towards refurbishing his reputation as a crunch time scorer during Wednesday night's Game 5 victory over the Boston Celtics.
With the score tied at 87 and just over two minutes to play, James scored 10 consecutive points -- the final 10 points scored by both teams -- to push the Heat to a 97-87 victory, and eliminate the Celtics from the Eastern Conference semifinals, 4-1.
Here's video of James' 10 straight points in the fourth quarter. Continue reading below for a blow-by-blow account of his dominant performance.
The streak began inconspicuously enough, with Heat guard Dwyane Wade passing to James in the left corner late in the shot clock. With Celtics forward Paul Pierce draped on him and the shot clock under five seconds, James didn't bother with a gather dribble, instead shooting a pull-up three-pointer that was nothing but net. 90-87.
The Celtics called time out and the two teams traded missed shots. On Boston's next possession, Pierce turned the ball over, giving Miami the ball with less than a minute to play and a three-point lead. After running the clock down, James used a high screen by Wade before settling into an isolation against Pierce at the left angle. With the shot clock at three seconds, James took a slight step back and launched another three-pointer, from a couple steps behind the arc, with Pierce aggressively contesting the attempt. Again, the result was nothing but net. That three put Miami up 93-87.
The shot clearly cut out Boston's heart, as they came out of the ensuing timeout tentatively. Guard Delonte West initiated Boston's next possession by lobbing a soft pass to Pierce, and James bolted in between the two players to knock the ball into Boston's backcourt. From there, he was off to the races, stopping only long enough to check behind him to see if anyone was giving chase. No one was, and James cruised in for the monster two-handed dunk that set the AmericanAirlines Arena into a tizzy with 40 seconds remaining.
After another West turnover, and the Heat now leading 95-87, James milked the clock once again, operating at the top of the key against Pierce in isolation. He dribbled into the paint to his left. Boston's help defense was nowhere to be found so he kept going, converting a running lay-up with six seconds remaining. 97-87. That would prove to be the final score.
James finished with 33 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block in 46 minutes.
The Heat now await the winner of the other Eastern Conference semifinal between the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks. The Bulls lead that series 3-2.