BOSTON -- The ball was in his hands with the game on the line. Until it wasn't.
With Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals tied 89-89 in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, Miami Heat forward LeBron James sized up Boston Celtics forward Mickael Pietrus outside the 3-point line. As the clock ticked down, James drove to his right and Pietrus shadowed him step-for-step with Celtics guard Keyon Dooling flying past, forcing James to pick up his dribble just behind the free throw line with 3 seconds left on the clock.
Stuck in the air and still shadowed by Pietrus, James fired a skip pass to Heat forward Udonis Haslem, who was immediately swarmed by Celtics forwards Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. With no time left to do anything else, Haslem took a dribble and then launched an off-balance fadeaway 15-footer that airballed as time expired, sending the game to overtime.
"It was another multi-layer thing to try to get LeBron on the run," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of the play. "The play broke down a little bit, so he had to put the ball on the floor and make a play. He had the right idea. I think [Haslem] was open for a count there in the corner. BUt you have to pass it over a 7-foot-6 guy, so it wasn't really a clean pass."
The Celtics eventually prevailed, 93-91, evening the series at 2 games apiece.
"We had our opportunities," Spoelstra said. "We feel fine about the second half. We think we can play better."