Maybe there was something in LeBron James’s choice of reading material after all.
James, wrapping up the last installment of “The Hunger Games,” went out and, with the Miami Heat’s season teetering on the brink of apocalyptic collapse and his own reputation on the line, crushed the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.
“He was absolutely fearless ... and it was contagious,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “The way he approached the last 48 hours, and not only LeBron, but everybody else. Nobody likes getting dirt thrown on your face before you're even dead. He showed great resolve.”
In 45 minutes of play, James had 45 of the Heat’s 98 points; in the first half, he had 30 points and he had 41 through three quarters. He finished with a 19-of-26 performance that was four points from his career best in the playoffs and had 15 rebounds and five assists. The only thing James, who got a beverage tossed on him for his trouble, didn’t do was come through in the fourth quarter.
Talk about a good job, good effort.
“I hope you guys can stop talking about LeBron not playing well in big games,’’ Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said, not entirely jokingly. “He did tonight. Now we have to get ready for Game 7.’’
And now the Heat must get through Game 7 on Saturday night in Miami if they are to play Oklahoma City in the Finals. LeBron, in all likelihood, will have to be King James again, if his critics’ silence is to become permanent. Can he duplicate Game 6 again so soon?
“I will continue to be aggressive. I will try to continue to play at a high level like I've done the whole postseason. If it results in the numbers or whatever the case may be, I'm going to go out there and play my game, and play as hard as I can,” he said. “I don't really care what the stats say. I won't regret Game 7, win lose or draw. I'm going to go in with the mindset like I've had this whole season. And we'll see what happens.”
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