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The Heat obviously weren’t deflated by that loss and came to fight, scoring 10 straight points to build a 10-point lead shortly after Mario Chalmers was called for a technical foul after getting mixed up with Ray Allen. They extended it to 12 points later in the period, taking a 26-16 lead into the second after shooting 58 percent in the period.
Wade finally got on the board with a jumper to open the second, but he seemed strangely passive even with Miami trying to save its season.
Storylines LeBron, Heat force Game 7LeBron James totals 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists as Miami avoids elimination.
» His Celtics counterpart, Paul Pierce, totals just nine points on 4-for-18 shooting.
» Game 7 is Saturday in Miami.
No matter. James didn’t need the help.
He had consecutive baskets for a 15-point lead and came up with a basket every time the Celtics tried to get any rhythm. He soared high above the rim — and any other player — for a follow dunk after the Celtics had crept within eight in the final 2 minutes of the half. Miami led 55-42 at the break.
James made 12 of his first 13 shots before missing from the perimeter on his final attempt of the half.
Only Rondo kept it from being a blowout, scoring 19 points and adding five assists in the half. Relishing the challenge, he even emulated Garnett by doing a couple of knuckle pushups after being knocked to the court while drawing a foul, but he couldn’t keep up with James and needed some help that never arrived.
The Celtics, trying desperately for one last championship before the expected breakup of their Big Three, hope this one doesn’t get added to recent series losses against Orlando in 2009 and the Lakers in the NBA finals in 2010, when they lost Game 6s with chances to win series and then fell in Game 7.
James’ first basket of the third quarter increased the lead to 17 points, and from there it was just a matter of coming up with another score any time the Celtics tried to make a run.
Boston never came close, and when a 3-pointer by Shane Battier made it 81-63 with 10:19 to play, Rivers spent part of a timeout standing alone on the court with his arms folded, leaving it to the players to try to come up with an answer that wasn’t there.
Bosh entered with 5½ minutes left in the first quarter of his second game back after missing nine with a lower abdominal strain, finishing with seven points and six rebounds.
Eastern Conference finals
Game 1 » Miami 93, Boston 79
Game 2 » Miami 115, Boston 111, OT
Game 3 » Boston 101, Miami 91
Game 4 » Boston 93, Miami 91, OT
Game 5 » Boston 94, Miami 90
Game 6 » Miami 98, Boston 79
Saturday » Boston at Miami, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
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