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Howard Simon's Blog

A Night For The Ages

That is the best way I can describe what I saw from LeBron James in his season saving victory over the Boston Celtics in game 6 of the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals. Notice I said "his" season saving victory and not "Miami's".  LeBron's Heat teammates had very little to do with the outcome of the win or call it a season affair.
From the opening tip, James carried Miami on his back as he put together one of the greatest single game performances in the history of sports. More on that statement in a moment.
James missed his first field goal attempt but then hit 12 straight.  He was 12-14 from the field in the first quarter, had 30 points at halftime and ended up with 45 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists.  I'm surprised he had 5 assists because I didn't think his teammates hit that many shots.
It didn't matter who guarded him.  It didn't matter where he was in the front court.  It seemed like whatever LeBron put up, on this night, was destined to go through the hoop.
He scored some points by driving to the basket but the majority came from jump shots.  In and around the paint, mid range, even three pointers, James had the red hot hand.
It wasn't as if he was wide open either.  LeBron hit numerous shots with a Celts defender right on him and a hand in his face.
Boston had gotten the deficit to 10 points in the third quarter and the decibel level was on the rise in the Garden as Celtics fans sensed their team was about to make a run.  But there was James hitting a momentum crushing three over Mickael Pietrus.
There was a thunderous, flying through the air, down the middle of the lane, slam home an offensive rebound off a Chris Bosh miss. 
There was a fall back jumper over the long arm of an elevated Kevin Garnett.  King James was ruling the NBA land on this night.  Even if you despise James, for whatever reason, you had to marvel at this amazing performance.
I think it’s one of the greatest single game showings because of everything that was involved.
It was a playoff game, not regular season.

 It came in the Conference Finals, in a game the Heat had to win or else they were eliminated.

  It came on the road, in a building where Miami had lost 15 of its 16 previous games.

It came against a team that handed LeBron two of his more devastating playoff losses, both elimination defeats when he was with Cleveland.

It came with all of the pressure squarely on a Heat team that most of the country wants to see fail, badly.

It came amidst speculation the coach would be fired and the team broken up if they lose.

 It came at a time when James' playoff reputation as a clutch performer was being questioned.

And it came on a night when Dwayne Wade was invisible in the first half. It was clearly LeBron or bust.

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