NBA: Celtics melt under Heat
LeBron James scored 31 points as the Miami Heat booked their place in the NBA finals with a 101-88 victory in game seven against Boston.
Last Updated: 10/06/12 11:21am
LeBron James scored 31 points as the Miami Heat booked their place in the NBA finals with a 101-88 victory in game seven of their series with the Boston Celtics.
Miami came on strong in the fourth quarter of the deciding game of the Eastern Conference finals to win by a clear margin and set up a showdown with Oklahoma City Thunder for the NBA title.
James, in stellar form in the series-levelling 98-79 win last time out, added 12 rebounds to his points haul and found able assistance in Dwayne Wade (23 points) and Chris Bosh (19 points including a hat-trick of three-pointers).
The win was the Heat's first game seven success since 2004 and James' first at the third time of asking.
"It was good to see us come together in a very competitive series and I have great respect for the championship DNA they (Celtics) have," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
"We do not take this for granted. I am happy we got through this. Obviously we have a bigger goal in the next round."
He added: "We have been through a lot. We think the adversity has strengthened our core, built our character. There is no question we will need it in the next round."
The Celtics were seven points up at the halfway point and level with a quarter remaining but were outgunned in the closing stages.
Rajon Rondo was superb in a losing cause, notching a triple-double of 22 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds for Boston.