Heat take stranglehold over Nets
NEW YORK—LeBron James had done his part to put the Miami Heat in control of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, and one last free throw was meaningless except to him.
He missed—leaving him one shy of his first 50-point playoff game and muttering to himself after.
Then he smiled, realizing his performance left nothing to complain about.
James tied his playoff career high with 49 points, and Chris Bosh made the tie-breaking three-pointer with 57 seconds left, as the Heat beat the Brooklyn Nets 102-96 last night for a 3-1 lead.
James carried the Heat nearly the entire way until Bosh hit the shot that put Miami ahead for good—a play where James resisted the temptation to force a shot.
He passed instead to Mario Chalmers, who swung it to a wide-open Bosh.
Ray Allen followed with four free throws and James finished it off with one more, putting the Heat in position to wrap it up at home tomorrow night in Game 5.
James was 16-of-24 from the field and 14-of-19 from the free-throw line in matching the 49 points he scored for Cleveland against Orlando in the 2009 Eastern Conference final.
Joe Johnson scored 18 points for the Nets, who were 15-of-25 from three-point range in their Game 3 victory but only 5-of-22 in this one.
“This is very difficult to swallow,” said Nets’ centre Kevin Garnett.
“Hard to take but it’s what it is.
“Coulda, shoulda, woulda doesn’t help us at this point,” he stressed.
Miami now has won at least one road game in 14-straight series, breaking the record set by the Chicago Bulls from 1991-94.
Elsewhere, Portland beat San Antonio 103-92 to trail their Western Conference semi-final 3-1.