Ford Keys to the Game: Heat 98, Celtics 79

Ford Keys to the Game

Heat 98, Celtics 79

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Rajon Rondo

In an attempt to inspire his teammates and the crowd, Rajon Rondo bangs out some knuckle-down push-ups, Kevin Garnett-style.
Jim Rogash/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

There aren't many NBA games that are over in the first quarter, but Thursday night was one of those rare occasions. LeBron James was the reason why.

James set the tone for his team and for the game from the opening tip. He was in attack mode from the get-go and led his team out to a 22-12 lead with 2:43 remaining in the first quarter. By that time, James had already matched the scoring output of the Celtics thanks to a 5-of-6 start from the field. He and the Heat were just warming up at that point.

The Celtics had no answers for James in the first quarter or at any point in the game. He literally broke Boston's will single-handedly, as the C's never made this one interesting after the first few minutes of the game.

"Listen, when a guy comes out and throws a barrage on you like that, that takes some energy out of you," Doc Riveres said after the game. "And maybe it's as simple as that."

James' fantastic performance, particularly in the first quarter, resulted in a 98-79 win for Miami, and now the Celtics will be forced to win yet another Game 7 in order to advance on to the NBA Finals.

Key Box Score Line

Charles Barkley called LeBron James out on the TNT broadcast Wednesday night. Barkley talked into the camera and asked for the LeBron of 2007, the one who scored 25 consecutive points against the Detroit Pistons in Game 5 of the Conference Finals, to show up Thursday night.

James answered the call.

The 2011-12 MVP went off for one of the most impressive performances of his career during Game 6, and that's saying something. He was literally unstoppable while scoring his game-high 45 points. James made 19 of his 26 field goal attempts, including a 12-of-14 performance in the first half. He also totaled a game-high 15 rebounds and dished out five assists during his 44:49 of playing time.

This performance was historic. This performance was James putting the Heat on his back and taking them to Game 7. Now Boston will need to turn him off when Saturday arrives if it hopes to move on to the NBA Finals.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Boston shot 1-of-14 from 3-point range, good for 7.1 percent.
  • Miami won the rebounding battle 44-34, the second consecutive game in which it has had a 10-rebound advantage.
  • Rajon Rondo led the Celtics in scoring with 21 points, 19 of which game in the first half.
  • LeBron James scored a game-high 45 points while shooting 19-of-26 from the floor.
  • James also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds.
  • Rondo struggled to take care of the ball, committing a game-high seven turnovers compared to just 10 assists.
  • Marquis Daniels scored eight points off of the bench for the Celtics.
  • Kevin Garnett grabbed just five rebounds in the game.
  • Brandon Bass was Boston's best overall player, scoring 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting and grabbing a team-high seven rebounds.
  • Miami led by as many as 25 points.
  • Both teams scored 19 points in the third quarter.
  • The Heat only scored five fast-break points.
  • Paul Pierce shot just 4-of-18 from the field en route to nine points.
  • Three Miami players (James, Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade) all grabbed more rebounds than Boston's top rebounder (Kevin Garnett, seven boards).

Quote of the Night

Ray Allen on the TD Garden crowd cheering 'Let's Go Celtics!' for the final three minutes of the game: "It seemed like that three minutes lasted forever. It was special. I'll talk about that forever, just knowing being down 20 and these people are still standing up, cheering us on, because they know we just have to win one game."