We do not take this for granted. We have a bigger goal.
Bosh, often derided as the not-quite-superstar of the Big 2 ½, made three three-pointers, scored 19 points and collected eight rebounds in a remarkably speedy comeback from a nine-game absence due to a stomach muscle strain.
We needed Boshs guy to help slow down LeBron, Boston coach Doc Rivers said. Bosh made shots. He was the X factor.
Role players Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier also made key plays.
For awhile, it appeared the older, craftier Big 3 would escape. They exploited their superior matchups with Rondo and Garnett. Early on, they showed more intensity. Embarrassed by poor shooting at home, they wanted more than redemption in Miami. The Celtics wanted another title to go with the one they won in their first year together.
With Garnett in foul trouble early, the question for the Celtics was whether they could hang with the Heat while he was on the bench. Brandon Bass answered in the affirmative as the Celtics went on a 14-3 run after Garnett went out. Miami hurt itself with turnovers. After three quarters, the score was tied at 73. After 84 games, it came down to 12 minutes.
If you want to be champions, you know youre gonna get hit. Come out punching, Rivers exhorted his players during a timeout.
But Miamis Big 3 found each other, pushed each other. They were not going to let this slip through their fingers, so they made a fist. Wade split the defense for a dunk. James flicked in a layup despite getting battered on the way to the rim. Bosh yanked down rebounds and nailed threes. The Celtics missed 11 of 18 shots in the fourth quarter. James, Bosh and Wade made 10 of 17.
James was too much, again and again. He wasnt hesitating this time. He was attacking. He was free.
I cant worry about what people say about me, about my game, about who I am as a person, James said. This whole season I got back to what Im capable of doing, and thats having fun and believing in myself and my teammates.