BOSTON — Miami’s Big Three was assembled for just this purpose: To dominate the bullies from Boston who knocked them from the playoffs so many times before.
LeBron James scored 35 points, Dwyane Wade had 28 and Chris Bosh had 20 on Monday night to give the Heat a 98-90 overtime victory over the Celtics and move Miami within one game of the Eastern Conference finals. The Heat lead the best-of-seven East semifinals 3-1, with a chance to close out the series in Miami on Wednesday.
“Wednesday night will be our greatest challenge that we’ve had with this group so far,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We’ll get their best games on Wednesday. And we have to be better. If we’re real about what we want to do, we have to beat the Boston Celtics at their best.”
One game after their worst performance as a threesome, James, Wade and Bosh had 83 of Miami’s 98 points and 35 of its 45 rebounds. They scored all 12 of Miami’s points in overtime; Bosh and Wade had five apiece after James’ fallaway jumper on the Heat’s first possession of the extra period gave them the lead for good.
“We’re the guys. We’re the ones who get all the attention. We’re the ones that get all the praise,” Wade said. “This team is going to go as far as us three takes it.”
Paul Pierce scored 27, Ray Allen had 17 and Kevin Garnett had seven points and 10 rebounds for Boston. Rajon Rondo, who dislocated his left elbow Saturday night in Game 3, played 39 minutes with a padded sleeve covering what appeared to be a brace on his left arm, scoring 10 with five assists.
The Celtics would need to win the next three games — two in Miami — to have a chance to defend their Eastern Conference championship.
“These are those moments. I look forward to it,” Allen said. “Everybody on this team, we know what to do. We can’t talk about it; we just have to put our best foot forward. It’s not easy. It just makes it that much more special if we’re able to do it.”
Boston has reached the NBA Fnals in two of the last three seasons, both times knocking James and the Cavaliers out along the way. The Celtics eliminated the Heat last year one round after knocking Cleveland out and sending James on the journey that landed him in Miami.