An inspired LeBron James delivered the decisive blow with the last 10 points as the Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics 97-87 on Wednesday to book their place in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Celtics were expected to represent a major hurdle for the Heat but it was one they cleared with relative ease, winning the best-of-seven series 4-1. Miami will now sit back and await the winner between Chicago and Atlanta, with the Bulls holding a 3-2 lead in the series. In the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder pounded the Memphis Grizzlies 99-72 to seize control of their series 3-2. After a tight opening quarter that ended 17-17, the Thunder ran away from Memphis leading 46-35 at the half and building a 19-point advantage after three quarters that the Grizzlies could not claw back. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 19 points while Daequan Cook had 18 off the bench. Marc Gasol had 15 for the Grizzlies, who will host Game Six today. Facing elimination, the Celtics battled hard from the tip-off but in the final quarter they had no answer to the Heat’s ‘Big Three’ of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. After Bosh had tied the game at 87-87 with a thundering dunk, James put his stamp on the contest by dropping two three-pointers from the arc. The twice NBA MVP then added a dunk on a Boston turnover and a layup that touched off wild celebrations at the American Airlines Arena.