87 - 97 Final
  for this game

Miami's Big Three in NBA's final four as Heat eliminate Celtics

May 12, 2011 - 5:10 AM Miami, FL (Sports Network) - The Miami Heat are headed to the Eastern Conference finals after scoring the final 16 points of Game 5, knocking out the Boston Celtics with a 97-87 decision.

LeBron James polished off the series-ending flurry with the last 10 points, capping a 33-point night that put the Heat in the conference finals for the first time since Dwyane Wade lead the club to the NBA championship in 2006.

"You're not beating the Boston Celtics with one guy as the focal point of your offense," Wade said. "That's why I recruited and found help ... When you have another guy that's capable of doing what LeBron does it makes the game easier. He had my back in a big way. That's what we've been dong all year."

Wade was sensational in the close-out game as well, totaling 34 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, while Chris Bosh added 14 points and 11 boards.

The Celtics missed five shots and had three turnovers over the final 4:15, ending any chance at back-to-back conference titles. Ray Allen had a team-high 18 points in defeat.

"They played a great series, they tested us," Allen said. "I tip my hat to them and wish them luck going forward."

After the game, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers answered questions about his future with the team.

"I probably will [return next season]," said Rivers. "I've come to that over the last couple of weeks ... I want to win again here."

The Heat escaped TD Garden with an overtime victory in Game 4, giving them a 3-1 edge in the highly-anticipated series and a chance to advance in front of their home crowd on Wednesday.

They trailed, 87-81, on Nenad Krstic's deep jumper late in the fourth before turning on the defensive pressure and getting a big spark from James Jones before the triumvirate of James, Wade and Bosh took over.

After Wade made 1-of-2 from the foul line with 4:15 remaining, Kevin Garnett, who totaled 15 points and 11 rebounds, had a chance to extend Boston's lead to seven, but was short on a turnaround jumper from 13 feet.

Miami pushed the ball up the court, and Jones got a three-pointer to fall in transition for his only points of the game to pull the Heat within two.

Allen missed an open look from long range after a Boston timeout, and Bosh tied the game with a thunderous slam prior to grabbing a rebound on Paul Pierce's unsuccessful drive to the hoop.

James, who drained a big three-pointer late in regulation in Game 4, stroked another three that barely moved the net as it went through to give the Heat their first lead of the final frame.

The teams traded misses, and Pierce's cross-court pass on the break fell through Jeff Green's hands and out of bounds for a critical turnover.

James rattled in another three the next time down, then stripped Delonte West near midcourt and went in for an uncontested dunk.

The polarizing superstar fittingly closed out the series with a runner, as the Heat now look ahead to face either the top-seeded Chicago Bulls or Atlanta Hawks. Chicago can end their semifinal series with a win in Game 6 on Thursday.

"Part of the reason [Wade, Bosh and I] joined forces is because of the blueprint [Boston] laid a few years ago," James said. "Finally getting over the hump over this team, and with everything I did last summer with the 'Decision,' it means everything [to win]."

The Celtics came out hot, hitting 56 percent from the field in the first quarter, including a 5-for-7 effort from Garnett that carried them to a 24-16 lead after 12 minutes.

Wade had 11 points in the first, including a no-look shot over his shoulder while being fouled by Green, and added 12 more in the second, ending the half with a jumper near the foul line to cut the Heat's deficit to 49-47.

"[Wade] willed them to win. He carried them long enough for LeBron to knock us out," Celtics forward Glen Davis said.

The lead changed hands four times in the third, with Boston holding a slim 73-71 edge at its conclusion.

With all the attention surrounding the superstars of its team, it was West scoring six of the first 11 points of the fourth quarter, pushing Boston's lead to 81-74.

Game Notes

The Heat have won seven straight postseason games at the American Airlines Arena...Pierce was held to 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting...Rajon Rondo, clearly limited with back issues and an elbow he dislocated in Game 3, had just six points and three assists in 30-plus minutes...West ended with 10 points...Shaquille O'Neal, who played a big role in Miami's 2006 title run, did not play for Boston due to calf issues that have plagued him throughout the second half of the season...The Heat made more free throws (26) than Boston attempted (20)...Miami had 13 second-chance points to Boston's seven.