"He was simply indefatigable," Spoelstra said.
James tied a playoff career high with 49 points, pacing the Heat to
a 102-96 victory over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.
The Heat took a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series,
which moves back to Miami for Game 5 on Wednesday night.
"He was what was needed on the road," Spoelstra said. "That's what
makes him the best player in the game, whatever is needed. It could
be on either end of the game, and sometimes that means facilitating
and sometimes that means going out of the box and scoring 49."
When he wasn't striking up a conversation with Jay Z and Beyonce,
who sat courtside, James was scoring at will in a variety of ways.
Despite sitting out nearly four minutes to start the second quarter,
James scored 25 first-half points. He finished the night 16-for-24
from the field and 14-for-19 from the free-throw line. James missed
his final free throw, which would have given him his first 50-point
"Whatever I needed to do to help us win is what needed to be done,
offensively, defensively, being the leader that I am on the floor,
trying to help us overcome any adversity the game presents," James
Spoelstra said he broached the idea of James sitting for a little in
the fourth quarter. James, though, was having none of that.
"He asked me," James said with a smile. "I didn't know if he was
serious or not, and what I told him I cannot say again."
For all the scoring James did, arguably his biggest play didn't end
up on the stat sheet. It started a sequence that ended up with a
dagger 3-pointer by forward Chris Bosh with 57.3 seconds left in the
Bosh missed back-to-back shots from beyond the arc before breaking a
94-all tie and giving the Heat a lead they would not relinquish.
"The biggest play after scoring that many points was getting off the
ball," Spoelstra said. "It's a play he's been criticized (about)
many times in our three years, for making that type of play that led
to a hockey assist to CB. He was fantastic tonight."
James said he planned on attacking Kevin Garnett in the paint, but
when he saw the Nets veteran forward rotate toward him, he kicked
the ball to guard Mario Chalmbers, knowing what would follow.
"I already knew it was going to find CB," James said.
Bosh, who scored 12 points, was 1-for-5 from 3-point range before
that, but he had full confidence to take the critical shot.
"I work on that shot tirelessly," Bosh said. "I'm always working on
[to top of second column]
Nets guard Joe Johnson, who scored a team-high 18 points, missed a
floater as James hit the floor with 40.9 seconds left. Miami guard
Dwyane Wade (15 points) grabbed the rebound.
"I take pride in my defense just as much as I do offensively," James
said. "I believe in one-on-one situations, I can stop anyone from
scoring. ... I just wanted to put pressure on him and make him take
a tough one, and he missed one. He missed two of them."
Johnson saw it differently.
"He flopped that last one," Johnson said. "I should have known they
wouldn't call a foul, but I went into my shot anyway so I had plenty
The Nets, who led by three in the fourth quarter, missed six
consecutive shots down the stretch before a put-back by forward
Mirza Teletovic cut the Heat's lead to 99-96 with 7.1 seconds left.
That would be as close as Brooklyn would get, though, as Miami
guard Ray Allen knocked down four free throws in the closing 10
seconds to ice the win and put the Heat on the brink of advancing to
the Eastern Conference final.
It was a crushing defeat for the Nets, who also received 16 points
from forward Paul Pierce and 13 apiece from guards Shaun Livingston
and Deron Williams.
"It's very disappointing," Johnson said. "We let one get away on
our home floor."
NOTES: The Nets outscored 44-42 points on points in the paint. ...
The Nets recorded 23 second-chance points, their highest figure in
any game this season. ... The Brooklyn bench had a 28-16 scoring
advantage, led by F Alan Anderson's 10 points. ... Game 4 picked up
where Game 3 left off with double technical fouls issued to Nets F
Paul Pierce and Heat F Shane Battier, then Nets F Alan Anderson and
Heat F LeBron James in separate incidents in the first quarter.
Anderson and Heat G Ray Allen received double techicals in the
fourth quarter of Game 3. ... Heat G/F James Jones competed in his
100th career playoff game. He played 13 scoreless minutes.
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