Boston, MA (Sports Network) - LeBron James quieted TD Garden with a 30-point first half and crushed the Celtics' spirits badly enough that he didn't need to close down the stretch.
The reason being, the Heat had already blown Boston out and rolled to a 98-79 victory on Thursday to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals.
With Miami facing elimination, a stone-faced James carried the load with game- highs of 45 points and 15 rebounds. He shot a sensational 19-of-26 from the field and never saw the bench until Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra decided a 22-point lead with a little over three minutes remaining was enough breathing room to give the superstar a rest.
Dwyane Wade chipped in 17 points and eight boards for Miami, which had lost three straight after taking the first two meetings.
The deciding game in the series will take place in Miami on Saturday with the winner securing a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals.
The Celtics shot just 1-of-14 from three-point range, and their leading scorer, Paul Pierce, was held to nine points on a porous 4-of-18 performance from the field.
Rajon Rondo scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half and added 10 assists, while Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett each netted 12 points in the one-sided setback.
For a game box score, click here
The Sports Network