(MIAMI) — The Boston Celtics fought a good fight, but when the dust settled the Miami Heat had won Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals, 100-88, sending the Heat to their second NBA finals in two years.
The game was close until the end. The Celtics didn’t trail from the middle of the first quarter to the end of the third. They had a one point lead with eight minutes left, but then Miami’s stars came to play.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh scored a combined 20 points in those final eight minutes to close out the game.
LeBron James led all scorers with 31 points. He also added 12 boards in the win.
“Everybody was in tune today,” James said. “We wanted to give our fans a big win tonight and we were able to do that. Everybody had a big part of this win.”
Chris Bosh scored 19 points from off the bench and hit a career-high three 3-pointers.
LeBron James talked about the importance of Bosh.
“Every shot, every defensive play, every defensive rebound, his energy and his effort….we missed him,” James said of Bosh who missed nine playoff games with an oblique injury. “We’re happy to have him back at the right time.”
Rajon Rondo had his fourth triple-double of the postseason in the loss.
The Celtics loss may mark the end of the original “Big Three” (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen)
“Overall, I don’t know if I ever had a group like this,” Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. “I had a group in Orlando that I’m found of, the heart and hustle group. They’re very similar to that group.”
The Heat now play the Oklahoma City Thunder for the right to hold the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Game 1 is Tuesday in Oklahoma City. Tip-off is at approximately 9PM ET.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Seth Fiegerman, CNN