The Miami Heat are one win away from their fourth straight conference finals after a 102-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.
LeBron James scored 49 points in a tremendous effort to lead the Heat to the victory. That set a new Heat playoff record eclipsing the old mark held by Dwyane Wade at 46.
James looked like he was set for a special night right from the start and that continued the entire game. James led the Heat on extended runs by himself at times and delivered a highlight reel dunk.
The first quarter featured a double technical involving Shane Battier and Paul Pierce only four minutes into the game. Pierce has been vocal on the court in the series and the two men went toe-to-toe briefly.
With 5:12 remaining in the quarter, the first break in action came after James and Alan Anderson exchanged some words. James got off to a hot start with 8 quick points in less than six minutes and apparently got Anderson’s attention with his hot hand.
The exchange earned both men a technical, and came after Anderson had words with Ray Allen in game three as well. The first quarter ended with Miami on top 27-22.
The second quarter began with James taking his customary rest and the Nets quickly took advantage of that by making it a tie game with nine minutes to play. Brooklyn would go on to take the lead while James continued to sit on the bench. With 7:28 left in the quarter, James would re-enter the game with the Nets leading 35-33. James made an impact quickly scoring four points and assisting on another basket.
By the time the Nets took a timeout at 5:35 remaining, the Heat held a one-point advantage. At the 2:57 mark, James put down an electrifying dunk that he was assisted on by Wade. The Nets took a timeout following the moment with the Heat up five. At the buzzer, James would have 25 points and the Heat had a 56-49 lead.
The second half began with a quick jump shot from Wade to make it a nine-point game but things changed by the time the first timeout was taken. In the midst of a 7-0 run, Brooklyn made it only a two-point game with 7:01 remaining. James continued his hot shooting in the third quarter scoring 12 straight points for the Heat at one point. In all, James had 15 points in the quarter and 40 for the game after three. As the teams headed to the final quarter, the Heat held a 79-76 advantage.
James stayed in the game to begin the fourth quarter which was a rare occurrence during the regular season. The Nets went on a fast 6-0 run to begin the fourth and had a three-point lead going into a Heat timeout. With 5:20 left in the fourth, the Heat maintained a two-point lead. Bosh hit a three-pointer 30 seconds earlier to give Miami that lead.
The Nets took a timeout with 3:10 remaining and the game locked at 92. Bosh would hit a trey with 57 seconds left to give Miami a three-point lead. The Heat would secure the victory with free throws as the clock winded down. James played the entire second half and the last few minutes with five fouls.
The Heat and Nets will tip-off game five on Wednesday from the American Airlines Arena.