Bosh shoots Boston out of playoffs with big Game 7

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Bosh shoots Boston out of playoffs with big Game 7

MIAMI LeBron James may have been the best player in the Eastern Conference finals, but the biggest reason for their 101-88 Game 7 clinching win over the Boston Celtics?

Chris Bosh!

His 19 points off the bench, maybe more than anything else done by the Heat, was what catapulted them into the NBA Finals for the second straight season.

"Game ball automatically goes to him," said LeBron James. "Without his production tonight, we don't win."

Among his 19 points was not one, not two, but three, 3-pointers.

Boston led most of the first quarter, but Bosh tied the game at 30 with a 3-pointer. With the score tied at 73 going into the fourth, Bosh hit a 3-pointer that put the Heat ahead, 76-75, less than a minute into the quarter. His last 3-pointer came at the 7:17 mark, and it was indeed the biggest one of the night.

It gave Miami an 86-82 lead, the first time either team led by more than one possession in the quarter. From there, the Heat continued to pull away for the win that advances them to the NBA Finals where they'll face the Oklahoma City Thunder.

To put Bosh's 3-ball of a game in perspective, consider this:

He only made 10 3's throughout the entire season, in 35 attempts.

James said he recognized how Kevin Garnett would slide over towards the paint to try and limit his driving ability to the lane.

"So when I seen that happen," James said, "I just kicked it to him, and he just lined it up and made it."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said there was a reason behind Bosh getting so many good looks on those corner 3's.

"We needed Bosh's guy to help slow down LeBron, if you want to simplify it," Rivers said.

Despite his lack of 3's during the regular season, Bosh says it has been a shot that's been in his repertoire all season.

"I've been practicing those things all year," he said. "We kind of knew in big-game situations that they were going to be open, and I would be able to shoot it without hesitation."

And shoot it he did.

And with it, he shot the Celtics out of the playoffs for the second straight season.

"Listen, if that's what's going to beat you, if you had told me that before the game - not taking anything away from Bosh, he can shoot - but when their five (center) is beating you with the 3-point shot honestly, I think we would take it," Rivers said. "He was the X-factor. He gave them exactly what they needed."

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

BOSTON -- On more than one occasion Monday night, the Boston Celtics were a discombobulated bunch with some players thinking they were running one play, while others were thinking the play called was something totally different.
 
You see that stuff in the preseason and to a certain extent in the regular season for a lot of teams. It is in those moments that we’re reminded that this Boston Celtics team is a work in progress on so many levels.
 
Because of that, we all need to hit the pause button when talking about them as a team inching closer towards Eastern Conference supremacy.
 
After the first month of the season, they have yet to show that they are going to be better than last season’s 48-win ball club.
 
The big problem a year ago was the offense bogging down and for the most part, not making shots. This year, it’s the team’s defense that has let them down on many nights.
 
And with that comes a sobering reminder this crew is good, but at best are maybe top-five in the East.
 
As a team on the rise, beating teams you’re not supposed to has to happen with some semblance of regularity.
 
There were only three teams on the Celtics’ docket this season thus far that they should have been beaten by without there being any argument: Golden State, San Antonio and Cleveland.
 
They were beaten in all three, two of which (Golden State and Cleveland) had final scores that did not indicate the level of dominance they had over the Celtics.
 
The average margin of defeat in the three games was 9.3 points, but two of them (San Antonio and Golden State) were at the TD Garden, which is supposed to be the equalizer for upset-minded teams.
 
But in each game, Boston put up a decent fight only to fail to emerge victorious.
 
The struggles against the upper echelon teams of the NBA has nothing to do with not having a superstar or a great rebounder or any of the kazillion reasons/excuses offered up as to why they’re not better.
 
It’s hunger.
 
It’s effort.
 
It’s about being blinded by the internet clicks that tout them as one of the best teams in the East, and them not seeing the danger that comes with embracing all that patting on the back.
 
It makes you soft.
 
It makes you fat and happy.
 
And maybe most significant, it creates a false sense of arrival before you’ve left the tarmac.
 
That’s where the Boston Celtics are right now: a team that seems to have forgotten why they were the team nobody wanted to play last year.
 
It wasn’t that teams feared playing them. It was the fact that they knew playing the Celtics would be tough, and it would force them to play a lot closer to their full potential than they were used to if they wanted to win.
 
It was because everyone knew that to beat the Celtics, you don’t have a choice but to play hard because you damn well knew they would.
 
Not anymore.
 
They bring that toughness to the game in small doses, like an intra-venous drip full of hope and promise, providing just enough to life to keep their fans optimistic but not nearly enough to kill the noise of their haters and critics.
 
And while the season is still young, the Celtics need to start racking up some quality wins.
 
Right now, their most impressive win is a toss-up between beating Charlotte 104-98 on Oct. 29, or a 94-92 win at Detroit on Nov. 19.
 
Boston plays at Orlando on Wednesday, a team that’s likely to be back in the lottery again. But after that, they travel back to Boston where they’ll host Toronto -- a game that they desperately need to not only to pad their win total but also provide a much-needed boost of energy and confidence going forward.

The Celtics have to find that hunger, that collective desire that we’ve seen in the past which has propelled them to greater heights than we’ve seen thus far.
 
Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford… you can go down the roster and the mission for all of them has to be the same: play harder, for longer, and be smarter about it, because this team has too much collective talent to be just three games above .500.
 
At 12-9, Boston is third in the East and trail conference-leading Cleveland by three games for the best record in the conference. But then you look at the teams behind the Celtics and realize that they’re only two games out of having the ninth-best record in the East.
 
It speaks in part to the season still being in its infancy stage. But it’s also telling as to how Boston does not have a huge margin of error when it comes to losing winnable games.
 
And as we’ve seen thus far, the Celtics can play with any team in the NBA and hold their own.
 
But beating them is a totally different narrative that this squad has yet to write.