LeBron James had 49 points. Let us just get that out of the way right now. He was brilliant, amazing, incredible, unstoppable and everything else that comes with James. OK, maybe that does not describe a 49-point, 16-for-24 shooting, 14-for-19 free throw performance. That is a 75.7 percent true shooting percentage. Something that is just insane.
James battled the Nets in a game of hero ball down the stretch. No one else on the Heat was getting anything else going.
So he played the ultimate decoy — the screener on a pick and roll. That helped James establish deep post position in a tie game. The Nets defense predictably collapsed and he fed it out to Mario Chalmers. Chalmers found Chris Bosh in the corner for the go-ahead 3-pointer and a 102-96 win. Bosh had missed two 3-pointers on the previous possession of a tie game.
That might be the difference for James. He understood what the correct play was in that situation. He chased his points and carried the team for 47 of the 48 minutes. He probably carried the Heat for that final minute too. But in order to take that commanding 3-1 series lead over the Nets, it took him trusting his teammates.
That has been a clear lesson throughout this postseason. And that is why the Heat are the champs and defending their title well despite all the issues they have faced this postseason.
Now they stand a win away from the NBA’s final four.