Wade finally got on the board with a jumper to open the second, but he seemed strangely passive even with Miami trying to save its season.
No matter. James didn't need the help.
He had consecutive baskets for a 15-point lead and came up with a basket every time the Celtics tried to get any rhythm. He soared high above the rim — and any other player — for a follow dunk after the Celtics had crept within eight in the final 2 minutes of the half. Miami led 55-42 at the break.
James made 12 of his first 13 shots before missing from the perimeter on his final attempt of the half.
Only Rondo kept it from being a blowout, scoring 19 points and adding five assists in the half. Relishing the challenge, he even emulated Garnett by doing a couple of knuckle pushups after being knocked to the court while drawing a foul, but he couldn't keep up with James and needed some help that never arrived.
The Celtics, trying desperately for one last championship before the expected breakup of their Big Three, hope this one doesn't get added to recent series losses against Orlando in 2009 and the Lakers in the NBA finals in 2010, when they lost Game 6s with chances to win series and then fell in Game 7.
James' first basket of the third quarter increased the lead to 17 points, and from there it was just a matter of coming up with another score any time the Celtics tried to make a run.
Boston never came close, and when a 3-pointer by Shane Battier made it 81-63 with 10:19 to play, Rivers spent part of a timeout standing alone on the court with his arms folded, leaving it to the players to try to come up with an answer that wasn't there.
Bosh entered with 5 ½ minutes left in the first quarter of his second game back after missing nine with a lower abdominal strain, finishing with seven points and six rebounds.
Notes: James is the first player to score at least 25 points against the Celtics in eight consecutive postseason games since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from April 28, 1974, to May 27, 1984. ...The NBA playoff record for points in a half is 39, set by Golden State's Eric "Sleepy" Floyd on May 10, 1987, against the Lakers. Floyd finished with 51 points. ... The Heat switched to their red road jerseys after losing in the black here earlier in the series.
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