BOSTON, June 7 (UPI) -- LeBron James took over in a potentially career-defining game Thursday and lifted Miami to a 98-79 win over Boston that stretched their series to the limit.
With his team facing elimination from the playoffs, James scored 30 points in the first half and 45 overall.
James has received criticism for not coming through in clutch situations since leaving Cleveland for Miami last season. He demonstrated from the opening tip Thursday that he was going to be the difference and wound up taking one out of every three of his team's shots from the field.
He scored 14 of Miami's 26 points in the opening period, sending the Heat to a 10-point lead, and kept up the pressure throughout the contest while playing 44 minutes.
James made 19-of-26 shots, grabbed 14 rebounds, was credited with five assists and turned the ball over only three times despite being in the center of the action throughout the game.
Boston made just 1-of-14 attempts from 3-point range, wiping out the Celtics' hopes of keeping pace.
After winning Game 5 in Miami to take a lead in the series, Boston must do the same thing on Saturday to capture the Eastern Conference title. The seventh game of the series is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EDT with the winner of that one taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder for the NBA championship.
Dwyane Wade added 17 points for the Heat and no other Miami player reached double digits in scoring.
Chris Bosh, playing for the second time since missing nine games with an abdominal strain, scored seven points while playing 27 minutes.
Rajon Rondo had 21 points to lead Boston, but the Celtics shot just 42 percent from the field and were outrebounded by 10.
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