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TRACKER RESULTS FOR SATURDAY 6/8/12: END OF CONFERENCE FINALS
Lebron James scored 31 points and Dwayne Wade added 23 as the Miami Heat blew out the Boston Celtics 101-88 at the American Airlines Arena winning the Eastern Conference Finals 4-3 and advancing to their second straight NBA Finals. James shot just 9/21 (43%) overall but sank 12/17 (71%) from the free throw line and collected a team high 12 rebounds. Wade shot 8/17 (47%) and converted 7/8 (88%) from the charity stripe while hauling down 6 rebounds and handing out 6 assists. Chris Bosh was a huge factor for Miami contributing 19 points on 8/10 (80%) overall including 3/4 (75%) from 3 point range totalling 8 rebounds in all. Shane Battier also found the range with some big shots down the stretch finishing with 12 points on 4/9 (44%) overall all from beyond the arc. Miami shot 51% overall including 9/26 (35%) from 3 point range and converted 20/27 (74%) from the foul line. The Heat recorded just 16 assists and committed 13 turnovers but outrebounded the Celtics 38-33. Rajon Rondo led all 5 starters in double figures with 22 points along with 10 rebounds and 14 assists on 10/22 (45%) from the field. Paul Pierce added 19 but shot only 7/18 (39%) overall and Brandon Bass contributed 16 on 6/8 (75%) from the floor. The Celtics shot 47% overall including 6/19 (32%) from 3 point range and converted 12/15 (80%) from the free throw line. Boston ran out to a 23-14 lead, before the Heat settled down and tied it twice in the second quarter, the last of those at 35-all with 6:50 left. It was then that Garnett left with his third foul. Heat on a run, Garnett going to the bench, so momentum Miami, right? Not quite. Bass scored 10 points in a stretch of just over 3 minutes to spark a 14-3 run, with the Celtics scoring three times off turnovers in that stretch. Allen waltzed in unbothered for a layup with 22 seconds left in the half, and Boston took a 53-46 lead into the break. And the least surprised person in the arena was Doc Rivers, who sensed at the morning shootaround that his team would be sharp for Game 7. Just in the end, Miami was sharper. Six games decided nothing, and nothing was decided in Game 7 until the very last moments, neither team yielding much of anything. Battier's 3-pointer with 8:06 left in the third cut Boston's lead at the time to 59-57. For the next 13 minutes, a span of 46 dizzying, unbelievable possessions, neither team led by more than two points. That finally changed when Bosh his third 3-pointer with 7:17 left. James made a runner on the next Miami trip, and suddenly the Heat had their biggest lead of the night to that point, 88-82 with 6:54 remaining. James made a 3-pointer -- it went into the books as a 30-footer, as he leaped from atop one of the Eastern Conference finals stickers on the floor -- as the shot clock was expiring with just under 6 minutes left, making it 91-84. Bosh scored from inside the lane to end that possession. Wade scored on the next one, the lead was 95-86 with 3:23 left, Boston called time and the building was simply rocking. James did plenty of talking on the Heat bench in that stoppage, clearly saying the word "Finish" at one point. They listened. A three-point play by Wade with 2:53 left all but sealed it, the Heat were up 12, and Oklahoma City beckoned. Miami opens the title series in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. The Heat got there by outscoring Boston 28-15 in the fourth quarter, with the "Big Three" of Dwyane Wade, Bosh and James scoring every Miami point. When Heat President Pat Riley was shown on the giant overhead video screen in the moments just after the final buzzer, the crowd screamed. Riley finally acknowledged them with some claps, before the 2012 Eastern Conference champions logo was shown as players below the scoreboard high-fived and hugged, all wearing the new T-shirts and caps that marked the accomplishment. Veterans like Ray Allen (15 points) and Kevin Garnett (14 points) and the rest of the Boston Celtics core four are now left wondering what might have been with a return trip to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2008. There will be plenty of questions in the offseason on where this veteran team goes from here. Tonight, game 1 of the NBA Finals takes place at the Chesapeake Arena with the Miami Heat taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder at 9pm EST on ABC.