Ballin’: Miami’s Big 3 Earning Their Mettle

As the waning seconds ticked away in Miami’s 98-90 overtime victory over Boston in the East semis, Pat Riley sat center court along the visitor’s baseline, beaming like a proud father who’d just witnessed his child reach the point of maturation.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh didn’t exactly accomplish what they were ultimately conceived to do at The Garden Monday night, but their gut-checking triumphant over the champion Celtics could go a long way in the growth process.

In taking a commanding 3-1 series lead, the Heat got 83 of their 98 points from the trio of James (35 points), Wade (28) and Bosh (20). The Big Three also scored all 12 Miami points in the overtime and grabbed 35 of the team’s 45 rebounds.

And Riley, the architect behind this game-changing ensemble, had flown to Boston for this express purpose, to challenge his charges to seize their moment, exude them to take their rightful places in history by exorcising the demons the Celtics have come to be for them over all these years.

“One of the biggest games of my career,” said James said in the aftermath. “D-Wade had lost 11 straight in this building. I haven’t had much success in this building. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves …”

Added Wade: “We’re the ones who get all the attention. We’re the ones that get all the praise. This team is going to go as far as us three takes it.

On this night, it was enough to get them past the hated Celts, one step closer to the Promise Land they covet. And it was enough to afford Pat Riley a sigh.

Game 5 is Wednesday night in Miami. —Glenn Minnis

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