LeBron James may no longer be the NBA's reigning MVP, but the Miami Heat forward left little doubt that he's still the best player in the world on Monday night. James scored 49 points to help the Heat to a 102-96 victory in Game 4 at Barclays Center. Miami now leads the series 3-1 and can advance to the Eastern Conference finals at home on Wednesday.
The fourth quarter was back and forth with plenty of lead changes, but Chris Bosh's three-pointer from the left corner to break a 94-94 tie with just under one minute left served as the final blow to Brooklyn's chances.
James finished with his most points in a playoff game as a member of the Heat by going 16-of-24 from the field with two assists and five rebounds. LeBron was aggressive from the game's onset, forcing his way to the rim for easy shots and getting to the foul line consistently. James took 18 of Miami's 26 free throw attempts on the night, making 14 of them. When he wasn't fouled, he would do something like this.
Despite James' dominance, Brooklyn fought hard throughout the second half thanks to a balanced scoring attack. Brooklyn had five players reach double-digits in scoring on the evening.
Paul Pierce powered the Nets with 16 points and seven rebounds. Pierce's and-one layup put Brooklyn up one with under five minutes left, but the Nets would not hold the lead again. Joe Johnson (18 points) and Deron Williams (13 points, seven assists) also starred for the Nets in the loss.
Miami shot 52.9 percent from the field after shooting over 63 percent from the floor in the first half. The Nets finished with more rebounds and assists, but had no answer for James through the night.
Dwyane Wade (15 points) and Chris Bosh (12 points) gave Miami the supplemental scoring it needed in the win. James had a chance to hit 50 points but missed a free throw with one second left in the game.