Rajon Rondo says LeBron James broke Celtics with 45-point game in 2012 playoffs

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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Former Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo revealed that LeBron James’ 45-point game in the 2012 playoffs broke Boston.

James, who was playing for the Miami Heat at the time alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, helped the Heat win the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston in seven games that season.

Miami went on to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals, and James earned Finals MVP honors. It was the first title for James in his storied career.

“We had a strong team that year,” Rondo said. “And the guys that he had with him were good, but they weren’t good enough. And he went and regrouped, made a great decision, moved to Miami, and he end up breaking us.

“When he came back in the Garden and dropped 46? It was a closeout. We had them. And then he came in the Garden, and he was unstoppable.”

James’ performance in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012 is one of his many legendary playoff games. The now-Los Angeles Lakers star shot 19-for-26 from the field in that game (2-for-4 from beyond the arc) and grabbed 15 rebounds while dishing out five assists.

To beat Boston – who still was a great team at the time with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett – on the road was extremely impressive. Miami ended up winning that game by 19 points and then went on to win by 13 in Game 7 at home to take the series.

After losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals the previous season, James dominated Oklahoma City in the NBA Finals in 2012. He averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game in the five-game series.

Rondo and the Celtics won a title over the Lakers earlier in the guard’s career, but the team did not make it back to the Finals with that core after James took the team down in 2012.

Rondo ended up playing with James later in his career in Los Angeles, and the two won a title together in the 2019-20 season in the NBA’s Orlando, Fla. bubble.

That was the fourth title of James’ career — and the 10th time he’s made the NBA Finals.

While James was only in Miami for four seasons, he left a lasting impact on the franchise, taking the Heat to four NBA Finals and winning two titles.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.