NEW YORK -

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra almost needed a thesaurus to describe the brilliance of forward LeBron James in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday night.

"He was simply indefatigable," Spoelstra said.

James tied a playoff career high with 49 points, pacing the Heat to a 102-96 victory over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.

The Heat took a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, which moves back to Miami for Game 5 on Wednesday night.

"He was what was needed on the road," Spoelstra said. "That's what makes him the best player in the game, whatever is needed. It could be on either end of the game, and sometimes that means facilitating and sometimes that means going out of the box and scoring 49."

When he wasn't striking up a conversation with Jay Z and Beyonce, who sat courtside, James was scoring at will in a variety of ways. Despite sitting out nearly four minutes to start the second quarter, James scored 25 first-half points. He finished the night 16-for-24 from the field and 14-for-19 from the free-throw line. James missed his final free throw, which would have given him his first 50-point playoff performance.

"Whatever I needed to do to help us win is what needed to be done, offensively, defensively, being the leader that I am on the floor, trying to help us overcome any adversity the game presents," James said.

Spoelstra said he broached the idea of James sitting for a little in the fourth quarter. James, though, was having none of that.

"He asked me," James said with a smile. "I didn't know if he was serious or not, and what I told him I cannot say again."

For all the scoring James did, arguably his biggest play didn't end up on the stat sheet. It started a sequence that ended up with a dagger 3-pointer by forward Chris Bosh with 57.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Bosh missed back-to-back shots from beyond the arc before breaking a 94-all tie and giving the Heat a lead they would not relinquish.

"The biggest play after scoring that many points was getting off the ball," Spoelstra said. "It's a play he's been criticized (about) many times in our three years, for making that type of play that led to a hockey assist to CB. He was fantastic tonight."

James said he planned on attacking Kevin Garnett in the paint, but when he saw the Nets veteran forward rotate toward him, he kicked the ball to guard Mario Chalmbers, knowing what would follow.

"I already knew it was going to find CB," James said.

Bosh, who scored 12 points, was 1-for-5 from 3-point range before that, but he had full confidence to take the critical shot.

"I work on that shot tirelessly," Bosh said. "I'm always working on my shooting."

Nets guard Joe Johnson, who scored a team-high 18 points, missed a floater as James hit the floor with 40.9 seconds left. Miami guard Dwyane Wade (15 points) grabbed the rebound.

"I take pride in my defense just as much as I do offensively," James said. "I believe in one-on-one situations, I can stop anyone from scoring. ... I just wanted to put pressure on him and make him take a tough one, and he missed one. He missed two of them."

Johnson saw it differently.

"He flopped that last one," Johnson said. "I should have known they wouldn't call a foul, but I went into my shot anyway so I had plenty of time."