Ford Keys to the Game: Heat 82, Celtics 85

Ford Keys to the Game

Heat 82, Celtics 85

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Glen Davis, LeBron James

Glen Davis pleads with a referee after a ball was whistled as bouncing off of him, rather than LeBron James, and out of bounds.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

Boston’s offense couldn’t get anything going in the first half of this afternoon’s showdown against the Miami Heat and managed to make just 37.2 percent of its shot attempts over the first two quarters. The offense was stagnant and simply couldn’t score in its traditional halfcourt sets, so Rajon Rondo decided to change the pace when the second half began.

He was able to make that happen in the third quarter with the help of his teammates picking up their defense. Boston forced the Heat into misses on six of their first seven shots of the half. Those misses allowed Rondo to get out in transition and start his team’s offense before the Heat could set up their strong halfcourt defense. It couldn’t have paid off more, as the C’s strung together an enormous scoring run while the Heat struggled.

Boston began the half on a 12-1 run and dropped in the first eight shots it attempted. Those baskets came from four different Celtics as they shared the ball and displayed that team camaraderie that LeBron James recently acknowledged through the media.

The big run to begin the third quarter helped to morph Boston’s four-point deficit into a double-digit lead, much to the thanks of Rondo increasing the pace of the game. He totaled nine points, four rebounds and three assists in the quarter to spark the Celtics’ offense and change the outlook of this game.

Boston wound up shooting a whopping 83.3 percent (10-of-12) from the field in the quarter and sent Miami into the penalty early because of its constant effort to attack. Overall, the C’s outscored Miami 35-18 in the third, and although they were outscored by 10 in the final quarter, the cushion they built in the third was just enough to hang on for the win and secure a regular season series win against the Heat.

Key Box Score Line

Every triple-double is special, but when a player strings one together that completely invigorates his teammates in a statement win, it means that much more.

Rajon Rondo took it upon himself this afternoon to carry the Celtics to a huge win over the Miami Heat. Doc Rivers couldn’t help from acknowledging that fact during his postgame press conference.

“In a lot of ways, I thought Rondo just willed us the game,” said Rivers.

He finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to record his third triple-double of the season, but it wasn’t just the statistics that meant the world to the Celtics. Rondo energized his teammates by flipping the switch to attack mode in the third quarter. He picked the Heat apart with precision, and his heightened play was contagious for the rest of the players sporting green and white this afternoon.

In addition to attacking the Heat at every opportunity, he also wound up playing game-changing defense in a matchup the Celtics wouldn't typically be excited about. Rondo took instructions from his coach but completely misinterpreted them, and that resulted in him defending LeBron James for the majority of the second half.

“That wasn’t a set game plan for him to guard LeBron,” said Rivers. “We just wanted ball pressure and we talked about that at halftime. And Rondo took that upon himself [as] whoever was bringing the ball up, he was just going to guard and harass. And I thought that changed the game for us. I thought that energized us for a little stretch and I thought that’s why we won the game.”

In the end, Boston did win the game, and Rondo made that happen. Triple-doubles are always sweet, but this one must have tasted a bit sweeter than the others for the energetic point guard.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Neither team shot better than 42.3 percent from the field.
  • All five of Boston's starters grabbed at least five rebounds, led by Rajon Rondo's 10.
  • Rondo finished with a triple-double of 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
  • Each team had four starters attempt at least 10 field goals.
  • The teams combined to shoot 7-of-31 from 3-point range (4-of-15 by Boston, 3-of-16 by Miami).
  • Paul Pierce scored only one point and shot 0-of-10 from the field, including 0-of-5 from downtown.
  • Four of Boston's starters scored in double-figures, led by Kevin Garnett's 19.
  • Glen Davis (16 points) and Von Wafer (10 points), the only Celtic reserves to play more than five minutes, each individually outscored Miami's entire bench (eight points).
  • Kendrick Perkins scored a season-high 15 points and shot 7-of-9 from the free-throw line.
  • Garnett made all seven of his free throw attempts.
  • Dwyane Wade picked up a flagrant foul in the third quarter when he purposely body-checked Garnett after a play had already ended.
  • Boston outscored Miami by 17 in the third quarter, then Miami outscored Boston by 10 in the fourth quarter.
  • The Heat scored only seven fast break points.
  • Chris Bosh scored a game-high 24 points and also tied for the game-high in rebounds with 10.
  • Each team scored 36 points in the paint.
  • Outside of Miami's Big Three of Bosh, LeBron James (22 points) and Dwyane Wade (16 points), no Heat player scored in double-figures.
  • James committed four turnovers in the game and Wade committed six.
  • James led the Heat in assists with seven.
  • Rondo finished with a 10-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio (10 dimes, one turnover).
  • Six of the 11 Heat players who appeared in the game were whistled for exactly two fouls apiece.
  • Wade and Bosh combined to attempt only eight free throw attempts, making five.
  • James went to the line in the final seconds with a chance to tie the game but he bricked the first free throw.
  • The teams finished with nearly identical rebounding numbers: Miami had 32 defensive rebounds and nine offensive rebounds, while Boston had 31 defensive rebounds and nine offensive rebounds.

Quote of the Night

Doc Rivers on Rajon Rondo defending LeBron James: "And even (Assistant Coach) Lawrence (Frank) was like ‘We can’t do this!’ And I said, ‘You’re right, but we’re just going to keep doing it.’ "