Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 77, Heat 100

Ford Keys to the Game

Celtics 77, Heat 100

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

LeBron James, Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce wraps his arms around LeBron James to force a jumpball situation in the first half of Sunday's game in Miami.
Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

The Boston Celtics went into halftime of this afternoon’s game in Miami trailing by just seven points. The good news that could be pulled from that 47-40 score was that the C’s were most definitely still in the game. The bad news was that it felt as if they weren’t.

Though it was just a seven-point advantage for Miami, the Heat had noticeably outplayed Boston for nearly the entire first half. That trend continued in the opening moments of the second half, and that’s when the Heat put this game away.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas got the third quarter’s scoring underway when he hit a 19-foot jumper from the top of the key off of a LeBron James pass. Paul Pierce quickly answered back with a deep jumper of his own at the other end, but the Celtics’ defense couldn’t make it count.

James took a pass from Mike Bibby just 12 seconds after Pierce’s jumper and put home an easy layup to bump his team’s lead back up to nine. Pierce missed a jumper for Boston, and then Bibby canned a 3-pointer for his first points of the game on Miami’s next possession. That trey from Bibby gave Miami its largest lead of the game to that point, at 54-42. It took the Heat just 1:37 of the third quarter to take their halftime lead of seven all the way up to 12.

The Celtics got two points from a Kevin Garnett dunk on their next possession, but the Heat continued to pour it on from there. They scored the next two baskets to cap their 11-4 run to open the second half, which doubled their halftime lead from seven up to 14.

All five of Miami’s baskets that came during that run were assisted, which is very indicative of how well it performed as a unit this afternoon. Boston, meanwhile, missed three shots and committed a turnover during that stretch.

Once the lead was up to 14 for Miami, the Heat players put a stranglehold on this contest. Boston eventually fell behind by as many as 23 points and trailed by less than double-digits for a total of only two minutes and 30 seconds of the second half.

Key Box Score Line

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were the only Celtics who had it going this afternoon, and Pierce wound up with the most impressive performance of the two. He finished with team-highs of 24 points and seven rebounds (tied with Glen Davis) while shooting a very efficient 9-of-14 from the field. Pierce canned three of his five 3-pointers and also made all three of his free throws.

In addition to his scoring and rebounding, Boston’s captain chipped in two assists and two steals during his 34 minutes of action. As shocking as it sounds, Pierce wound up as the only Celtics player to not finish with a negative plus/minus rating. He finished the game with a rating of exactly zero, meaning neither team outscored the other while he was on the court.

There wasn’t much positive to take from this game, but it was certainly good to see Pierce trying to put the team on his back and will them to a victory on the road.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Kevin Garnett (9-of-15) and Paul Pierce (9-of-14) shot nearly exactly the same from the field.
  • Pierce recorded team-highs of 24 points and seven rebounds. Glen Davis also grabbed seven boards.
  • Garnett finished with 21 points.
  • Boston committed 19 turnovers and 18 fouls.
  • Dwyane Wade (14 points) and Chris Bosh (13 points) combined to equal LeBron James' scoring total of 27 points.
  • Miami finished with 24 assists, while Boston racked up only 16.
  • Boston was outscored 44-26 in the paint and 12-3 in fast break points.
  • Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who finished with a plus/minus of zero, was the only Heat player to not finish with a positive in that rating.
  • Oddly enough, Pierce, who also finished with a plus/minus of zero, was the only Celtics player to not finish with a negative in that rating.
  • Miami doubled Boston's rebounding total, with a final tally of 42 to the Celtics' 26.
  • Wade (eight assists) and James (seven assists) both outassisted Rajon Rondo, who led the C's with five dimes.
  • Both teams made six 3-pointers. Boston shot 6-of-13, while Miami shot 6-of-18.
  • Joel Anthony led the game with 10 rebounds, including four at the offensive end.
  • Boston's bench was outscored 32-12.
  • Boston's reserves committed only two turnovers.
  • In addition to their near-identical shooting numbers, Pierce and Garnett both also finished with two assists and two steals apiece.
  • Pierce, Garnett and Ray Allen (13 points) were the only Celtics players to score more than seven points in the game.
  • Miami's largest lead was 23, while Boston's was nine.

Quote of the Night

Paul Pierce on the frustration that offensive rebounds (for the opponent) can lead to: "It is very deflating when you have to guard D. (Dwyane) Wade, LeBron (James), and Chris Bosh for 18 seconds during the possession and then they get the offensive rebound and you have to do it all over again."