Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 90, Heat 99

Ford Keys to the Game

Celtics 90, Heat 99

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett soars in for a fast break slam during the second half of Boston's Game 1 loss.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

There were several key stretches during Sunday’s testy Game 1 showdown in Miami, including two that helped the Heat jump out to huge leads in the second and third quarters. Miami led by as many as 15 points in the second period and by 19 points early in the third frame, but a key moment in the fourth quarter is what holds the most importance.

We called this contest testy for a reason. James Jones hammered Paul Pierce with a foul on the right wing of Boston's offensive end of the court with 7:58 remaining in the game. Pierce threw a shot fake and drew the shooting foul when Jones came down hard on him with both arms, essentially wrapping Pierce up as Boston’s captain was clobbered.

Immediately after the foul was whistled, Pierce took exception to the play and let Jones know. Pierce approached Jones and, while voicing his displeasure, the two players’ faces bumped.

At first, it looked like a headbutt, but upon review it was simply a moment where Pierce’s face made contact with Jones’, and there was no malicious intent. The two were whistled for a double-technical for the quick spat.

At that moment, no one knew that the double-technicals, which negate each other and don’t result in any points, would hold so much meaning just 58 seconds later.

While Boston was at the offensive end of the floor at the seven-minute mark, Pierce set a screen on Dwyane Wade and the two collided with force. Wade was whistled for a foul and the two star players began to exchange words. Sensing that the game’s intensity was quickly rising, one of the game’s referees immediately stepped between Pierce and Wade to prevent any form of a scuffle from beginning. Words continued to be shared and, within seconds, yet another double-technical was whistled.

The double-technical is often used to curb tempers, and it was done so twice in a minute’s time during this game. Both occasions involved Pierce, and as a result of the two technicals he was ejected from the game.

Pierce headed back to the locker room with his team trailing by 13 points with exactly seven minutes remaining. That lead was eventually cut down to eight with 4:22 remaining after the C’s went on a quick 8-0 run.

Slicing the lead down to eight with more than four minutes left on the clock put the Celtics in a position to win this game, but without their leading scorer and captain, completing the comeback was nearly impossible. Had Pierce been in the game, the Celtics could conceivably be celebrating one of the greatest comebacks the NBA Playoffs has seen in years. Instead, he was forced to watch the final seven minutes from the locker room due to the two technical fouls, and his team came up short on the court.

Key Box Score Line

Most of the Celtics struggled to put the ball in the basket today, but not Ray Allen. He lit the Heat up for the fourth time this season and finished with a team-high 25 points on the afternoon.

Allen fired up 13 shots during his 39 minutes of playing time and canned nine of them. Three of his four misses came from 3-point range, where he shot 5-of-8. On top of the scoring, he also chipped in three rebounds, three assists and a steal.

For much of the game, Allen was the only reason why Boston didn’t have to raise the white flag and begin planning for Game 2 on Tuesday night. He carried the Celtics for the entire afternoon. The hope is that his hot shooting hand will continue to carry over for the remainder of this series, and that his teammates will eventually join him.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Despite the loss, in which the Celtics trailed by as many as 19 points, three of Boston's starters finished with a positive plus/minus rating.
  • Paul Pierce attempted a team-high 14 shots en route to his 16 points.
  • Ray Allen scored a team-high 25 points.
  • Dwyane Wade (38 points), LeBron James (22 points) and James Jones (25 points) combined to score 85 of Miami's 99 points.
  • Chris Bosh grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
  • Rajon Rondo's seven assists were a game-high.
  • Miami took nearly double the amount of free throws as Boston, finishing with a 32-18 advantage in that department.
  • Both teams grabbed 39 rebounds.
  • Pierce was ejected from the game in the fourth quarter for picking up two technicals, which came 58 seconds apart from each other. Both were the result of double-technicals.
  • Jones took a game-high 10 free throws and made all of them.
  • Both teams finished with seven steals.
  • Boston shot 12-of-24 from 3-point range.
  • The teams combined to score only 52 points in the paint, with each squad accounting for 26.
  • Jones' 25 points outscored the entire Boston bench, which totaled just 23 points.
  • Delonte West led Boston's reserves with 10 points and five rebounds.
  • Glen Davis finished with a whopping minus-21 in the plus/minus category.
  • Miami won the first and second quarter, and Boston won the third and fourth quarter.
  • Jermaine O'Neal (3-of-3), Allen (2-of-2), Rondo (2-of-2) and West (2-of-2) combined to shoot 9-of-9 from the free-throw line.

Quote of the Night

Glen Davis on the Celtics playing with poise: "We want to protect ourselves and stand up for ourselves, but at the same time we have to keep our composure and play the way we need to play."