Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 88, Heat 101
Celtics 88, Heat 101
There are some basketball plays that make a team think, “This just isn’t our night.” The Boston Celtics experienced such a thought on the worst possible night of their season.
They hung in through thick and thin during Game 7 but the Miami Heat took over down the stretch. One shot set off an 11-2 run that put the game away, and that shot came from 31 feet from the basket.
LeBron James’ conscience didn’t seem to come into play with 5:43 remaining in the game. That’s when he rose up for a 3-pointer from 31 feet out that swished right through the net. He knew it, the Celtics knew it, and everyone watching the game knew it: that play was a game-changer.
“That was a back-breaker,” said Doc Rivers.
As previously stated, Miami went on to string together an 11-2 run over the next four-plus minutes of action to take a commanding 99-86 lead with 1:23 remaining. When that run was completed, the realization began to settle in: Boston's season was coming to an end.
It wasn't as if the Celtics gave up after James' shot fell through the basket, but there was just a general sense that Game 7 was not Boston's to be had. Nearly everything went Miami's way over the final six minutes of the game, and the biggest break of them all was when James drilled the shot that broke Boston's back.
Key Box Score Line
It’s rare for an NBA player to record a triple-double. It’s even more rare for that player’s team to lose, particularly when his name is Rajon Rondo.
Rondo had a sensational night in Game 7, posting a triple-double of 22 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists. He attempted a team-high 22 shots, making 10, while playing a team-high 43:33.
Boston headed into Saturday night’s do-or-die contest having won 21 of the 22 career games in which Rondo had recorded a triple-double. That record now drops to 21-2 thanks to the Heat.
Box Score Nuggets
- All five of Boston's starters scored at least 14 points, led by Rajon Rondo's 22 points.
- Rondo led the team in points (22), rebounds (10) and assists (14).
- LeBron James recorded game highs of 31 points and 12 rebounds.
- Miami attempted a whopping 26 3-pointers, making nine.
- Chris Bosh totaled 19 points and eight rebounds off the bench for Miami.
- Both teams committed 13 turnovers.
- No player in the game recorded more than one blocked shot. Five players blocked one shot.
- Boston's bench scored just two points.
- Shane Battier shot 4-of-9 from the field, and all of those shots came from 3-point range.
- The Celtics actually outscored the Heat in the paint (44-42) and in second-chance points (14-9) and tied Miami in fast-break points (12-12).
- Boston's scoring decreased in every quarter while the Heat's stayed steady or increased in every quarter.
- There were 20 lead changes and 10 ties.
- Boston was whistled for 24 fouls, compared to just 14 on the Heat.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on his team's struggles in the fourth quarter of Game 7: "Honestly, I just thought we had nothing left. That's how it felt as a coach. I was trying to push every button we possibly had."