Ford Keys to the Game

Celtics 107, Heat 120

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Jeff Green, Dwyane Wade

Jeff Green hovers in the air horizontally as Dwyane Wade fouls him.
Chris Trotman/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

The Miami Heat led the Boston Celtics 81-73 with 3:36 remaining in the third quarter when Mike Miller checked into the game for Dwyane Wade. Miller’s entrance, which was his first appearance of the game, ensured that the Heat would play the rest of the quarter without the services of Wade or reigning MVP LeBron James.

Just the time to make a run if you’re the Celtics, right?

Not.

Boston squandered away a great opportunity to change the course of the game when it allowed four players not named Wade or James to blow the game open.

Chris Bosh began Miami’s important run by making a turnaround hook shot with 3:25 remaining in the third, putting the Heat ahead 83-74. Rashard Lewis, who looks the part of an important offseason pickup for the Heat, then drilled a jumper from 12 feet out to give the Heat an 11-point advantage.

The Celtics temporarily responded with a floater in the paint from Rajon Rondo, but Miami would not relinquish its momentum. The Heat went on to score the final eight points of the quarter on baskets from four different players and carried a 17-point lead into the fourth.

Doc Rivers pointed to that exact sequence as a game-changer when he spoke to the media after Tuesday’s game.

“I thought that was the biggest stretch of the game,” said Rivers. “I think they increased the lead by 10 with LeBron and Wade off the floor. That should never happen.”

But it did, and that’s why the Celtics sit at 0-1 on the season.

Key Box Score Line

It didn’t take long for Leandro Barbosa to display why the Celtics picked him up in October. Barbosa came off the bench to score 16 points in less than 16 minutes of action on Tuesday night.

Barbosa shot 6-of-8 from the floor, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range. He also chipped in a rebound and an assist while he was on the court.

The Celtics used him as an offensive sparkplug and the veteran guard delivered. Barbosa’s offense provided a much-needed boost for Boston and the team responded by nearly overcoming a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Miami scored 31 points in each of the first three quarters.
  • Two players from each team (Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo from the Celtics, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade from the Heat) scored at least 20 points.
  • Wade scored a game-high 29 points on a game-high 22 shot attempts.
  • Two Celtics, Rondo (20 points, 13 assists) and Brandon Bass (15 points, 11 rebounds) recorded double-doubles.
  • Kevin Garnett nearly logged a double-double as well with nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
  • Both teams scored six second-chance points.
  • The Celtics outrebounded the Heat 41-36.
  • Garnett committed a game-high five turnovers.
  • Leandro Barbosa (16 points in 16 minutes) was the only Celtics player to finish with a positive plus/minus rating, at plus-four.
  • Boston scored 27 fast break points to Miami's 12.
  • Ray Allen scored 19 points for the Heat on just seven shot attempts.
  • Both teams shot at least 52.0 percent from the field, at least 46.2 percent from 3-point range, and at least 81.3 percent from the free-throw line.

Quote of the Night

Paul Pierce on the Celtics' defense: "That's not who we are. The way we defended tonight, we're not going to be a team that's going to give up 120 points... we've got to establish our identity and who we are."