Heat 102, Celtics 107
In a back-and-forth battle that featured nine ties and nine lead changes, the feeling tonight in the Garden was that this one would come down to the final minutes no matter what. So when Boston got up by 10 points midway through the fourth quarter, no one let themselves get too excited.
Because if they did, they would have been shocked just a couple of minutes later.
After Miami called timeout to put a halt to the 6-0 run that Boston mounted to give them their 10-point lead, the Heat roared back into this one with a run of their own. Theirs, an 8-0 run, just happened to be quick -- 1:35 quick -- and cut the Celtics' lead to two.
The lead never crept higher than seven from that point on, and the two teams wound up entering the final 90 seconds in a one-possession game.
With the lead at two and Kendrick Perkins heading to the line after a Dwyane Wade foul, Doc Rivers substituted Tony Allen in for Eddie House. That might have been the best coaching move he made all night.
Perk made one of his two free throws, pushing the lead up to three with 1:22, and Wade took the ball up court hoping to slice the lead back down to one, or possibly even tie the game. Wade made his move at the top of the key and set up his defender, Tony Allen, for an oncoming screen. It looked as if Allen was on his way to being completely wiped out, but he somehow kept his body partially free from the screen. As he did so, he also managed to reach in and swipe the ball away from one of the best offensive players in the NBA right now.
Allen knocked the ball loose from Wade, took possession of it and turned to make his way up court. But before he could do so, Udonis Haslem, who was spread out on the ground in the same area, grabbed Allen and fouled him with 36.5 seconds remaining.
So now the player who was forced into the starting lineup in place of the injured Paul Pierce had the game's fate resting in his hands. It's only fitting, right?
Well the substitute starter did exactly what the regular starter usually does in these situations -- he came up clutch. Allen marched to the line and calmly sank both free throws, extending the lead to five points and essentially iced the game for Boston, giving the team its second consecutive win.
Key Box Score Line
It's difficult to ignore the game that Kevin Garnett had tonight, no matter how well Rajon Rondo played. Garnett pushed a triple-double with solid shooting, incredible passing and solid rebounding. He recorded six dimes in the first half alone and finished the night with nine. In only 30 minutes of playing time, those are some pretty hefty numbers..
Box Score Nuggets
- Each team scored at least 25 points in three quarters. Both team's exception to that was the third period.
- Boston had two players score at least 20 points, Ray Allen's team-high 23 and Rajon Rondo's 22.
- The game featured nine ties and nine lead changes.
- Each team scored 44 points in the paint.
- Rajon Rondo (14) and Kevin Garnett (nine) combined for 23 of the team's 29 assists.
- Ray Allen finished with a team-high seven rebounds.
- Dwyane Wade had a spectacular night with 30 points, five rebounds and 13 assists.
- Miami had six players score in double-figures.
- Boston outrebounded Miami 41-31, including 15 to six on the offensive glass.
- The Heat shot 52.1 percent in the game.
- Udonis Haslem scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting off the bench for Miami.
- Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen racked up 44:11 and 42:13 of playing time, respectively.
Quote of the Night
Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra gives an emotional take on what a tough back-to-back can be like for an NBA team: "You know right now for us, the fight has to be unconditional. In less than 24 hours we have to get back at it tomorrow and fight the fight again. We can't overwhelm ourselves with the context of the season, or the road trip, or these three losses. We just have to get ready for tomorrow."