Ford Keys to the Game: Heat 72, Celtics 91

Ford Keys to the Game

Heat 72, Celtics 91

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Kevin Garnett

Brandon Bass lays in a layup during Boston's dominant win on Sunday.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

Now that was a domination.

The Boston Celtics ran away with a 91-72 victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon, and they did it with ease. The Celtics’ one-point deficit when the score was 4-3 was their only deficit of the game.

There was one stretch of the game, however, when Miami showed a glimpse of resistance. That stretch wound up turning into the Key Moment of the game.

Boston jumped out early and held onto a double-digit lead at the end of the first quarter. Immediately following Greg Stiemsma’s bucket that put the C’s ahead by 11 in the second quarter, Miami went on a quick run.

Of all people, Shane Battier was the one to spark the Heat. He scored seven points during a 17-6 run that tied the game up at 40-40 with 2:13 remaining in the second quarter.

Although the Celtics had dominated the game to that point, a comfortable lead has been squandered and this contest had turned into a dogfight. There were two ways the C’s could have responded at that point: they could have lost their composure and given the game away from that point on, or they could have regrouped and returned to the way they were playing for the majority of the first half.

They chose the latter.

After committing a turnover and missing two shots on their previous three possessions, the C’s got back on the board with a 15-foot jumper from Kevin Garnett to retake the lead at 42-40. LeBron James then helped the Celtics out by turning the ball over and fouling Paul Pierce as he put home a layup at the other end of the floor. That three-point play put the C’s ahead by five with 1:26 remaining in the half.

A five-point lead might sound minute, but those five points held a lot of weight. They gave the game’s momentum back to Boston and it stayed there for the remainder of the game. The C’s took complete control of the contest in the third quarter and wound up blowing Miami out, leading by as many as 29 points.

The ending to this game’s story could have been much, much different had Boston not responded the way it did. The Heat showed some fight in the second quarter, but the Celtics knocked them out.

Key Box Score Line

There are two positions of weakness on the Miami Heat: point guard and center. Rajon Rondo plays one of those positions, and he took advantage of his superiority today.

Rondo set the tone in today’s game by opening up the afternoon with 10 points in the first six-plus minutes of action. He finished the game with 16 points, but that’s not all he did.

No. 9 attacked Miami with reckless abandon all afternoon. He strung together a triple-double that added 11 rebounds and 14 assists to those 16 points. He also chipped in a blocked shot and committed only two turnovers in the game.

Want to know how dominant that performance is? Rondo’s 14 assists are 14 more than LeBron James dished out and just one less than Miami’s entire team accumulated. His 11 rebounds tied for the game high. His seven made field goals were more than every Heat player not named LeBron James.

There are some games when you can just tell early on that Rondo has taken his play up a few notches. Today was one of those games. He knew he had a drastic advantage against Miami’s point guards and he capitalized on it for 48 minutes.

Box Score Nuggets

  • LeBron James was held to zero assists in the game. It was the first time that has happened since Feb. 26, 2009, and it was only the second time it has happened in his entire career.
  • James led the Heat with 23 points.
  • Paul Pierce tied James for the game-high in scoring with 23 points of his own. It was the seventh straight game in which Pierce has scored at least 20 points.
  • Rajon Rondo dished out 14 assists, which was just one less than the entire Heat team distributed.
  • Rondo also notched his 18th career triple-double with totals of 16 points, 11 rebounds and 14 dimes.
  • All five of Boston's starters scored in double-figures, while just two did so for Miami.
  • Greg Stiemsma fouled out of his second straight game, but he did contribute six points, four rebounds, two steals and a block before heading to the bench.
  • Pierce, Avery Bradley and Stiemsma each grabbed two steals apiece.
  • The Celtics shot 20-of-22 from the free-throw line, led by a 10-of-10 performance from Brandon Bass.
  • Bass recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Bass and Rondo were the only two players in the game to record at least a double-double.
  • Chris Bosh scored just four points in the game on 2-of-11 shooting.
  • The Celtics outrebounded the Heat by a count of 49-47.
  • Three of Miami's starters, Bosh, Joel Anthony and Mario Chalmers, combined to score six points.
  • Shane Battier scored 11 points off the bench for Miami.
  • The Heat shot just 7-of-17 from the free-throw line and 3-of-16 from 3-point range.
  • The Celtics led by as many as 29 points.

Quote of the Night

Doc Rivers on Rajon Rondo's great play during nationally televised games: "Yeah, we’re just going to tell him we’re playing on ABC every day."