Looking Back On The HEAT-Celtics Playoff Rivalry

The Best Moments From 2011 & 2012
HEAT-Celtics Playoff Collage
by Joe Beguiristain

With the 2019-20 season suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, things have been rather dull in the sports world. Luckily enough, the NBA granted everyone a free preview of NBA League Pass until April 22, and NBA TV will be airing classic games and series throughout.

And well, you may want to tune in on Friday.

Starting at 6AM EDT (Yes, it’s early, but what else are you doing?), the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals and 2012 Eastern Conference Finals between the HEAT and Celtics will be broadcast.

Here's the full schedule per NBA TV:

  • 6:00AM ET Celtics at HEAT, Game 1 2011
  • 7:00AM ET Celtics at HEAT, Game 2 2011
  • 8:00AM ET HEAT at Celtics, Game 3 2011
  • 9:00AM ET HEAT at Celtics, Game 4 2011
  • 10:00AM ET Celtics at HEAT, Game 5 2011
  • 11:00AM ET Celtics at HEAT, Game 1 2012
  • 12:00PM ET Celtics at HEAT, Game 2 2012
  • 1:00PM ET HEAT at Celtics, Game 3 2012
  • 2:00PM ET HEAT at Celtics, Game 4 2012
  • 3:00PM ET Celtics at HEAT, Game 5 2012
  • 4:00PM ET HEAT at Celtics, Game 6 2012
  • 5:00PM ET Celtics at HEAT, Game 7 2012

A couple select regular season games and the 2012 ECF will be re-aired once again later in the day.

You remember those battles, don’t you?

Thanks to stifling defense, Miami dispatched Boston in five games in 2011, while LeBron James put on a performance for the ages in Game 6 of the 2012 ECF to swing momentum back to the HEAT’s favor and eventually down the Celtics in seven.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the five best moments from each of those series.

2011 ECSF

Game 1: May 1, 2011 – JJ Goes Off

Although Dwyane Wade and James did their thing and connected on this dope alley-oop in the fourth quarter…

…James Jones actually proved to be the X-factor for the HEAT.

In fact, the former University of Miami standout caught fire with a game-high 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from deep in the second quarter and finished with 25 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field and a perfect 10-of-10 from the line.

Miami won 99-90.

Game 2: May 3, 2011 – Wade Gets Fancy

For the second game in a row, Wade set the tone and led all players with 16 points in the first half. Naturally, he came away with a fantastic euro-step on Kevin Garnett and a crafty crossover on Ray Allen in quick succession during the flurry.

That’s D. Wade for ya.

Game 2: May 3, 2011 – The Run Part I

Later in the contest, Miami went on a 14-0 run in the fourth to seize control and go up 94-80 with 3:28 left. Of course, James led the way with 12 points in the period and 35 in all to give the HEAT a 102-91 victory.

Game 4: May 9, 2011 – The Big 3 Come Through In The Clutch

After Miami was handed a tough loss in Game 3, each member of the Big 3 responded down the stretch in Game 4.

And while James and Wade knocked down some monumental threes…

…Chris Bosh had the biggest bucket of the night with this tip-in late in OT:


The HEAT wound up winning 98-90.

Game 5: May 11, 2011 – The Run Part II

Although things were nip and tuck through three quarters, Miami ended Game 5 on a 16-0 run to finally put the Celtics away for good. Wade led all players with 34 points, while James put the finishing touches on the game with 13 of his 33 points in the fourth.

Above all else, absolutely nothing touches this dagger three:

The HEAT ended up with a 97-87 advantage.

2012 ECF

Game 1: May 28, 2012 – Wade Finds James For The TD

Despite being without Bosh, Miami kicked off the Eastern Conference Finals with a convincing 93-79 victory thanks to solid second-half performances from both James and Wade.

James led all players with 32 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. Wade, on the other hand, attacked the basket en route to 22 points (10 in the fourth) and a game-high seven assists, including this full-court pass to James:


Game 2: May 30, 2012 – Wade Shows No Fear

Not wanting to go down 2-0 in the series, Boston jumped out to an early 15-point lead in the first half and had control for most of the night.

Then Wade took things over.

After leading all players with 12 points in the third quarter, the guard had a team-high eight points in OT, including this awesome finish with contact against Garnett:

Wade finished with 23 and James accumulated a team-high 34 points, as the HEAT spoiled Rajon Rondo’s 44-point outing and won 115-111.

Game 2: May 30, 2012 – UD & Rio Shine

Before we wrap up Game 2, however, we need to give some love to Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem.

Chalmers was instrumental in the first half and ended up with 22 points, six assists and two steals, whereas Haslem came up big in OT with these two plays and amassed 13 points, a game-high 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block when it was all said and done:

Game 6: June 7, 2012 – LeBron (That’s it. That’s the title.)

I mean, you should have known this one was coming.

Due to rattling off three straight victories, the Celtics had the HEAT dead to rights on the brink of elimination.

But the King wasn’t having any of it.

From the start, James was locked in (the iconic stare says it all), as he picked apart Boston’s defense with relative ease and scored from pretty much everywhere on the floor.

The result?

A game-high 45 points on 19-of-26 shooting, a game-high 15 boards and five assists in a 98-79 thrashing at TD Garden.

Simply incredible.

Game 7: June 9, 2012 – The Big 3 Seal It

In a do-or-die Game 7, Miami once again quelled the critics and got the job done.

With the game tied at 73 entering the fourth, the Big 3 answered the bell and scored all 28 of the HEAT’s points in the final period (11 for James, nine for Wade and eight for Bosh) to eventually defeat the Celtics 101-88. Before that point, Shane Battier and Chalmers helped Miami stay neck and neck with Boston.

Don’t let that final score fool you, though. There were a whopping 20 lead changes (yes, 20) before the HEAT shut the door down the stretch.

Bosh, who was quiet in Games 5 and 6 upon returning from injury, foreshadowed what was to come later in his career with two important treys early in the fourth.

Big shot Bosh.

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