A big early Miami lead was wasted. Once the Heat took control again, they simply ran away from the Boston Celtics.
And the NBA finals are now three wins away for LeBron James and the Heat.
James scored 32 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and the Heat beat the Celtics 93-79 on Monday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Shane Battier, playing in the conference finals for the first time, scored 10 points and had 10 rebounds for the Heat, who wasted an early 11-point first-half lead before running away to break a halftime tie. Miami outrebounded the Celtics 48-33, and blocked 11 Boston shots…
Kevin Garnett scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Boston, which got 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists from Rajon Rondo and 12 points from Paul Pierce. Ray Allen shot just 1 for 7 from the floor for Boston, which was outscored by 10 in the first quarter and 11 in the third…
Boston scored 35 in the second quarter, erasing what was an 11-point deficit early in the period by scoring 27 points in the final 8:46 of the half to pull into a 46-all tie. Rondo, Garnett and Pierce combined to score 23 points in the quarter, looking absolutely vintage, near-perfect offensive execution getting to Miami time and time again. And the Celtics’ comeback happened even while they got hit with three technical fouls in the second quarter, plus Allen missing four first-half free throws - matching his career-worst for an entire game.
– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press
Rebounds continued to be a problem for the Celtics, who lost that battle, 48-33, in Game 1. The Heat forced the Celtics to work for every possession, limiting Boston to 40 percent shooting. There was a glimpse of hope — the Celtics wrapped two dismal offensive quarters around a brilliant second quarter — but the burst was short-lived. In a microcosm of their inconsistent season, the Celtics scored 11 points in the first quarter, 35 in the second, and 15 points in the third. By that time, the Celtics were down 11 points and were desperately trying to claw back.
LeBron James outscored the Celtics all by himself in the first quarter, 13-11. The 11 points the Celtics scored in the first quarter was a team low this postseason, and it wasn’t even close. Their previous low was 17 vs. Atlanta on May 4. Rondo was 0 for 3 with 2 assists and 4 turnovers in the first.
– Reported by Gary Dzen of Boston.com
LeBron James scored 32 points, Dwyane Wade finished with a relatively modest 22, and the Celtics finished at one of their most offensively-challenged rates (39.5 percent) of the playoffs.
Beyond Kevin Garnett’s 23-point, 9-for-16 performance and a 16-point, nine-rebound, seven-assist finish by Rajon Rondo, no Celtic found a steady rhythm.
To wit, for the first time in his career, Ray Allen (3-for-7 from the line, 1-for-7 from the floor) missed four free throws in a single playoff game.
It was also game that didn’t do much for relations between the Celtics and the brotherhood of NBA officials. Allen, Doc Rivers, Garnett (delay of game) and Rondo were all T’d up, with referees Dan Crawford and Ed Malloy contributing two whistles each.
James had 27 points by the end of the third quarter, including six points in a tough 10-1 run in the last 4:18, staking Miami to a 72-61 lead.
– Reported by Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald
The Heat’s dynamic duo, which has now dominated four straight playoff games, was bolstered by a combined 19 points from starters Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers. Battier finished with 10 points, shooting 4 of 11 from the field and 2 of 9 from three-point range while playing superb defensively.
Meanwhile, the Celtics seemed more concerned about the officiating than anything else. Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and coach Doc Rivers each received technical fouls before the fourth quarter for arguing with refs. In all, the Celtics were hit with five technicals.
“I don’t how long I’ve been in the league but that would rank as the worst one,” Rivers said of his technical after the game. “I would have liked to earn it.”
The Heat shot 20 percent from three-point range but Mike Miller was 2 of 2 from behind the arc and Battier added two three-pointers of his own on nine attempts. James Jones, who played 10 minutes off the bench, also had a three-pointer.
– Reported by Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald