The Boston Celtics continue to play their best basketball of the season while being short-handed, upsetting the suddenly struggling Miami Heat 91-72 on Sunday.
Rajon Rondo triple double for the fifth time this season with 16 points, 14 assists, and 11 rebounds. His play since the All-Star break has been MVP like and a statement like that would have been blasphemous just a month ago.
Rondo controlled the game the way a point guard should unmercifully beating the Heat at their own game of transition which allowed Boston to keep the points in the paint battle close (40 for the Heat and 34 for the Celtics).
Paul Pierce had 23 points and 7 rebounds while Brandon Bass double doubled with 16 points and 10 rebounds including 10-10 from the free throw line. Avery Bradley continued to fill in for the injured Ray Allen (ankle) with 13 points and great defensive energy including a highlight block on Dwyane Wade.
Miami seemed strangely uninterested in this affair from the beginning as if they could win simply by showing up. Given Boston’s injuries and recent failures against the Heat, Miami probably had good reason to believe it could right their recently rocky ship against the geriatric Celtics.
Boston decided to push the tempo offensively in the first quarter jumping out to a 29-19 lead at the end of one. The Celtics have been playing to Rondo’s strength of transition basketball over the last few weeks early on in games. The change seems to have confounded opponents who expect the aging club to slow down the pace. That same strategy seemed to work again today against the Heat.
Boston’s second unit then entered the game to do their usual blow the lead routine which allowed Miami to gain a brief spark in the second quarter. Wade used his size advantage over the C’s mini back court to score 8 of his 15 points in the quarter as he willed the Heat back into the game single-handedly.
Miami tied the game at 40 in the 2nd period but would never again sniff a tie or lead as Boston controlled the game rest of the way closing out the half with a 49-44 lead.
The Celtics blitzed the Heat in the third quarter to the tune of 31-12 which put the game firmly out of reach. LeBron James led the Heat with 23 points and 4 rebounds but did not record a single assist. This was only the second game in LeBron’s career where he failed to get an assist which is a credit to the masterful defense the Celtics played throughout the game.
One of LeBron’s usual outlets for assists, Chris Bosh, folded under the defensive pressure of Kevin Garnett shooting just 2-11 on his way to 4 points and 11 rebounds.
As a team, Boston held Miami to 35% shooting and served the Heat with their worst loss of the season despite the bench’s poor play.
This win is one of the best for the Celtics this season as it comes over one of the true contenders for the championship. While Boston has recorded a win over the Bulls earlier in the season, that victory came with Derek Rose out of the lineup.
The Heat had all of their key pieces which makes the win for Boston all the more gratifying. On a day made for fools it was nice to see Boston have a laugh at the Heat’s expense.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com