Once upon a time the Boston Celtics were an old decrepit team with little hope of doing anything more than making the playoffs.
That was just two months ago.
Now they are revered as cagy and veteran especially following their 115-107 win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night. It is their second win over Miami in the last 10 days.
The Celtics relied on their starters to do the heavy lifting led by Paul Pierce’s 27 points and 7 rebounds. Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 9 rebounds while Rajon Rondo scored 18 points to go along with 15 assists. (His 18th straight double-digit assist game)
Miami was led by LeBron James 36 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and Dwyane Wade’s 20 points and 5 assists.
The first half was extremely spirited with multiple runs by each team which proved to be a consistent trend throughout. Boston lead by as many as 18 but finished the half with a modest 8 point lead 65-57. Boston shot 62% and had a 22-12 rebounding advantage at the half but they allowed the Heat to get too many easy baskets.
Miami attacked the Celtics in the paint taking a 30-14 advantage in that area at half. LeBron and Wade licked their chops when they saw the small Celtic’s lineup of Rondo, Bradley, Allen, Pierce, and Bass getting burn in the 2nd quarter.
The two teams literally played evenly the rest of the way. Both teams scored 24 points in the 3rd quarter and 26 in the fourth. Multiple runs continued throughout the half for the first 15 minutes before the Celtics cooled the Heat’s ideas of a full comeback.
A Chris Bosh (13 points and 9 rebounds) jumper brought Miami to within 1 at 89-88 with 10:08 left to play in the 4th. Brandon Bass made a jumper then Mario Chalmers hit a technical free throw to cut the lead back to 2. Ray Allen (9 points) banged a 3 to push the lead back up to 5 and that gave the Celtics the push they needed to close the game out in relatively easy fashion.
Boston never solved Miami’s assault in the lane getting obliterated 52-24 on points in the paint while allowing 18 second chance points. Luckily the C’s stayed hot from the field finishing with a season high 61% as the Heat seemed disinterested in defending the Celtics outside of the paint.
”I don’t feel as bad tonight. Those guys, they were locked in. Not only did they make their open shots, they made their contested shots. … When you’ve got it going like that, just tip your hat off. We tip our hat off to them tonight. They won it.”
The Celtics improve (if you can call it that) to 3-7 against the top four teams in the NBA (Chicago, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Miami) with the win. More importantly they retain their 3 game lead over the struggling 76ers in the Atlantic Division.
”It took a while,” Rondo said, ”but we’re peaking at the right time.”
And now the rest of the league is on notice.
The Celtics have long since awoken from their early season slumber and they hope to make this last run at a championship a story book ending.
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