Boston looked great in the first quarter, scoring 26 of their 27 points in the paint, while Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett set a tone of unselfishness. After Rondo’s comments about selfishness in the locker room, he made a major statement of leadership tonight with 14 assists, while captain Kevin Garnett solidified the message with 9 assists of his own.
Despite the many flaws of the game, including poor defense (Miami shot 57% through 3Q, 52% for the game), Boston prevailed with a much-needed win. Ray Allen shot poorly from 3′s again (1-5), but had a solid all-around game with 23 points and 7 rebounds, while Eddie House was hot off the bench, sinking two 3′s on his way to 16 points. Glen Davis also provided good energy off the bench, contributing 6 points and 5 rebounds.
For Miami, and Dwyane Wade the story was all too familar. Wade was spectacular, slicing the Celtics perimeter-defense for 30 points and 13 assists, but he received little help from his teammates. Jermaine O’Neal (10 points), Michael Beasley (13), Rafer Alston (15), Quinton Richardson (12) and Udonis Haslem (15) all reached double-figures, but their production slowed in the all-important fourth-quarter.
Offensively and defensively, Boston looked crisp and focused in the fourth-quarter. Rondo continued his aggression and, with Garnett improving his stamina game-by-game, Boston executed offensively like they haven’t in a while. The execution was exemplified by a perfectly-designed play with 2:45 remaining. Garnett set a pin-down screen on the baseline for House, who had already canned a huge 3-pointer, and then sealed his defender in the post. House bounced a pass into Garnett, while Boston’s other players simultaneously cleared the side for him. Garnett connected on his patented turnaround shot, giving the Celtics a 5-point cushion, and igniting the TD Bank Crowd.
Player of the Game:
- Rajon Rondo- 22 points, 14 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals
Play of the Game:
- 4th Quarter, 35.6 seconds left- With Celtics leading 97-94, Tony Allen steals the ball from Dwyane Wade, who was trying to drive past help-defender, Kendrick Perkins, on the pick-and-roll. Tony Allen was almost immediately fouled fouled, and made the two free throws to put Boston ahead 99-94.
Stat of the Night:
- 26 of Celtics 27 1st-quarter points in the paint.
Skeleton in the Closet:
- Turnovers- 17