Dwyane Wade scored 38 points and Paul Pierce was sent to the locker room midway through the 4th quarter after receiving his second technical foul, as the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 99-90, taking an early 1-0 lead in the series.
Miami simply was more aggressive from the start, getting to the rim and getting Boston’s stars into foul trouble. It is clear that the Celtics are lacking a center capable of contending shots from two of the game’s premier slashers in Wade and LeBron James.
Wade looked like Wade. He was getting everything he wanted, whether beating his man off the dribble or cutting to the rim off-ball, he was great.
Glancing at the box score, it would not appear that Miami dominated Boston in the paint, but they did. Both teams scored just 26 points each in the paint, but the Heat shot 32 free throws compared to just 18 for the Celtics. Perhaps a product of hometown officiating, but Boston was settling for the three point shot (and it worked) as Miami seemingly took away every opportunity inside.
Boston shot 50% from the three point line, compared to just 43% overall, thanks in large part to Ray Allen who continues his unconscious streak in the post season. Allen is shooting 65% from downtown thus far in the playoffs.
Miami’s bench provided very efficient play, with James Jones dropping 25 points off the bench, a franchise record in the playoffs. In addition to Jones, Joel Anthony continues to impact the game with great defense.
It never shows up in the box score but his contributions are extremely important to this team’s success.
Mike Miller made his return to line up. He did not attempt a shot, but was very efficient in his 8 minutes of action. Miller was able to set up open looks for Jones and others with his versatile play. He finished with 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Hopefully his minutes will increase as they get deeper into the series.
Not everyone off the bench was great. Mario Chalmers struggled after having what was arguably the best game of his career in Miami’s clinching game against Philadelphia. Chalmers made an errant pass to Dwyane Wade in the 4th quarter causing Wade to soar into the crowd from the baseline to avoid the cameraman.
“Trying to show my effort. I was mad at Rio for throwing that pass. Not going to lie. I was pissed,” said Wade on his superman dive.
One full court pass that was successful came from none other than LeBron James. He hit Wade with an outlet pass from about 70 feet for a layup. Easily the best highlight of the day. Wade and James have a way of making it look so easy, Chalmers proved it is not.
Paul Pierce was frustrated all day as he racked up two technical fouls warranting ejection. The first coming after a James Jones foul, in which he proceeded to push his own face into Jone in what appeared to be a head-butt. The second coming after attempting to set a screen on Wade. The ejection was met with controversy from both the media and Coach Doc Rivers.
Referee Dan Crawford backed up his decision after the game.
The first technical foul, it was contact during a dead ball. He approached Jones and got right in his face. there wasn’t a head-butt, but he got right into his face after a hard foul.
On the second foul.
It’s what we call a verbal taunt. He directed profanity towards Wade, and in the rulebook, that is a verbal taunt. It just so happened to be Pierce’s second technical foul.
Despite losing Pierce to ejection, the Celtics were able to keep it close down the stretch. But thanks to Wade’s 13 points in the 4th, Miami closed out game 1 and grabbed the momentum moving forward in the series.