Dwyane Wade was, as predicted, back in the starting lineup for the Heat. Despite a healthy Ray Allen, Doc Rivers opted to keep Avery Bradley, who has been playing well defensively, in the starting lineup.
Miami got off to a decent start, but the Celtics went on a 10-0 run early to force Erik Spoelstra to take a timeout. Coming off the timeout LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both scored to tie the game. The two all-stars also managed to get out on the break together, which lead to a spectacular dunk by LeBron James.
As Ray Allen entered the game he hit two quick shots to extend the Boston lead. LeBron James was trying to get his teammates involved, and had several great cross-court passes to open teammates, but the shots were not falling. On the other end the Celtics were really efficient, scoring the basketball, and getting to the free-throw line. The first quarter score was 33-22 in Boston’s favor.
At the start of the 2nd quarter Boston came out hot once again, starting the quarter 9-5, making Spoelstra take another quick timeout. Miami continued their shooting slump, while being sloppy on defense. Bradley hit an easy jumper, extending Celtics lead to 18, as Miami failed to close out on him.
Following another timeout, Miami stepped up on defense and started cutting into the lead. Following a shot-clock violation by the Celtics, the “let’s go heat” chants picked up as Wade penetrated the Celtics defense, finishing with a strong jam.
LeBron James finished the quarter strong for the Heat. He converted on a three point play, and beat the 2nd quarter buzzer with a three point shot to get the Heat within 8. Boston went into the break with a 65-57 lead.
With the way the Heat were playing on defense, they were lucky to only be down by 8 at the half. Miami allowed Boston to shoot over 60% from the field, and score 65 points. Heat also got out-rebounded by 9, despite Boston being a poor rebounding team, especially without Jermaine O’Neal.
The Heat started the third quarter with a higher intensity on defense, and kept taking the ball to the rim, cutting Boston’s lead down to 5.
LeBron James had a great quarter doing a little bit of everything for the Heat. James was making shots, playing great defense, and getting to the line where he was flawless. Among his plays, he made a great chase down block on Stiemsma.
Despite LeBron’s big quarter, the teams kept exchanging baskets and Boston were still up by 8 by the end of the 3rd quarter.
At the beginning of the 4th quarter Mario Chalmers made a couple of big plays to help Miami regain some momentum. He converted on a 3 point play off the inbound, and took a charge on the other side of the floor. That led to Chris Bosh hitting a jumper and cutting the lead down to 1. But that would be as close as the Heat would get.
At this point Kevin Garnett started heating up, scoring 8 straight points for Boston, bringing the lead back to double digits. Rajon Rondo made a great ball fake, getting Dwyane Wade up in the air to force a foul. Wade was upset with the call, pleading that Rondo stepped under him, and was punished with a technical foul.
Even though the Heat were within 5 points with 1:30 left on the clock, it just seemed that no matter how many runs Miami made, Boston always had an answer. The defensive intensity overall just wasn’t there for the Heat, thus leading to struggle on offense.
The final score was 115-107 to Boston. This is the second game that Miami has dropped at home in their last 3 home games. LeBron James recorded 36 points and added 7 rebounds and 7 assists. All the Boston starters scored in double digits. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett scored 27 and 24 points respectively, while Rondo continued his streak dishing out 15 assists and adding 18 points.
The Heat will now be looking to redeem themselves, as they travel to Chicago where they will play the Bulls on Thursday.