Boston Balances the Battle
The players were pumped and the fans were loud at the TD Garden Sunday night, as the Boston Celtics outlasted the Miami Heat in a 93 to 91 overtime victory. The Celtics did what their head coach Doc Rivers expected them to do which was “protect home court.”
The Celtics started the game off connecting on six of their first eight three-point shots. The future Hall of Fame shooting guard Ray Allen ended the game with an encouraging 16 points and went 4-for-11 from beyond the arc. When asked about his performance he said “I felt like I had my lift when I started the game, and for me and this team that’s huge.” His sharp shooting gives Boston fans some extra hope for the rest of the series as Allen was shooting a struggling 31% from three-point land during these year’s playoffs.
Both teams were plagued by late game foul trouble as each lost key players for their squads in overtime. When asked about the foul trouble Allen said “It was like chess, they took our queen, and then we took their queen…”. With 4:22 left to play in the extra period all-star forward Paul Pierce left the game with his sixth foul. And for the first time since 2008 and the first time in his playoff career regular season MVP LeBron James fouled out with 1:51 remaining after going 0-for-2 in the overtime period of play. Pierce ended the game with an impressive 23 points, while James finished the game with 27 points and six rebounds, but was held to only six points in the fourth quarter and overtime combined.
The Celtics were led by the strategic play of their point guard Rajon Rondo, and the strong play of their17-year veteran forward Kevin Garnett who ended the game with 17 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks. Rondo was fired up after a controversial call in the first half where he got tangled up with Miami Heat’s backup forward Shane Battier. Rondo was rewarded with a technical foul for giving Battier an extra kick at the end of the scuffle. When asked at half-time what holes were being exploited in the Miami Heat defense Rondo said “them complaining and crying to the referees in transition”. Rondo had another spectacular performance that included clutch shots 15 points and a total of 15 assist as well. When Rondo was asked what he thought the main contributing factor to the win was he simply replied by saying “stops… we came up with some lucky plays and got stops at the end”.
The Celtics definitely did get all the big stops that they needed on the defensive side as the held the Miami Heat to only two points in overtime. The major defensive stop came on the last play of the game, when former finals MVP Dwayne Wade freed his self up with a pump-fake but missed the shot that would have been the game-winning basket. When asked about the final shot Wade said “It was on line. It was all you can ask for. I got my legs on the middle and shot it, it just decided it didn’t want to go in.” Wade ended the game with 20 points, but he and LeBron shared a total of 11 turnovers during the course of the game.
The series is now tied 2-2 and will be headed back to south beach for a crucial game five. Tip-off is set for 7:30pm.