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Rajon Rondo’s speed and Kevin Garnett’s near perfect shooting helped the Celtics overcome the Heat in Miami Sunday night, as Boston won its fourth straight, 92-85.
Garnett, looking more and more like the KG we know and love, scored 24 points on 11-12 shooting. The Farragut Academy grad appears to have built up his stamina to pre-injury levels over the past week, giving him the energy he needs to knock down late-game jumpers: Garnett hit the 18-foot game winner in OT in New York on the 22nd; shot 5-9 against the Sixers in 30 minutes on the 25th; and was a perfect 6-6 against the Raptors on the 27th.
Combine his last three performances, and KG’s stat line looks all-world: 81% shooting on 22-27.
Interviewed after the game, Garnett was quick to shift the spotlight to his teammate: “We’ll go just as far as Rondo takes us.”
Rondo (13 points, 11 assists, 1 turnover) dictated the pace of the game, and the Celtics looked like an entirely different—and inferior—team when he was off the court. The proof is in the pudding, as the point guard posted an impressive +16 plus/minus on the night and led the charge as the Celtics opened up an 11-point lead in the third quarter.
It’s a lead that didn’t hold up for long, as Boston’s second unit struggled to make baskets and defensive stops. With 3:55 left in the third, a Michael Beasley (18 points, 7 rebounds) dunk tied the game.
The Heat opened up a five-point lead early in the fourth, as the Celtics failed to score a basket in the first two minutes of the final frame. Beasley, taking advantage of mismatches with Rasheed Wallace and Brian Scalabrine, scored eight straight Heat points.
Rondo re-entered the game with eight minutes remaining and righted the Celtics sinking ship with circus layups, assists, and suffocating defense. With three minutes remaining, the game was knotted at 82 apiece.
The Green hit their shots down the stretch as the Heat faltered, scoring just three points in the final minutes to the Celtics’ 10.
The Celtics will be back at it again at Charlotte on Tuesday night.