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Celtics Don’t Get Burned in Miami

KG twists for two of his 24 points in Sunday night's win over the Heat. (Photo courtesy of Ray Amati, Getty Images)

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.

Notes

  • The player formerly known as Jermaine O’Neal managed a 14-10 double-double, but was a relative non-factor in 30 minutes on the floor. Has any NBA star’s performance ever dropped off so precipitously? In 2007, O’Neal averaged 19.4 points and 9.6 rebounds a night. Last year, he managed just 13.5 and 7, a performance he’s mirroring this season, and O’Neal just turned 31.
  • Heat star Dwyane Wade finished with 27 points on 11/23 shooting.
  • Ray Allen (1-7 from three, noticeably off) gets a pass. Doc Rivers does not. What was the coach thinking, playing Allen a game-high 42 minutes, given the circumstances (Ray’s son was recently hospitalized)?
  • Rasheed Wallace earned his seventh technical foul, putting him on pace to earn 23 techs on the season. That’s positively well-behaved for the man who set the record for technical fouls with 41 in the 2000-2001 NBA season, breaking the mark of 38 set by… Rasheed Wallace the season prior.
  • The Celtics once again lost two important battles: the Heat grabbed 11 offensive rebounds to Boston’s 6; and the Celtics turned the ball over 15 times to the Heat’s 12. These are holes in the C’s game that must be addressed.
  • Beginning with last night’s win, the Celtics will face a difficult challenge: seven of eight games will be on the road.

About Sharkey

I was 11 years old when the ball scooted through Buckner's wickets, a moment that is laser-etched in my mind: In my living room, on the floor in front of the TV, ready to burst as the Sox needed just one more out, one more strike, to become World Series champs. Mets players sat with slumped shoulders and dejected looks in the dugout. Even the scoreboard operator recognized the game, and the series, was over, posting on the jumbotron: Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, 1986 World Series Champions. "They did it!" I said, unable to contain myself. "The Sox won it all!" My father, sitting behind me on the couch with a furrowed brow, knew better. "It's not over yet." And so it was. Having watched the Sox, Celts, and Pats for the past three decades, I truly feel like I've seen it all. I hope to bring that type of perspective as I write about the three teams I love.

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One comment for “Celtics Don’t Get Burned in Miami”

  1. [...] is a Brotherhood Regarding Sunday’s Miami game, Ray said that “…just knowing what he’s (Walker’s) having to deal with and [...]

    Posted by Ray Allen: Father First, Celtic Second | Sports of Boston | December 2, 2009, 3:02 pm

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