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In Boston, we can all be thankful. Thankful that we didn’t get with the two feet of snow that fell in northern areas of New England. Thankful that the Celtics won a series in less than six games for the first time in the Kevin Garnett-Ray Allen era. Thankful that we can finally end our series of corny headlines involving the Miami Heat.
The Celtics gave their fans many reasons to be thankful on Tuesday night after disposing of the Miami Heat in just five games. The Celtics built a 21-point lead in the second half before seeing it, like many other leads this season, nearly vanish. Led by Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo, the Celtics held off the Heat, winning 96-86.
Ray Allen hit some huge threes in the second half to keep the lead from completely disappearing, in finishing with a team-leading 24 points on 9-15 shooting. He had the hot hand when every other Celtic seemed to go cold.
In fact, due to Ray’s efforts, the Heat never led in the second half. Paul Pierce (21 points) and Rajon Rondo (16 points, 8 rebounds, 12 assists) played huge parts in the victory, but credit to Ray for not letting it all slip away.
Dwyane Wade played more than 45 minutes and did all he could in scoring 31 points. The Celtics did a nice job on Wade, employing a zone double-team on the superstar with Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo primarily guarding him. Despite scoring 31, Wade shot just 10-24.
All other starters for the Heat were held under 10 points in what could be Wade’s last game with the Miami Heat. A free agent after the season, Wade will likely command a max contract. Mario Chalmers was the only other “Hot” (the singular form of Heat?) in double figures, finishing with 20 points off the bench.
For the first time in three years, the Celtics will enter the second round of the playoffs well-rested and healthy. Armed with Kevin Garnett this year, the C’s could make some noise against the Cavs.
The Cavs, meanwhile, are armed with a relatively healthy Shaquille O’Neal and an awesome supporting cast for the King, LeBron James. LeBron, however, dinged his elbow in the closing minutes of the team’s series with the Bulls, so it remains to be seen how he’ll be affected.
The series is expected to begin on Saturday in Cleveland, with no time announced yet. Predictions to come later on Sports of Boston…