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Heat Pull Away in Second Half, Take Game 1

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 54 points in Game 1 against the Celtics. (AP/Darron Cummings)

The Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics, 93-79, at AmericanAirlines Arena Monday, taking a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Celtics Start Slow

Less than 48 hours after the Celtics clinched their series win over the Philadelphia 76ers, they took the floor in Miami to face the Heat. The quick turnaround seemed to take its toll, as Boston fell behind 21-11 after a sloppy first quarter.

The Celtics went 5-for-20 from the field and committed four turnovers in the first 12 minutes, as Kevin Garnett was the only player to score more than two points for Boston.

League MVP LeBron James had a big first quarter, single-handedly outscoring the Celtics 13-11 on 6-for-9 shooting. James also added three rebounds and two assists.

Boston Bounces Back in Second Quarter

The second quarter was a polar opposite for Boston, as the Celtics exploded for 35 points on 13-for-22 shooting. Boston also went 4-for-5 from three-point land.

Rajon Rondo, who was scoreless in the first, had eight points and added three assists in the quarter. Paul Pierce shook off his 1-for-6 start to score eight of his own, including two baskets from beyond the arc.

The two teams exchanged buckets for most of the quarter, and Miami led by 10 with 4:26 to play. But Boston closed the half on a 13-3 run to tie the game 46-46. Garnett led the Celtics with 13 at halftime. After his fast start, James had just four points in the second quarter.

Miami Tightens Defense, Pulls Away

The Heat came out of the locker room playing tough defense, holding the Celtics to 27 percent shooting in the third quarter. Both Pierce and Rondo shot 1-for-6 from the field in the third, combining for just four points. Garnett continued his strong playoff performance, adding seven points in the quarter.

James got back on track, scoring 10 points as Miami went ahead by as much as 12 in the quarter. The Heat also had an advantage on the boards, out-rebounding Boston 13-7, and they led 72-61 heading into the final quarter.

Miami appeared to be in control early in the fourth, pushing their lead to 17. Dwyane Wade made sure there would be no Boston comeback, putting up 10 fourth-quarter points in acrobatic fashion. The former NBA Finals MVP finished with 22 points to go along with James’ 32.

Garnett had another 20 point-10 rebound playoff game, finishing with 23 and 10 in the defeat. Rondo had 16 points but shot only 8-for-20. Boston shot just under 40 percent as a team.

The Celtics will try to even the series in Game 2 on Wednesday.

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