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The Celtics and Heat played a close game in the first half with many lead changes, but a strong third quarter for Miami led to a big lead to start the fourth. However, the Celtics fought back throughout the final quarter and managed to get within one point, but still came up short against Miami in a 107-99 loss.
Paul Pierce had a chance to get the C’s within three with just under a minute left after getting fouled from beyond the three point line, but he only managed to make one of his three foul shots. Dwayne Wade sealed the game with a three-pointer with 34 seconds remaining.
The Celtics had several players in double figures with especially strong performances from Leon Powe, who started in place of Glen Davis, and Ray Allen. Powe had a double-double with 23 points (a new season-high) and 13 rebounds, while Allen had 27 points.
Paul Pierce added 16, Kendrick Perkins had 13, and Eddie House had 12 off the bench with some key three pointers that got the C’s back into the game. Bill Walker saw some decent minutes tonight and was impressive against his former college teammate Michael Beasley by putting up eight points.
Dwayne Wade could not be touched for the Heat and is very deserving of the MVP award this season, in my opinion. He finished the night with 32 points. Jamario Moon had 13 points, Jermaine O’Neal had 12, and Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers, and Daquan Cook all added 10 points each. The Miami bench was a key factor in the win as they were able to outplay the depleted Celtics bench.
The injuries are really taking their toll on the Celtics and they are desperately hoping that someone will be back for Friday night’s game against Memphis. Allen, Pierce, and Powe all played over 40 minutes each and were clearly fatigued by the end of the game.
On a side note, I really did not like the Miami PA announcer at all. His shouting after anything good for the Heat extended way too far into the Celtics’ possession of the ball. This seems to be a common occurence with announcers lately and I’ve noticed it with Miami, Cleveland, Atlanta, and several other cities. Perhaps there should be some sort of penalty issued to the home team for their announcers going on for too long, or maybe not.
The Celtics head back home Friday night for a match-up with the Grizzlies.