This one felt like it was a long time coming. Sunday afternoon at the American Airlines Arena the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 100-77 and took over sole possession of 2nd place in the Eastern Conference. It was the first time in over two years that Miami had defeated the Celtics in a regular season game, and after losing to them by 8, then by 5 and then in February by just 3, it appears that the Heat has finally caught up with Boston.
Miami and the Celtics are guaranteed to finish with the 2 and 3 seeds in the East, which brings with it an interesting meaning. Though we don't know yet who is playing who, we do know that if Boston and Miami can make their way through the 1st round the playoffs, they will get to play against each other in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
With that potential meeting in the 2nd round of the playoffs, today's game could end up having a significant impact on the way that series ends up playing out. Should the Heat hold on to 2nd place, they will be hosting Game 1 of the East Semi's instead of playing it on the road in Boston. Knowing how crazy Heat fans get when the playoffs roll around and how loud they can make it inside the AAA, I know that Miami will make one hell of a home court advantage for the Celtics to enjoy.
Yesterday's game got off on the wrong foot for the Heat as Boston scored the games first 8 points and jumped out to an 11-2 lead while making 8 of their first 9 shots. It didn't take Miami long after that to get their defense in line. Following a Kevin Garnett triple that really must have gotten their attention, the Heat held Boston without a point for almost 6½ minutes and to just 1 field goal for 9:27.
Slowly but surely the Heat began to take the game over. Their scores became a little easier to come by while it seemed to get more difficult for Boston to put points on the board. Things got feisty towards the end of the 1st half when Jermaine O'Neal decided instead of playing defense he was going to drop his shoulder into LeBron James, who was on a fast break and about to score on a layup.
LeBron threw the ball at O'Neal as it was happening, and naturally a little scrum broke out. As the players gathered, Dwyane Wade walked up to Jermaine O'Neal and right behind him was Paul Pierce. You can see in the replay that Pierce looked right at Wade before he walked over to the group of players and in one motion grabbed him and pushed him away.
A little bit of pushing and shoving ensued between Pierce and Wade, which resulted in both of them receiving technical fouls. LeBron was also T-ed up for throwing the ball at O'Neal. Jermaine was issued a flagrant-1 and rightfully so because he had no intention of making a play on the ball when he body-checked LeBeon.
Miami continued to build on their lead throughout the 3rd quarter and by the time it was over the Heat were up by 15. As if to put a stamp on their already convincing effort, Miami opened the final quarter by going on a 9-2 run over the first three minutes. It was at that point, trailing by 22, that Boston was able to finally make a run of their own. In less then two minutes the Celtics ran off 12 quick points to draw within 10 of the Heat. That would be all the ‘comeback' that Boston could throw at the Miami, and the Heat responded with a 15-2 run that closed out the game.
- This was the first time that the Heat beat Boston in the regular season since March 11th of 2009.
- This was Boston's 10th loss in their last 19 games.
- Dwyane Wade scored just 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting but he led the Heat with 8 assists.
- Kevin Garnett's 3-pointer that came early in the 1st quarter was his first of the season.
- Joel Anthony added 7 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. This is the 2nd time in 3 games that Joel has grabbed double digit rebounds.
- As a team, the Heat out-rebounded Boston 42-26.
- Erick Dampier was inactive because he was given a night to rest and receive knee treatment.
- Mike Miller left the game early with a sprained left thumb, which is not the one he injured before the season.
No time to rest for the Heat as they get right back at it tonight in Atlanta. The Hawks have been struggling of late, losing 4 in a row. Tipoff from Philips Arena is set for 7o'clock,