In probably their most thrilling victory yet this season, at least during this winning streak that has now stretched to a fourth of the entire season, the Miami Heat have pulled out the 105-103 victory against the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden.
The team did it by coming back from their biggest deficit yet this NBA season and gives them the second longest winning streak in NBA history, overtaking the 2007-08 Houston Rockets and now ten games away from equaling the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.
LeBron James finished with 37 points (16-29 shooting), 12 assists (two of them during crunch times) along with seven rebounds. According to ESPN Stats & Info, LeBron becomes the first player since Scottie Pippen in 1995 to have 37-12-7 in Boston. The MVP also scored 13 of his points in the fourth quarter.
The Heat had not won in ten regular season games in Boston, stretching back from April of 2007. This also marks their eleventh consecutive road win.
The Celtics for the most part shot 60% or better from the field but cooled off in the fourth quarter with 22 points, their lowest scoring quarter. Not only did the Heat display their usual brilliance on defense as they've shown in the second half of the season, the home team also committed 21 turnovers for the game and managed to get out-rebounded by the Heat with a 39-33 margin.
The home team started hot with a quick 6-0 run and kept coming back at the defending champs throughout the first half but a flurry of points, mostly because of the surprising Jeff Green, who kept the TD Garden rocking. By the third quarter, Green had already reached his career high in points and finished with the most points of a Celtics player against the Heat with 43 points on a cooly efficient 14-21 from the field. He was unstoppable on a variety of silky cuts to the basket and was able to get to the free throw line all night long, going 10-13 from the charity stripe. He opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer and then scored on a jumper before taking a seat on the bench with 7:39 to go in the fourth quarter with the Celtics up by ten points.
The Heat then closed the gap to 96-100 before Green went back to the game with 3:25 to go and was blocked by Chris Bosh in the next Celtics play which turned into a Mario Chalmers three-pointer to give the Heat the lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Paul Pierce contributed 17 points, but just one point in the final quarter, as well as notching 8 rebounds and 8 assists. The Celtics backcourt of Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley had their moments but could not compensate for the loss of Rajon Rondo, at least not on a night in which Kevin Garnett was also out with a stomach virus.
Mario Chalmers had a profound impact in the closing moments with a superb block on a driving Bradley layup attempt along with his offense. In addition to getting blocked by Bosh minutes ago, Green was also blocked by Shane Battier in another stellar example of championship-level defense. Even though the replays, at least the ones on Sun Sports, clearly showed the ball rolling off of Green's forearm, the refs awarded the ball to the Celtics but Pierce could not knock down the long jumper anyway and the Heat found yet another way to keep their winning streak alive.