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Kevin Garnett leads Boston to late victory over the Heat

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Nobody would call this game unentertaining, but once again the end result is sour for Heat fans.  This time it was a lack of someone stepping up down the stretch for the Heat, as Boston was able to get key buckets from Kevin Garnett in the final minutes, but really their entire team contributed to the nice road win.

A great start for the Heat with Jermaine O'Neal drilling back-to-back jumpers and D-Wade getting a block on Ray Allen on the Celtics first offensive possession.  The early success was short lived for Jermaine, who committed two quick fouls and was on the bench less then 90 seconds into the game. He was replaced by Joel Anthony who also picked up two quick fouls, which prompted the entrance of Udonis Haslem. 

Meanwhile, it took D-Wade about 3 minutes to get off his first shot, a 21-foot jumper that he missed.  The next time Wade had the ball he drove the baseline, spinned inside and sunk the shot off glass.  Soon after he received a nice pass from James Jones, drive right down the middle and put down a nasty 2-hand jam.  Think maybe something clicked in his head?

With both teams shooting so well early in the game (Boston 6-of-7, Miami 6-of-9) there were only three total rebounds brought down by both teams combined over 6 minutes into the game.  Early on this game had all the indications of a high-scoring slug fest. The Heat were able to escape the first quarter with a 31-29 lead; Miami finished the quarter shooting 55%, Boston finished shooting 75%.   

The back and forth game continued throughout the second quarter, with both teams getting buckets from all over the roster.  The game was tied at 41 with about 4 minutes left but Boston outscored Miami 14-7 over that span and went into halftime with a 55-48 lead.  

The second half began as a complete opposite of the first half with both teams struggling from the field.  Dwyane Wade seemed to be intent on bringing the Heat back himself, scoring the first 6 points of the half for Miami.  The Heat scored 8 straight en route to a 14-3 run to tie the game at 62.  The tying bucket came on a sick pass by D-Wade (after getting blocked by Ray Allen) to Mike Beasley for his second big jam of the game.  The Heat were playing some supreme D in the 2nd half, especially on the outside. 

The fourth quarter began with another Mike Beasley putback slam to tie the game at 67. That was just the beginning for Beas as he rattled off the first 11 points for the Heat, putting them ahead 76-72.  Rajon Rondo responded for Boston with back-to-back layups, tying the game with 6 minutes left. 

The game was again tied with under 3 minutes left when Kevin Garnett started making some plays.  A nice pass to Kendrick Perkins for a dunk to put Boston up 2, then after a Jermaine O'Neal free throw, Garnett hit a long J to put the Celtics up 3.  Next possession for Boston was a Ray Allen trey and suddenly the lead was at 6 with just 98 seconds left. 

Dwyane Wade brought the Heat within 4 with a pair of free throws, and after a defensive stop at the other end, Jermaine O'Neal missed an easy dunk but got fouled.  What could've brought the Heat within 2, instead turned into a couple missed free throws for J-O.  Of course after the missed free points, you knew that Boston would score on the other end and Kevin Garnett did just that, putting the Celts up by 6 again, this time with just 38 seconds left.  That would prove to be the dagger for Boston.  Ugh...road trip here we come.

GAME NOTES

  • I'd say a big part of the loss was the Heat shooting just 61% from the charity stripe. 
  • It's a shame that the only thing people will remember about Jermaine O'Neal from this game were the two free throws he missed with 1:08 left.  Overall he had a very good game despite being in foul trouble for a good part of the first half.  He finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
  • When oh when will we get a consistent Daequan Cook?  He was way off tonight, airballing a few, missing his two attempts from beyond and his only free throw as well. 
  • All five Boston starters scored in double digits, led by Kevin Garnett's 24 points.
  • D-Wade had a solid game, but when you are as good as Dwyane games like this are not good enough.  A solid stat line of 27 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and a block...but he still disappeared for big chunks of time throughout the game. 
  • It had been a while since I'd seen Boston play, and I was very impressed with the range of Kevin Garnett.  Maybe it's a common thing, I don't know...but he drilled several J's from just inside the three-point line. 
  • Another start for James Jones and another very disappointing result.  All 4 of his points came on free throws as he went 0-5 from the field and 0-4 from beyond. 
  • Quentin Richardson briefly returned for Miami, playing 9 minutes and missing both his shots. 

The Heat will now embark on a 4-game western road-trip, beginning in Portland on Tuesday.  Late night tipoff is at 10pm.  The rest of the trip has the Heat visiting Denver on Thursday, the Lakers on Friday and Sacramento on Sunday.