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Paul Pierce's buzzer beater sends Heat to the brink, now down 0-3

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Both teams started the game by missing 3-pointers, and the Heat missed 4 of their first 5 overall.  One difference early on was Miami's defensive intensity, but that kind of hustle is hard to sustain for a full 48 minutes.  On the other end it was Dwyane Wade coming out of the gate on fire, scoring 8 of the Heat's first 10 points on a perfect 4-for-4. 

Miami did a good job of getting point on the board by moving players around on offense.  What a concept; guys not just standing still and passing the ball around.   Other the Wade scoring 15 points, the story of the 1st quarter for Miami was the play of their bench guys.   The Heat got 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists off their bench, a very good sign. 

With points coming at such a premium, it really pissed me off to see Dorell Wright and Mario Chalmers give the ball away with poor passes on back-to-back possessions at the beginning of the 2nd quarter.  How can you not be more careful with the ball?  Come on guys...5 turnover in the first 3½ minutes of a quarter is just awful. 

Miami went from up by 5 to down by 7, allowing Boston to go on a 15-2 run in which the Heat shot just 1-of-5 to go with those 5 turnovers.  A Q-Rich trey, the Heat's first of the game, ended the run.  After that, Miami began to post up their smaller guys, with D-Wade and Richardson starting to try and establish a post presence.  With Rajon Rondo on the bench, the Heat scored three straight field goals, leading to a quick Celtics timeout.

After Rondo came back in, Miami was able to get him into foul trouble while slowly chipping away at the Celtics lead.  Dorell Wright gave the Heat the lead with his first career Playoff 3-pointer.  That would prove to be the final field goal of the half, and thanks to a big-time boost at the end of the quarter the Heat was able to take a 1-point lead into the locker room.

Miami played well to open the 2nd half, but that would be only brief as they allowed the Celtics to go on an 8-0 run and re-take the lead.  The rest of the quarter was a back and fourth battle, with Boston holding the lead the majority of the time.  Turnovers were just killing Miami and the Celtics were benefiting, scoring 21 points off of 12 Heat turnovers.  Boston closed the quarter on an 11-2 run, outscoring Miami by 10 in the 3rd.  They took an 8-point lead into the 4th quarter. 

A Paul Pierce triple put Boston up by 9, and it what at that time the Heat appeared to make a stand.  They quickly trimmed the lead down to 3, and it was Michael Beasley pumping life into the Heat with 8 points in less then 3 minutes.  Miami picked it up defensively as well, forcing several timely turnovers and keeping Boston from getting any kind of rhythm going down the stretch. 

With under 2 minutes left, Paul Pierce and Dorell Wright traded dramatic 3-pointers, keeping the game tied with under a minute left.  Dwyane Wade had the ball in his hands with under 20 seconds left, but chose to put up a tree pointer that did not fall.  Wade however, did fall...clutching his left calf and rolling around in pain.  He would have to get helped off the court, looking to miss the most important possession of the game, with just 11.7 seconds left.  Paul Pierce did what D-Wade couldn't, holding the ball until the last moment and drilling a jumper to win the game. 

He may have been having a great game, but Dorell Wright absolutely blew it on that last possession.  Miami had a foul to give, yet he allowed Pierce to dribble him back and get in position to take the winning shot.  Wright gave Pierce way to much room in the first place, but why the hell would you give a sharpshooter room to take a very makeable shot when you could just as easily foul him with 2-3 seconds left and make them take the ball out on the side, a much more difficult situation to get a good shot. 

GAME NOTES

  • Boston went 1-of-2 from the foul line in the 4th quarter while Miami hit 4-of-6.
  • Paul Pierce scored 22 2nd half points. 
  • The Heat is really missing the 10-15 points that all season was a lock from Jermaine O'Neal.  Whatever rust is on this guy...he couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat.  He is now 5-of-31 from the field in this series after hitting just 1-of-7 in Game 3.  He barely saw the court in the 2nd half, which sucks because he is one of our best defensive players and rebounders. 
  • 18 more turnovers for Miami, leading to 24 Boston points. 
  • Miami scored 98 points on 51% shooting.  It was the first time this series they cracked 80 points.
  • How much was Wade's calf bothering him?  He took a very uncharacteristic 11 triples, compared to just 3 free throws. 
  • As a team the Heat took more 3-pointers (18) then free throws (17).
  • The Heat bench had 39 points and 22 boards in Game's 1 and 2 combined.  They matched the points in Game 3 to go with 14 rebounds. 
  • Starters Quentin Richardson, Jermaine O'Neal and Carlos Arroyo combined for 9 points (on 4-of-17) and 9 rebounds.
  • I guess you can't mess with history...Boston is 31-0 in franchise history when leading a series 2 games to none.

Well....everyone loves an underdog, right?  Down 0-3, best player injured, sounds like the perfect premise for a comeback of epic proportions. I'm pretty sure that Boston fans were on the receiving end of that comeback a few years ago, so maybe now they'll get to find out how the other end of that stick tastes.