Celtics 85, Heat 82: Mike Miller's Last-Second Miss Sinks Miami

After Boston rallied in the third quarter, LeBron James is trying to drive the Heat back into the lead late.

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Miami Heat Can't Capitalize On Opportunities Against Boston Celtics

Kevin Garnett led a balanced Celtics attack with 19 points and seven rebounds as Boston used a strong third quarter and held on late, topping the Miami Heat, 85-82.

According to CelticsBlog, despite the fact that Paul Pierce was ice-cold on Sunday, Rajon Rando stepped up to be the leader for Boston in this win:

Rajon Rondo led the way in the second half and finished the game with a triple double, while LeBron James did pretty much everything in his power to keep Miami in this after they blew a halftime lead, but in the end the Celtics' defense was just too much, despite Paul Pierce turning in a 0-10 performance from the field.

As for the Heat, Peninsula Is Mightier says Miami had ample chances to tie this game up, but just couldn't connect:

It was a 2-point game with 90 seconds left and stayed that way until LeBron James was fouled with 12 seconds left.  He didn't keep us hanging for long though, missing the first free throw before making the 2nd.  Miami would get the ball back down by three, and Mike Miller got a much better look at a tying shot then I would've guessed, but alas this one was not meant to be. 

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Celtics 85, Heat 82: Mike Miller's Last-Second Miss Gives Boston Third Win Over Miami

The Heat and Celtics have met three times in the 2010-11 season. And the Celtics have won each time.

Boston pulled out an 85-82 win at the TD BankNorth Garden, but needed a Mike Miller miss at the buzzer to maintain the lead. After LeBron James missed a game-tying free throw moments earlier in the final minute, he found an open Miller for a three from the top of the arc, but Miller was only able to catch iron.

It was a sour note to end an awful day from Miller, who went one-for-five from three-point range and managed just five points.

The Celtics opened their lead with a 35-point third quarter, but spent most of the fourth quarter watching it dwindle. Chris Bosh led all scorers with 24 points, and was lethal from the field, making eight of 11 shots. James added 22 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, while Dwyane Wade's struggles against the Celtics continued, with a poor shooting day (six of 17) and just 16 points to go with six turnovers.

The Celtics, meanwhile, relied on a balanced offense: no Boston player scored more than 20 points — Kevin Garnett led the C's with 19 — but the Celtics had six players in double figures, including little-used reserve Von Wafer. And Boston needed it, given Paul Pierce's struggles: Pierce was zero for 10 from the field, and scored just one point.

For more on the Celtics, check out SB Nation Boston and CelticsBlog. For Heat analysis, visit Peninsula Is Mightier.

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Heat Vs. Celtics Score: Boston Lights It Up In Third Quarter, Leads 74-61

After two quarters of unsightly basketball, one team warmed up in the third quarter of Heat-Celtics. And it wasn't the squad from Miami: Boston responded to a miserable first half with a superb third quarter, and will take a 74-61 lead into the final frame.

The Celtics poured in 35 points in the third, and got contributions from all corners. Glen Davis has 12 points off the bench for the C's, and Von Wafer has contributed seven bench points. Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins, both starters, lead all Celtics scorers with 15 points each.

And it's Rajon Rondo, not LeBron James, who is verging on a triple-double. Rondo has 11 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists, while James, who had a great first quarter, has been quiet since.

Turnovers continue to kneecap the Heat: through three quarters, Miami had 12 of them, just slightly shy of their season average for a game.

For more on the Celtics, check out SB Nation Boston and CelticsBlog. For Heat analysis, visit Peninsula Is Mightier.

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Heat Vs. Celtics Score: Miami Leads 41-37 At Halftime Of Ugly Game In Boston

If Sunday morning is easy, then today's Heat-Celtics slugfest is proving that Sunday afternoon can be grueling and ugly. At the half, the Heat lead the Celtics, 41-37.

Very little for either team in the first 24 minutes could have been described as pretty. The Heat committed 12 turnovers in the first half; the Celtics' Big Three — Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen — have combined for just 16 points and are shooting under 33% from the field. Glen "Big Baby" Davis may have had the lowest lowlight of the half: he broke free on a fast break but failed to throw down the dunk or lay it in, instead producing a bizarre two-handed layup that hit the front of the rim.

It was bad enough that The Basketball Jones' Trey Kerby quipped, "First to 50 wins."

But the Heat's Big Three, despite their turnover woes, have actually been quite good: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh have combined for 29 points. But James' second quarter was very quiet: he had two points and just one rebound in the frame.

For more on the Celtics, check out SB Nation Boston and CelticsBlog. For Heat analysis, visit Peninsula Is Mightier.

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Heat Vs. Celtics Score: Miami Leads 20-15 After First Quarter Behind LeBron James' Hot Start

One quarter into today's showdown of the two best teams in the Eastern Conference, it seems that the Heat and Celtics will be playing a close, defensive-minded game. Miami leads, 20-15, after the first quarter.

The Heat have done a number on the Celtics, the NBA's best-shooting team. The only Boston player with more than one field goal is Ray Allen, who is two-of-six from the field for six points, and the Celtics are shooting a combined 30%.

But the Heat haven't been able to push out to a lead, partially thanks to turnover problems. Miami has four turnovers, the Celtics none, and that's help squander a hot start by LeBron James, who has eight points, three rebounds, and three assists through 12 minutes and could well be on his way to a triple-double.

The Heat's stifling defense also managed to force two Celtics shot-clock violations.

For more on the Celtics, check out SB Nation Boston and CelticsBlog. For Heat analysis, visit Peninsula Is Mightier.

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Heat Vs. Celtics: LeBron James Tries Again To Conquer Boston

LeBron James and his Miami Heat venture into New England in the team's latest attempt to vanquish the mighty Boston Celtics (1 PM Eastern, ABC). The Celtics have won both match-ups with the Heat this season, including in a highly-hyped opening night contest at TD Banknorth Garden.

But both Celtics' wins came before the Heat hit its stride. Miami started the season 9-8 before blasting off; the team is now 39-14, winners of eight straight and a half-game ahead of Boston in the race for the East's No. 1 seed. The C's can recapture No. 1 with a win today. The teams have one more match-up scheduled, but that won't happen until April 10, the final weekend of the season. Home court advantage may be settled by that point.

LeBron, in particular, has a salty history with the Celtics. Boston famously knocked King James' Cavaliers out of the playoffs last year in what had been deemed LeBron's make-or-break postseason. The vicious C's defense held James down a couple times; there were also reports, since verified, that LeBron suffered an elbow injury serious enough to hurt his production. The elbow was considered a joke, an excuse at the time, one Boston fans certainly relished as their team played for a(nother) championship banner.

James has played fairly well (even by his lofty standards) in both Boston games this season. In the season opener, he had 31 points on 10-21 shooting, but also had eight turnovers while carrying the load for ineffective Dwyane Wade (4-16 from the floor) and Chris Bosh (3-11). In the Nov. 11 rematch in Miami, LeBron scored 35 points on 9-21 shooting with 10 rebounds, nine assists and three steals. Wade again struggled, shooting 2-12 and watching Ray Allen break out for 35 points.

That Wade has struggled so much against Boston this year is odd, considering that Wade assaulted the Celtics in last year's postseason. Miami, then without LeBron or Bosh, had Boston in the first round. Wade averaged 33 points per game in that series, and shot an incredible 56 percent. But the Celtics' plan sought to make Wade uncomfortable but more importantly take his teammates out of the game; that was successful, and Boston took the series 4-1.

Now, Boston is looking to make LeBron uncomfortable and take his teammates out of the game. Wade's the key in the Celtics' strategy; if he can break out while James continues to light up Paul Pierce, Miami should be in a strong position. The worry for Miami going forward will be whether Bosh and the Heat's cavalcade of limited centers can handle Boston's deep frontcourt, and whether the team defense can contain Rajon Rondo. It's a real tight match-up, and should make for an entertaining game.

For more on the Celtics, check out SB Nation Boston and CelticsBlog. For Heat analysis, visit Peninsula Is Mightier.

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