The Boston Celtics took the Miami Heat to the woodshed on Sunday, getting an 91-72 victory that may not have been as close as the final margin indicates.
Rajon Rondo recorded a triple-double with 16 points, 14 assists, and 11 rebounds, and Paul Pierce tied LeBron James with a game-high 23 points. All five Boston starters ended up in double figures, and the Celtics pulled away in with a roundhouse of a third quarter in which they outscored the Heat 31-12.
The Heat notched their lowest point total of the season and their most lopsided loss, shot just 34.8 percent from the floor and gave James and Dwyane Wade -- both off their peak forms, combining for just 38 points on 17-of-37 shooting -- virtually no help, with Miami's other three starters combining for just six points.
The Heat are still well ahead of the Orlando Magic for the second seed in the Eastern Conference, but with the Bulls' loss to the Thunder today, this was a prime chance for Miami to gain ground on Chicago. And Miami's road woes -- 12 of its 14 losses have come away from South Florida -- may be a source of concern for LeBron and company.
The Heat and Celtics came into Sunday as somewhat of an afterthought to the Bulls vs. Thunder game, a possible NBA Finals preview. But while the early game was a blowout of epic proportions, Boston and Miami are locked in a tight one, with the Celtics taking a 49-44 lead into halftime.
Here are some notes and highlights from the first half:
* Rajon Rondo is having another Rajon Rondo game. He's on pace for a triple-double with 10 points, six assists and six rebounds at halftime. Typical Rondo, doing stuff like this:
* Some ups and downs for Dwyane Wade so far in this one. Wade has 11 points and seven rebounds, but he's missed eight shots already and got STUFFED by Avery Bradley then took a tumble for good (embarrassing) measure:
* Shane Battier has been big off the bench for the Heat. He has 11 points (on 4-of-5 shooting) but none was better than this score, where the No-Stats All-Star catches Paul Pierce napping: