An extremely loud crowd at AmericanAirlines Arena and a couple of Shane Battier three-point shots got the Miami Heat off to a strong start in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but they struggled during the middle part of the first quarter. With time winding down in the first, Doc Rivers opted to give Kevin Garnett a breather, and it helped Miami back into the game.
The Celtics lead 27-23 after one quarter of play, but their lead could be larger. At one point, the Celtics put together a 9-0 run. Garnett's exit from the game roughly coincided with Chris Bosh coming into the game off the bench for Udonis Haslem, which was a big positive for the Heat. Rivers had to sit Garnett down at some point and the end of the first quarter is as good of a time as any, but Garnett and Bosh should be going toe-to-toe soon enough.
Rajon Rondo has uncharacteristically taken seven shots from the floor already, and he's made just two of them. Paul Pierce's shooting percentage is also poor; the Celtics' small forward is 2-6 from the floor. Otherwise, the Celtics are shooting the ball well, and they've been boosted by a couple of Ray Allen threes.
Miami's biggest issue in the early going has been turnovers. They've already coughed the ball up six times, which is why the Celtics have managed a 27-point quarter on the road while shooting less than 50 percent from the floor.
LeBron James is just 1-3 from the floor, but he's done a good job of getting to the free-throw line. He has eight points, and he's 6-6 from the charity stripe.
For more updates on Game 7, stick with this StoryStream. For more on the Heat, head over to Peninsula Is Mightier and SB Nation Tampa Bay. For more on the Celtics, check out CelticsBlog and SB Nation Boston.