Celtics drop Game 1 to Heat, 93-79

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Celtics drop Game 1 to Heat, 93-79

MIAMI This is what the two-headed, fire breathing Miami Heat monster tandem of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James can do to you.

If you keep one from burning you, chances are pretty good you'll be torched by the other.

And once you get that one under control, the one that wasn't burning you before?

Now he has it going.

That was indeed the case for the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals as the Heat - with James leading the way, and Wade putting the game away - surged ahead in the fourth quarter for a 93-79 win.

Miami now leads the best-of-seven series 1-0, with Game 2 in Miami on Wednesday. Boston was led by Kevin Garnett, who had 23 points and 10 points.

Wade had a decent game when you look at his final numbers for the night: 22 points and seven assists.

But it was James' ability to light up the Celtics early on that put the C's in a predicament that they never could quite come from under fully.

The first quarter was all about Hurricane James, who stormed through the Celtics defense with reckless abandon, causing the kind of destruction few players inflict upon a Boston defense that has been among the NBA's best throughout the regular season and in the playoffs.

His 13 first-quarter points were actually more than the entire Celtics squad, which trailed 21-11 after the first quarter. He finished with a game-high 32 points and 13 rebounds.

Regardless of whether it was the right call or not, the role of the referees was far greater than it should have been.

Boston was whistled for four technicals - one against Ray Allen, another against head coach Doc Rivers, along with a defensive three-second and maybe the rarest of them all, a delay of game technical which comes after being whistled for two delay of game calls.

Those are the kind of close calls that for many teams, only bring about added frustration for the team that they're called on.

For the Celtics, such setbacks seem to only make them focus more on the task at hand.

As expected, Boston's play gradually improved following the calls.

After falling behind by as many as 11 points in the quarter, Boston closed out the half with a 13-3 run and trailed 48-46 until the officials once again made their presence felt.

They reviewed two plays that involved Miami Heat baskets.

The first was a lay-up at the end of the half by Udonis Haslem that they initially ruled came after the game clock expired.

That call was upheld.

They also reviewed a lay-up by Joel Anthony with 2:20 to play in the second quarter. The original call was that his basket counted. But upon further review, it was ruled that it too came after the shot clock expired which left the Celtics in a 46-all tie at the half.

Boston kept it close early in the third, and had a chance to take their first lead with the score tied at 50.

Ray Allen had a steal and started a fast-break, but decided to slow the ball up - not aware that Rondo was open in the paint with no one in between him and the rim.

Allen eventually passed the ball to Rondo, but it was too late, as a hustling Shane Battier got down court and blocked it from behind.

Moments later, Battier drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer which set into motion a 9-2 run for the Heat before Celtics coach Doc Rivers called a time-out with 6:25 to play in the third.

Miami's control for the rest of the game fluctuated, but it was never really threatened by a Celtics team that spent all but a few seconds playing from behind.

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

BOSTON – No one is proclaiming DeMarcus Cousins’ demeanor is all that radically different than past seasons. 

But the volatile nature that has often overshadowed his on-the-court-brilliance, doesn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to. 

Maybe he’s growing up. 

Maybe he’s finally comfortable with his team. 

And then there’s the almighty dollar which was the incentive for one of his teammates, Matt Barnes, to clean up his act as far as racking up technical fouls and being fined by the league. 

I asked Barnes whether there was a light bulb moment or a teammate or player that helped him get on track and not draw so much attention from officials and the league office. 

“It was all the money I was being fined,” he said. “I think I lost like $600,000 over my career for fines. It was time to kind of wake and say ‘hey, they don’t like you so you have to stick to the book.’”

With Barnes returning to Sacramento (he played for the Kings during the 2004-2005 season), he finds an intense, kindred spirit of sorts in Cousins who like Barnes has had his share of technical and fines handed down by the league office. 

This season, Cousins is the NBA’s leader in technical fouls with six. 

“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders,” Barnes said. “I’m just a passionate player. I play with my emotion on my sleeve. I think DeMarcus does the same thing. What I’m trying to show him now, we have to keep our emotions and energy focused towards the right things. That could be detrimental to the team if it gets out of hand.”

First-year coach Dave Joerger has been pleased to see how different Cousins is to be around on a daily basis as opposed to how he’s perceived. 

“He gets credit for his talent. He gets credit that he’s improved in the league,” Joerger said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the way that his approach to the game and the way that he’s carrying himself and conducting himself has greatly improved. He’s a good person. Now being with him, I see improvement over the last three years, the way that he goes about his business. I think that’s very positive.”

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

BOSTON – Here are a few odds and ends to keep an eye on heading into tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings: 
 
· The Celtics have won eight in a row over the Kings in Boston, with the last loss to Sacramento at the TD Garden coming on Jan. 19, 2007. Current Celtic Gerald Green was in the starting lineup that night. 

· Only six times in franchise history have the Celtics launched 38 or more 3-pointers in a game, four of which came in the month of November this season. 

· Speaking of 3-pointers, 36.2 percent of Boston’s shots are 3s. That ranks fifth in the league behind Houston, Cleveland, Brooklyn and Golden State.

· Don’t be surprised if Avery Bradley gets off to a good start tonight, especially from 3-point range. He’s shooting 59.1 percent on 3s in the first quarter which ranks second in the league. 

· Isaiah Thomas tallied 395 points scored in November, the most by a Celtic since John Havlicek had 406 points in November during the 1971-1972 season. 

· Boston leads the NBA in points scored (46.3 per game) by second-round picks. The Celtics’ second-round picks include Isaiah Thomas; Jae Crowder; Amir Johnson; Jonas Jerebko; Demetrius Jackson and Jordan Mickey.

· The Celtics are 5-0 this season when they outrebound an opponent. 

· Tonight’s game will be Boston’s fifth set of back-to-back games this season. In the first game, they are 3-1 this season. On the second night, they are 2-2.