Celtics drop Game 1 to Heat, 93-79


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.

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a CSNNE.com report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”