Celtics fall short in bid to snap Heat's streak, 105-103

Celtics fall short in bid to snap Heat's streak, 105-103
March 19, 2013, 6:45 am
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BOSTON — Somebody is missing, somebody else steps up.

It has been that kind of season for the Boston Celtics.

So even without Kevin Garnett, their defensive anchor, their vocal leader on the floor, off the floor and inside the huddle, the Celtics weren't the least bit concerned that they would give the defending NBA champion all they could handle and win.

Indeed, the C's got big-game performances from a number of players. But no one rose to the occasion quite like Jeff Green, Garnett's replacement in the starting lineup.

He didn't just play well. Green had the best scoring game of his NBA life, tallying a career-high 43 points to go with seven rebounds.

But for Green, he won't remember Monday's game for all those points scored.

He'll instead remember the points - two specifically - scored on him in the final seconds of play by LeBron James that lifted the Heat to a 105-103 win.

James, who had 37 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds, drained a jumper with 10.5 seconds to play over Green that put the Heat ahead by two points.

After the Celtics time-out, Green drove into the lane and had the ball roll out of bounds off Shane Battier.

The officials went to review the play to see if in fact the initial ruling - Celtics ball - would hold up. It did.

Out of the time-out, Paul Pierce took an off-balance 3-pointer that grazed the rim and eventually wound up in the hands of the Heat.

Miami called a time-out with 1.9 seconds to play.

With the loss, Boston (36-30) saw its home winning streak snapped at 11 games while the Heat (52-14) have now won 23 in a row which is the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.

Boston led by as many as 10 points in the fourth, but an 18-7 run by the Heat put Miami ahead 101-100 with 2:40 to play following a 3-pointer by Mario Chalmers.

Chalmers finished with 21 points.

After a Celtics time-out, Boston's Jason Terry had a pass deflected and then picked up his fifth personal foul.

A  James miss led to a driving lay-up attempt by Avery Bradley being blocked out of bounds.

That turned out to be a good thing for the C's, as Bradley came back and nailed a 3-pointer that put Boston back on top, 103-101.

 But when it mattered most, James was too much for the Celtics to handle as he scored the game-tying and eventual go-ahead baskets for the Heat.

Boston had a strong start to the game in the first quarter which ended with
a 17-0 run that was capped off by a high-degree-of-difficulty mid-range jumper (does he know any other kind to take?) by Jordan Crawford that put the C's ahead 31-19 after the first.

Boston's 65-percent shooting in the quarter combined with Dwyane Wade's early foul trouble and an aggressive, dominant start to things by Jeff Green, put the C's well on their way to one of their more impressive showings this season with 26 first-half points.

But Miami was no stranger to having to play from behind and win. Coming into Monday's game, Miami was tied or trailed in the fourth quarter in 11 of their franchise-record 22 straight wins prior to Monday's victory.

After falling behind by as many as 17 points in the first half, the Heat chipped away with an 11-2 run in the second quarter which cut the Celtics lead to 55-49 after a 3-pointer by Shane Battier.

And as the game wore on, things began to get a bit chippy with more jawing between both teams.

After a James dunk on Jason Terry, James was whistled for a technical foul after staring him down Terry while he was on the floor.

The two teams played to a virtual standstill for the rest of the second quarter which ended with the Celtics ahead 59-53 at the half.

Miami came out as the aggressor offensively in the third quarter.

A jumper by Chris Bosh followed by a jumper by Wade made it a one-possession game (59-57).

And in less than two minutes, the Heat tied the game at 59 following a dunk by Wade.

Even before the 6-0 spurt by Miami to start the quarter, Boston's control of the game was clearly slipping away.

Now it was gone.


And following an offensive foul on Brandon Bass out of the time-out, the Heat regained the lead, 61-59, on a Udonis Haslem jumper.

Both teams stayed within a possession or two of each other most of the quarter which ended with the C's on top, 82-78.