Heat overcome career-high 44 from Rondo, beat Celtics in OT, 115-111

776658.jpg

Heat overcome career-high 44 from Rondo, beat Celtics in OT, 115-111

MIAMI For one half, the Boston Celtics had the Miami Heat right where they wanted them.

Dwyane Wade couldn't make a shot. Somebody other than LeBron James was leading the Heat in scoring.

And Rajon Rondo was the best player on the floor, hands down.

He was that player for most of the night.

But Rondo's best wasn't good enough on this night as the Heat squeaked out a 115-111 overtime win.

As was the case in Game One, this game also had its share of question officiating that went against the Celtics.

Trailing 107-105, Rajon Rondo drove into the lane and missed a lay-up where replays showed he was fouled by Dwyane Wade.

No call was made.

From there, the Celtics were never the same team despite Rondo's incredible 44-point, 10 assist, eight-rebound night.

Boston returns home trailing 2-0 in the series with Games 3 and 4 at the TD Garden on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

In a game that featured a few twists and turns, the game's momentum took a major swing in Miami's favor following a blocked shot by Wade on a driving lay-up attempt by Ray Allen.

Boston was leading 71-66 at the time of Allen's miss.

Miami responded to Wade's block with a 12-0 run to take the lead and spent the rest of the quarter playing catch up as it ended with the Heat ahead, 81-75.

But the Celtics had their own momentum-swinging moment in the fourth quarter.

After Kevin Garnett was fouled by James Jones, Garnett was whistled for a technical foul on the play.

Boston then reeled off nine straight to regain the lead, 88-85, but couldn't come up with the big shot or big stops in the game's final minutes to steal away home court.

For the C's, it was a disappointing finish to a game that began with such promise, as a lay-up by Rondo gave the C's their first lead of the series, 4-2.

But it wasn't his usual darting-to-the-basket lay-up; instead, it was a jumper.

It would serve as a warning shot from the 6-1 point guard for what he was planning to continue firing up in the first half.

Rondo's jumper, far and away the weakest part of his game, was suddenly a source of strength for him and the Celtics in the first half.

Indeed, it was Rondo splashing a jumper in the middle of the lane, from the wing and of course, a dash of dashing to the basket for a lay-up or two was of course in order.

At half, Rondo was well on his way to a triple-double with 22 points, seven assists and four rebounds.

Consider this.

Rondo had more points at the half than LeBron James (13 points) and Dwyane Wade (two points) combined.

Despite his one-man dominance, the Celtics only led 53-46 at half against a Heat team that shot less than 37 percent from the field.

For Miami, it was the 3-ball that kept them afloat in the first half with Mario Chalmers leading the way.

Chalmers, who has averaged 11.1 points in the playoffs this year, had 14 at the half which included him connecting on 3-of-5 from 3-point range.

Miami continued to keep within arm's reach of the C's courtesy of the 3-ball in the third quarter, as James connected on a pair that cut into Boston's single digit lead.

Meanwhile, the C's countered with a steady dose of attacking the lane and getting to the free throw line. At the half, Boston had 19 free throw attempts compared to just 14 for the Heat.

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
 
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
 
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
 
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
 
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
 
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.


 

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
 
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
 
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
 
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
 
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
 
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
 
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
 
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
 
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
 
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”