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

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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.

Al Horford's strong play propels Celtics to 97-92 win over Kings

Al Horford's strong play propels Celtics to 97-92 win over Kings

BOSTON – You knew Boston’s dominance over the Sacramento Kings at the TD Garden was going to come to an end someday. 

Well that day won’t come around for at least another season as the Celtics’ forgotten man just a couple nights ago, Al Horford, came up with big plays at both ends of the floor that helped propel Boston to a 97-92 win. 

With Boston ahead 95-92 with less than 10 seconds to play, the Kings had one chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer. 

They got the ball to their best player DeMarcus Cousins who tried to draw a foul against his defender, Al Horford. 

Cousins’ attempt to sell there being contact behind the 3-point line was not being bought by the officials. 

After his missed shot, Sacramento’s Garrett Temple fouled Horford with 4.8 seconds to play. 

Horford, who finished with a season-high 26 points, went to the line and made both of the free throws to seal the victory. 

The Celtics (11-8) have now won five of their last seven games overall as they hit the road where they’ve won four in a row away from the TD Garden.

Meanwhile the Kings (7-12) have now lost nine straight at the TD Garden.

Sacramento had swung the game’s momentum in their favor at the end of the third and early in the fourth, but the Celtics refused to go down without a fight. 

A shot by Horford tied the game at 76. And on the ensuing Kings possession, Horford came up with a blocked shot that ultimately led to lay-up for Jonas Jerebko to put Boston up 78-76.

Cousins suffered a cut above his right eye in the fourth quarter and finished with 28 points, nine rebounds and three assists. 

After a Sacramento time-out following Jerebko’s basket, the Celtics came up with another turnover – their 15thforced turnover of the night – that led to a lay-up by Kelly Olynyk.

On the ensuing Olynyk basket, Cousins took a blow to the head on the play that forced him to leave with 7:08to play. 

With no Cousins on the floor, the Celtics tightened up their perimeter defense and made a point of attacking the Sacramento interior immediately.

Isaiah Thomas, who finished with 20 points, converted a three-point play at the 6:33 mark - 35 seconds after Cousins left the game.

The close finish was in stark contrast to how the game begin. 

In Boston’s 121-114 loss to Detroit on Wednesday, Horford only took five shots from the field. 

After the game, head coach Brad Stevens said that should have never happened. 

Jae Crowder called it “unacceptable.”

Well it didn’t take Horford long to get five shot attempts – about five minutes actually. 

And the four-time all-star hit most of them as he helped the Celtics lead by as many as 13 points in the first quarter before the Kings closed out the quarter with a 10-0 run to tie the game at 29. 

Horford led four double figure scorers for Boston which included Thomas, Jae Crowder (16 points) and Avery Bradley (15 points). 

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics hold on to lead after Kings rally back

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics hold on to lead after Kings rally back

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics take a slim 47-46 lead into the half over Sacramento, a team they have dominated at the TD Garden. 

The Celtics are looking to extend their winning streak at home over the Kings to nine in a row with a victory tonight. 

But the Kings are not going to go down easily, as they rallied back from a 13-point deficit in the first quarter. 

After Boston went ahead 29-19, the Kings scored the final 10 points of the quarter to tie it at 29. 

Sacramento took a couple of brief leads in the second, only for the Celtics to get a clutch shot or a timely stop defensively. 

The final points of the half came on a put-back basket by Al Horford which gave Boston a one-point lead that would serve as the margin going into the half. 

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Friday’s game.

 

STARS

Al Horford

After taking just five shots in Wednesday’s loss to Detroit, Horford had as many in the first six minutes. He would finish the half with 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting which included a pair of three-pointers.

DeMarcus Cousins

He had a horrible first half shooting the ball, but there was no denying Cousins’ presence and impact on the game. Despite missing six of his nine shot attempts he still led them with nine points and five rebounds.

 

STUDS

Avery Bradley

He looked a lot more like the Avery Bradley we’ve seen most of this season, and not the one who was a non-factor for most of Wednesday’s loss to Detroit. At the half he had nine points and four rebounds.

Matt Barnes

The oldest player on the floor certainly didn’t look past his prime. The 36-year-old small forward came off the Kings bench to score six points along with grabbing eight rebounds. 

 

DUDS

Rudy Gay

A 19.6 points per game scorer this season, Gay couldn’t get into any kind of flow or rhythm offensively. At the half, he had four points on 2-for-8 shooting which included him missing all four of his three-pointers.