Heat riding high on confidence after win over Celtics

Heat riding high on confidence after win over Celtics
March 19, 2013, 1:15 am
Share This Post

BOSTON -- The Miami Heat always expect a battle when they enter the TD Garden. Riding a 22-game winning streak, they knew they would be tested. And they were right.

The Boston Celtics came within inches of snapping the Heat's run, building a 17-point lead in the first half and attempting game-winners that fell just short.

In the end, the Heat walked out of the building winners of 23 straight, but not before a hard-fought showdown.

“It means a lot to what we’re trying to build -- a tough-minded team on the road," said LeBron James (37 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds). "It’s a hostile environment. We grew again tonight and that’s big for our team.”

The Heat had to combat 43 points from Jeff Green, one of the best collective efforts by the Celtics this season (even without Kevin Garnett), and the passion of 18,624 fans.

"I think no matter what with this team -– no matter if we’re up 17 or down 17 -- we’re confident that we can come back in the ball game," said Dwyane Wade (16 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists). "That’s a big difference when you’re out there playing. When you know, 'All we’ve gotta do is this, all we’ve gotta do is that,' we can get our way back in the game. It’s just a team that’s familiar with each other, that’s comfortable playing together, comfortable talking to each other, and making each other better throughout the game.”

After trailing by nearly 20 points, the Heat cut the Celtics lead to just six points at halftime. They opened the third quarter on a run to tie it up and trailed by only four heading into the final quarter.

The Celtics put up a fight early in the fourth, building a 13-point advantage with 8:27 to play. But as the clock began to wind down, the Heat tied the game with 1:21 to go and took the final lead with 10.5 seconds off a James jumpshot.

This game will get mixed in with the Heat's 52 wins in the standings, but for those who played through it, it will stand out for the rest of the season.

“There’s no one in the league that tests your mental capabilities like the Celtics," said Shane Battier (6 points, 4 rebounds). "In the Garden, it’s always heated. There always seems to be some controversy, and it’s very easy to get out of whack with these guys. At times it didn’t look like we had our emotions under control, but I’m proud of the way we responded, especially down the stretch, especially in a heated environment like this.”