Boston Celtics

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.

Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

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Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

Gordon Hayward wanted to go to Boston to play with Isaiah Thomas.

Of course, that's not going to happen. The Celtics traded Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a package for Kyrie Irving. Hayward explained what it was like for him to learn he and Thomas would not get the chance to hit the court together in Celtics' green.

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"My first reaction was to text I.T., and wish him the best," Hayward wrote in a blog post which he published Thursday. "That was a really strange moment because I’d really been looking forward to playing with him. He didn’t just help recruit me to Boston—he was a big piece of that recruitment. He had talked a lot about city and how it was different to be a Celtic. He talked about the intensity of playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, playing at the Garden in the playoffs, and how much fun it was, and how much fun he had playing in Boston.

"All of that ultimately helped win me over. And by the time of the trade, I had already started to build a little bit of a relationship with him.

"But that is just how the business works. I have spent enough years in the NBA to realize that things can change like that, in an instant. Still, even though we didn’t necessarily get to be teammates, I’m definitely going to be watching him as a fan. In this league, I think we are all rooting for each other in some way or another—just to try to stay healthy, to try to be the best we can be."

Hayward may be genuine about rooting for Thomas -- except perhaps when he faces off against the Cavaliers in the season-opener on Oct. 17 at Quicken Loans Arena. Thomas is uncertain to play due to a hip injury. But the two teams are expected to see each other in the Eastern Conference Finals again after the 2017-18 season. This preview will be an opportunity for Thomas and Irving to get their first shot at revenge against their previous team.

The trade wasn't all bad for Hayward, he explained. He was pleased at the prospect of playing with Irving. Hayward cited Irving's abilities in 1-on-1 situations and clutch moments. He appreciated Irving's scoring ability, because Hayward knows the point guard will open up space for Hayward to knock down open shots. Above all, Hayward seemed to value Irving's unique experience.

"And then getting a chance to play with LeBron James, and going to the Finals three straight years—those are experiences that are invaluable and that you really can’t teach," Hayward wrote. "Having that experience of playing in those big moments, dealing with the circus of the media, dealing with expectations, those are all things that I think he can help us with. Because most of us, myself especially, have never been through that."

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