Final, Celtics 112-106: Perhaps the game of the year, not only for its drama but for the sheer absurdity with which the Celts stole it.
Boston took 31 fewer shots than Miami, turned the ball over 24 times, gave up six points in the final 33 seconds of regulation, got outrebounded and allowed Dwyane Wade to score 44 points.
Oh yeah, the C’s also trailed with 0.6 seconds left in regulation.
But an alley-oop on an inbounds pass to Rajon Rondo forces overtime and Rondo dominates the extra session as Boston improves to 14-4 on the road.
Rondo finished with 25 points and cemented himself into the Celtics all-time highlight reel. Ray Allen added 22 points, Kendrick Perkins 20 and Paul Pierce 17 in his return from a knee infection.
It’s a dramatic start to a three-game road trip for the Celtics. If you get a chance to catch the highlights do so. And make sure to follow all the action again Friday when we watch Boston take on Atlanta.
Overtime, 17.8 seconds, Celtics 110-106: Why couldn’t we have seen Kendrick Perkins all alone in the frontcourt dribbling in for a game-sealing dunk? Is that too much to ask?
Instead, Ray Allen will make it a six-point game with a pair of free throws.
Overtime, 51.3 seconds, Celtics 110-106: That is a new season high of 44 points for Dwyane Wade, while Rajon Rondo’s 25 is five short of his best output this season.
Overtime, 59.4 seconds, Celtics 108-103: Don’t start the car yet. The C’s gave up six points in the last 33 seconds of regulation and have turned the ball over with regularity tonight, so a five-point bulge may not mean much.
Still, Rajon Rondo’s layup makes it a two-possession game against a Heat team that does not have many great perimeter threats.
Overtime, 2:07, Celtics 104-103: Kendrick Perkins’ first point since the start of the third quarter breaks the tie and gives Perk his second 20-point game this season.
Although the game has been exciting and the finish to regulation was one for the books, this is in some ways a nightmare for the short-handed C’s. They are without two regulars and have two others still on the floor in their first game back from injury, in addition to Rasheed Wallace on the bench with six fouls.
Overtime, 3:13, 103-103: Some of the disparities in numbers are alarming tonight. We’ll go through some of those after this one ends, which it may never because both teams look so gassed I just don’t see a basket going in anytime soon.
Overtime, 4:45, Heat 103-101: Just as a reminder the Celtics are without Rasheed Wallace, already done with six fouls. Ray Allen has five and Michael Beasley five for Miami.
End of regulation, 101-101: To quote the great Jack Buck, “I don’t believe what I just saw.”
Rajon Rondo converts an alley-oop off the inbounds pass at the buzzer, the second basket scored in the final second (that’s second, not seconds) of the fourth quarter, and we are tied.
Rondo curled around a screen and soared to the rim to take a feed from Paul Pierce. The whole thing looked rather easy.
Fourth quarter, 0.6 seconds, Heat 101-99: Unreal.
Dwyane Wade gets a steal after Ray Allen stumbles and this is turning into a disaster.
There is enough time for a catch and shoot.
Fourth quarter, 5.5 seconds, 99-99: Give Quentin Richardson credit for making a rare good defensive play on Paul Pierce, forcing a miss and leading to two free throws to tie it for Dwyane Wade.
Let’s see if they go back to Pierce, with Allen waiting for a feed on the perimeter.
Fourth quarter, 53.1 seconds, Celtics 99-95: The greatest thing about Ray Allen hitting a monstrous 3-pointer in the final minute was the sound that came from the collective mouths of the Heat fans when Allen caught the ball.
There was an audible “Oh no” as Allen squared up coming off that curl, and the concern was justified when Allen’s shot hit nothing but net.
Fourth quarter, 1:10, Celtics 96-95: Rasheed Wallace has fouled out on a tough whistle underneath.
Wallace finishes with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Fourth quarter, 1:35, Celtics 96-93: A pathetic act on the part of Quentin Richardson as he picks up a technical foul with 95 seconds left and his club down two.
Fourth quarter, 2:03, Celtics 95-93: This is a 17-4 burst by Boston, with eight points coming from Rasheed Wallace.
Rajon Rondo’s layup gives the C’s their first lead since about three minutes remained in the third.
Fourth quarter, 2:19, 93-93: Rasheed Wallace has had some wild ups and downs in this game. He is on the up-and-up right now, as his second 3-pointer of the fourth quarter ties it.
Fourth quarter, 4:22, Heat 91-88: Following a possession in which the Heat took six shots before Boston could get the ball back, Ray Allen hits a 3-pointer to slice a little more into the C’s deficit.
Fourth quarter, 4:49, Heat 91-85: Miami is getting a boatload of second and third and fourth chances in the fourth quarter. The C’s are actually playing pretty good defense but a comeback is nearly impossible if you can’t get the ball back.
Fourth quarter, 6:07, Heat 89-83: Rasheed Wallace hits a huge 3-pointer and that’s five straight points by the C’s, but Dwyane Wade is going back to the line after the Heat’s 11th offensive board.
Fourth quarter, 7:43, Heat 89-78: Michael Beasley’s foul trouble has enabled Udonis Haslem to get some big minutes, and he has responded.
Not only was he giving it right back to an incessantly jawing Rasheed Wallace, Haslem has backed it up with 15 points in 25 minutes.
His jumper just gave Miami its first double-digit lead.
Fourth quarter, 7:54, Heat 87-78 : Wow, has this game slipped away in a hurry. The Celtics have lots of time to get back into it but they were in control in the third quarter and now find themselves clawing to avoid a double-digit deficit.
And Dwyane Wade has just returned.
Fourth quarter, 9:48, Heat 85-77: A great drive and hoop for Rajon Rondo temporarily stops the Miami run, but Mario Chalmers answers with a huge 3-pointer and Udonis Haslem has a hoop as Miami takes its largest lead.
The Heat run across quarters is now 24-8. Yikes.
End of third quarter, Heat 78-75: Miami ends the third on a 17-6 run capped by Dwyane Wade‘s dunk.
The Heat’s big run in the third coincided with a long stretch which saw the C’s stop going to Kendrick Perkins.
Perk was eating up Jermaine O’Neal and anyone else Miami threw at him, his basket seconds into the half giving him 19 points.
But he barely touched the ball the rest of the third, never even taking another shot until his heave from halfcourt at the buzzer (his first 3-point attempt since Dec. 30, 2008). Completely unsure as to why they never went that way.
Third quarter, 2:01, Heat 76-73: A wild sequence for Rasheed Wallace.
First, Wallace hits a short jumper in the lane, but then tips in a Dwyane Wade miss on the other end.
Then, in a pathetic attempt to get the ball in he throws it right to Wade, who tips it off Rajon Rondo and gives the ball back to Miami.
Wallace has been jawing all game long, and just picked up a bad offensive foul.
This is a 15-4 run for Miami.
Third quarter, 4:04, Celtics 71-70: A 9-2 burst by the Heat has cut their deficit to one point. Naturally, Dwyane Wade caps it before the timeout with a turnaround jumper over Rajon Rondo.
Wade now has 31 points and five assists. His teammates have 39 and seven.
Third quarter, 6:07, Celtics 69-61: Paul Pierce hits a pair from the line to give the Celtics their largest lead of the night.
Those were the 28th and 29th attempted free throws for Boston.
By the way, does Heat management place a certain kind of fan near the opponents’ bench in an effort to distract them? There are a pair of very “distracting” women aside the bench tonight and it was the same thing last time the Celtics paid a visit.
Third quarter, 6:55, Celtics 67-61: Nice job of concentrating there by Rajon Rondo, who had to shoot two free throws as Rasheed Wallace spewed forth a stream of consciousness to either an opponent or a referee.
Third quarter, 7:57, Celtics 63-61: Now Tony Allen has four fouls as Dwyane Wade is just wearing out whomever guards him.
Third quarter, 8:32, Celtics 63-59: The C’s have now taken 25 free throws. Their high for a game this season is 40.
Third quarter, 9:42, Celtics 59-57: Two fouls in a span of seconds for Ray Allen, who is forced to the bench with four fouls.
Third quarter, 11:30, Celtics 59-54: Kendrick Perkins’ hook in the lane starts the scoring in the second half and puts him two shy of his season high of 21 points.
Halftime, Celtics 57-54: Boston closes the half on a 19-10 run and had its largest lead of the game before Dwyane Wade hit a late 3-pointer to continue his one-man Miami show.
Wade has 25 points for the Heat. His teammates are a combined 12-of-28 from the floor. Gives the C’s an obvious talking point for the locker room.
Kendrick Perkins is leading the way for the Green with 17 points.
As mentioned late in the first quarter, this is almost a mirror image of the first Celtics-Heat meeting here on Nov. 29. After a high-scoring first quarter the Green have been much more active defensively in the second in both affairs. If you add it up, Miami has scored 66 points in first quarters against Boston but just 36 in second quarters.
Second quarter, 1:16, Celtics 52-49: The Celtics are making a living on the line as the refs are blowing plenty of whistles.
Boston is now 17-of-21 from the line
Second quarter, 2:57, Heat 48-47: Kendrick Perkins hits a turnaround to give Boston its first lead of the quarter but Michael Beasley has a dunk on the other end to answer.
Second quarter, 4:13, Heat 46-45: Every time I see Heat coach Eric Spoelstra I am surprised at how young he looks.
He reminds me of an old neighbor from my youth with whom I would play “guns”.
I digress. Dwyane Wade, after scoring 18 points in the first quarter, has not had a basket in the second.
Second quarter, 5:15, Heat 44-43: On cue, Paul Pierce buries his first shot of the game, a long 3-pointer to cap a personal 5-0 run.
The C’s are shooting 58.3 percent and have already been to the line 15 times. This might be one of those games where they just need to clamp down on defense for a solid stretch of the second half in order to take control. Their offense looks pretty good.
Second quarter, 6:10, Heat 44-38: We can see how Doc Rivers is planning on handling things with Paul Pierce.
Pierce still has not attempted a shot from the floor and has played three fewer minutes than any of the other five starters.
Second quarter, 7:57, Heat 40-36: Doc Rivers calls timeout after an ugly possession for the Celtics, even though Glen Davis saved it for the time being with a tough offensive board.
On a side note, while Boston certainly doesn’t depend on him for scoring, Brian Scalabrine has struggled in his limited opportunities this season.
Rivers said recently the Scal was being tentative with his shot and sometimes taking jumpers as an afterthought. Scalabrine entered shooting 32.4 percent from the floor and has now made just 5-of-21 3-pointers.
Second quarter, 8:56, Heat 38-34: Rajon Rondo looks as if he has the jets back. He showed some very tentative steps in his last outing in Phoenix two games ago, especially in the second half, but has had a few bursts here of late.
Rondo has four points and three assists early on, and just found Glen Davis underneath for what could result in two free throws.
Michael Beasley is scoreless in 10 minutes for the Heat. He is coming off a 22-point effort Monday against Atlanta.
Second quarter,11:03, Heat 36-30: The Heat are double-teaming Rajon Rondo on the inbounds plays and it leads to an immediate turnover as Glen Davis is forced to handle the ball.
End of first quarter, Heat 35-30: Dwyane Wade scores 18 points in the first 12 minutes for the Heat in the highest-scoring first quarter for a Celtics opponents this season.
In fact, just once all season has an opponent managed 35 points in a quarter against the C’s (Golden State, 12/28, second quarter).
It sounds almost scary to say with all the injuries and guys who are playing through pain, but Boston needs to get a bit more physical here. The Heat are outrebounding them and dominating the paint, and Wade is getting some nice looks, often one-on-one with Ray Allen.
Perhaps Allen could use some assistance, although Doc Rivers is often loathe to use double teams.
First quarter, 1:36, Heat 29-27: Dwyane Wade has heated up in a big way, scoring 12 of the last 16 points for the Heat.
First quarter, 2:50, 25-25: Shades of the first time these two teams met here back in November, when the points came early and often before the defenses settled in.
In that one, Miami raced to a 31-29 lead after one quarter but was held to just 34 points over the next two quarters and finished with 85.
The Celtics are 9-of-12 in the early going tonight.
First quarter, 4:10, 21-21: Michael Beasley joins Jermaine O’Neal on the bench with two fouls. The Celtics have taken seven foul shots to the Heat’s two.
First quarter, 4:31, Heat 20-19: Pierce to Rondo to Perkins for a dunk — a great sight for the Celtics.
First quarter, 5:48, Celtics 17-16: Nice to see Paul Pierce with a strong baseline drive, where he draws a foul and hits two free throws.
The teams have combined to make 13-of-21 shots in a hot start, but the Heat have benched Jermaine O’Neal after he picks up a quick second foul.
First quarter, 7:09, Heat 13-10: Carlos Arroyo loses the ball going up but it goes in anyway, part of a 6-of-10 start for the Heat.
Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo don’t seem to be showing any major effects of their injuries early, although neither have made any significant offensive moves.
First quarter, 8:45, Heat 8-6: Jermaine O’Neal has been very active early on here in front of about three dozen fans at AmericanAirlines Arena.
O’Neal has six of the Heat’s first eight points and has already taken four shots.
First quarter, 11:55, 0-0: We are underway and feeling a bit better about the Celtics lineup, but they remain down two men in Kevin Garnett and Eddie House from the last time they sauntered into AmericanAirlines Arena and walked out with a win.
Foul trouble and fatigue remains something to watch, the former with guys like Kendrick Perkins and the latter with Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo.
Doc Rivers just said that Pierce will see reduced minutes and it’s a safe bet that Rondo will, too. Expect to see Tony Allen running point again from time to time, and Ray Allen bringing up the ball on occasion.
7:19 p.m.: It’s official. Paul Pierce has his name listed in the starting lineup, confirming reports we had been getting all day.
He will be joined by Rajon Rondo, back after a one-game layoff to rest a hamstring, Ray Allen, Rasheed Wallace and Kendrick Perkins, who has been battling an illness.
The Heat start Carlos Arroyo, Dwyane Wade, Quentin Richardson, Michael Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal, who missed Monday’s action due to hip and groin injuries.
In other news, Lester Hudson has been waived by the C’s. If he clears waivers they can re-sign him. Also, Perkins had a technical foul rescinded by the NBA, leaving him with nine on the season.
3 p.m.: The Celtics’ constantly shuffling lineup will have another new look when they begin a three-game road trip at Miami’s American Airlines Arena. We’ll be following all the action in what is sure to be an interesting matchup.Paul Pierce is expected back from a layoff that was due to a knee infection and Rajon Rondo‘s hamstring has healed. But a flu bug has hit the club, leaving Eddie House back in Boston and putting Kendrick Perkins‘ status in doubt, though Perkins did make the flight south and should play.
The C’s (24-8) are coming off a three-day rest (they will have only one such stretch the rest of the season, aside from the All-Star break) after a 103-96 win over Toronto on Saturday. Ray Allen led six players in double figures with 23 points as the Green snapped a three-game skid without Pierce, Rondo and Kevin Garnett.
The Heat (17-15) also broke a three-game slide when they knocked off Atlanta at home on Monday night, 92-75. Dwyane Wade and Michael Beasley combined for 50 points and 16 rebounds in the win.
Miami is expected to sign point guard Rafer Alston if and when he clears waivers Thursday night. The Heat are in need of a better distributor, ranking 28th in the league in team assists per game.
Boston rode Garnett’s 11-of-12 effort to a 92-85 victory at Miami on Nov. 29. It was the ninth win in 10 games in the series for the Celts.
Check back closer to tip for updates on the lineups, which seem to change by the minute these days.