Live Blog: Celtics vs. Heat

Live Blog: Celtics vs. Heat Final, Celtics 107-102: It took about three hours to play the last three minutes but the Celtics survive a nip-and-tuck affair to sweep the season series from the Heat.


Given that Boston was without Paul Pierce and had some early foul trouble on a couple of players, it’s a quality win. But 17 turnovers and a 19-of-30 effort from the line don’t look all that hot for the Celts.


Rajon Rondo goes for 22 points and 14 assists and Ray Allen paces the C’s with 23 points. Eddie House chipped in 16 off the bench.


There’s a night off before what some may consider another night off as New Jersey comes to TD Garden on Friday. It’s a great opportunity for Boston to notch its first three-game winning streak since Christmas and we will be courtside covering it all for you.


Fourth quarter, 36.5 seconds, Celtics 99-94: Tony Allen has a rather quiet effort in place of Paul Pierce but makes a monstrous defensive play at the end, stripping Dwyane Wade and getting to the line for two.


Allen was put back in moments before making the play and the Celts are just a stop away from closing this one out.


Fourth quarter, 1:30, Celtics 96-94: I repeat, the Heat will not go away. Quentin Richardson with another 3-pointer to make it a one-possession game again.


Fourth quarter, 2:05, Celtics 95-91: Without Paul Pierce at their disposal down the stretch, the Celtics have to rethink how they attack these last few possessions.


Certainly everything will go through Rajon Rondo, but there are no go-to scorers who can create points with the ball. Rondo can, but he’s looking to pass first most of the time.


Fourth quarter, 2:39, Celtics 95-90: Doc Rivers choosing to stick with the Rajon Rondo-Eddie House backcourt and Ray Allen at the small forward spot, a lineup which has had some success.


But the Heat simply will not go away. Udonis Haslem can get the Celtics’ lead down to four after the timeout.


Fourth quarter, 5:15, Celtics 88-83 : OK, you can blame me for the jinx. No sooner do I mention the Celtics “closing out” opponents than the Heat reel off five quick points to cut Boston’s lead in half.


Fourth quarter, 6:35, Celtics 88-78: And suddenly the Celtics are closing out opponents, or at least flirting with it here as they are on a 14-4 run to open the fourth.


Boston won the fourth quarter Monday in Washington 25-10 to break a slide which had seen the club fizzle in last few minutes of every game. Of course, the Celts outscored Miami by 11 in the fourth quarter and overtime when they met last month.


Fourth quarter, 7:27, Celtics 84-78: A nice couple of minutes for Ray Allen, who nails his first 3-pointer of the night and then leaves a pretty pass for Rasheed Wallace on a curl.


Wallace knocks down an easy jumper and the lead is back up to six.


Fourth quarter, 9:40, Celtics 79-74: The Celtics score the first five points of the quarter, and on most nights it would’ve been six as Ray Allen misses a rare free throw.


Up five points is a place the Green have been all night it seems, only to cough it up with a few minutes of lackluster play. Good timeout by Eric Spoelstra to reset things and hope for another mini comeback.


Fourth quarter, 11:42, 74-74: Underway in the always frightening fourth quarter. For those expecting doom, however, remember how the C’s locked up Washington down the stretch on Monday, also without Paul Pierce.


End of third quarter, 74-74: The Celtics flubbed about 17 chances on their final possession of the third quarter and then put Michael Beasley on the line to tie it entering the fourth.


This time Miami did not commit a stupid foul on Rajon Rondo, as it did in the last second of the first half.


As it stands the Celtics have 12 minutes to avoid what would be a fifth loss in seven home games. This from a team that lost six home games through the entire championship ’08 season.


Third quarter, 1:21, Celtics 73-72: Quentin Richardson is the one who boxes out Ray Allen on the Miami end of the floor. Q grabs an easy offensive board and dunks it, part of an 8-2 burst for the Heat.


It seems as if the Celts can’t get the lead past two or three possessions and inevitably Miami claws its way back.


Third quarter, 3:47, Celtics 71-64: Rajon Rondo’s second 3-pointer (that’s right, two) ends a stretch of 3 minutes, 32 seconds without a basket for Boston.


It takes just 33 more seconds for Tony Allen to add to the C’s lead. The seven-point bulge matches Boston’s largest lead of the game.


Third quarter, 5:31, Celtics 66-64: We mentioned earlier how Kevin Garnett was honored for surpassing Larry Bird on the league’s all-time scoring list.


Garnett, now in 24th, is just 11 points from passing another former Celtic, Gary Payton, and moving into 23rd.


The next victim would be Clyde Drexler.


Third quarter, 6:28, Celtics 64-60: A dismal sequence for the Heat here.


First, Kendrick Perkins steps on Dwyane Wade’s foot, causing the Heat superstar to get up slow and start limping.


As he hobbles, Jermaine O’Neal picks up his fourth foul and then a technical for arguing it. To make matters worse, Rafer Alston gets in the act by receiving a technical of his own.


A limping star, two technical fouls and the clock hasn’t ticked a second. The C’s have been given some gifts from a few boneheaded Miami plays thus far.


Third quarter, 7:00, Celtics 63-58: Rajon Rondo is an amazing passer, we know, but is it just me or does the throw a pass way too hard for a teammate at least once a game? He just did that a moment ago and it would’ve taken hands of pillows for Kevin Garnett to haul that one in.


Third quarter, 8:32, Celtics 60-58: Rajon Rondo buries a 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer, a scenario we have seen numerous times this season. That’s about the only time he should be taking them anyway.


Third quarter, 10:30, Heat 56-55: Dwyane Wade gets to the hole in a heartbeat to give Miami its first lead since the first quarter.


Third quarter, 11:20, Celtics 55-51: We are underway in the second half and you will see the Heat go immediately to Dwyane Wade, who was able to draw three fouls on Tony Allen in the first half.


Halftime, Celtics 53-51: A complete gift is given to the Celtics at the end of the first half as Daequan Cook fouls Rajon Rondo at halfcourt as the buzzer sounds.


Cook, for reasons only he knows, jumped into Rondo as the little man began to get off a heave to beat the horn.


Rondo is given three free throws with 4 seconds to go. He made 2-of-3 to give Boston the lead entering the break.


The reaction by Miami coach Eric Spoelstra was priceless. Watch this be a two-point Celtics win.


Rondo finished the half with 12 points and eight assists. Dwyane Wade had 13 and seven for the Heat, who took 11 fewer shots than the hosts but made up for it by shooting 63 percent, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range.


Second quarter, 50.4 seconds, Celtics 49-48: Kevin Garnett’s six assists are already a season high.


Second quarter, 2:00, Celtics 47-46: The Heat come storming out of the timeout and Udonis Haslem is the catalyst. He hustles back to block a Kendrick Perkins attempt and seconds later hits a baseline jumper with a defender in his face.


Nice player, that Haslem.


Second quarter, 3:33, Celtics 45-40: As soon as Tony Allen leaves Dwyane Wade scores, and moments later Rafer Alston torches Eddie House on an up-fake and drive to the basket.


So long as Tony Allen remains in foul trouble and the C’s are forced to scramble, these are two matchups woefully in favor of the Heat.


Second quarter, 4:56, Celtics 41-36: Tony Allen has a tough assignment tonight in defending Dwyane Wade, but it doesn’t help anyone to see him in foul trouble.


He picks up his third and will sit the rest of the half.


Second quarter, 5:48, Celtics 39-34: It’s remarkable to see (hear) how much some fans have turned on Rasheed Wallace.


He is not a hated individual, but when he debuted with the club this season he received some of the biggest ovations on the team. People in TD Garden loved him.


With each 3-pointer missed, he seems to hear it more and more of late. Throw in a pair of bad turnovers so far tonight and the vitriol is beginning to spew.  


Second quarter, 6:55, Celtics 39-32: The Celts’ current lineup has four guys who like to shoot 3-pointers and an average, at best, interior presence in Glen Davis. Unless they are hitting this unit won’t score much.


Of course, as I type that, Rasheed Wallace knocks down Boston’s second triple of the game.


Second quarter, 8:48, Celtics 34-29: Eddie House has provided a jolt to an otherwise pedestrian affair. He scored five straight points and then had a steal before picking up a clear-path foul, which will give the C’s a chance to stretch this lead out a bit after the break.


Second quarter, 10:40, Celtics 29-28: Give Brian Scalabrine credit for making Michael Beasley earn it on the line as Scal delivered a solid foul.


Beasley makes 1-of-2 and we’re tied again.


End of first quarter, Celtics 27-26: Tony Allen picks up his second foul late in the first quarter, not what Doc Rivers needed with a thin bench. It forced Ray Allen back in after a very limited breather.


Miami’s looks were somewhat limited in the first quarter, but they shot 65 percent from the floor to offset six turnovers.


Kevin Garnett with a great first burst as he went to the bench with seven points and four assists. Much has been made of his dragging of the right leg, but there seemed to be less of it Monday and he was plenty spry in the first quarter of this one.


Boston’s second unit struggled mightily in the second quarter of some recent games, most notably the Atlanta loss and the Washington win. Keep an eye on how Rivers handles things here over the next six minutes.


First quarter, 2:00, Celtics 23-19: Dwyane Wade throws the ball away for the sixth Heat turnover. The C’s have been active on defense.


First quarter, 2:28, Celtics 22-19: This Celtics team is at its best when the Kevin Garnett-Rajon Rondo connection is working. Thus far both of the All-Stars have six points, four assists and two rebounds.


As mentioned earlier, Boston is picking the Heat apart with some great interior passing. All 22 of the Celtics’ points have come in the paint.


To put that in perspective, they had 36 points in the paint in the entire game Monday in Washington.


First quarter, 3:43, Celtics 16-15: Rafer Alston has two 3-pointers already and that alone is a headline.


Alston was 0-of-6 from the arc and 2-of-19 overall over his last three games, scoring seven points in over 76 minutes. Go figure.


First quarter, 5:57, 12-12: Kevin Garnett was just honored for surpassing Larry Bird on the NBA all-time scoring list, which he accomplished with his last basket Monday in Washington.


First quarter, 5:57, 12-12: Doc Rivers often professes to love deflections and quick hands on defense. He’s getting plenty of that early.


Ray Allen had a strip from behind of one Heat player and then Kendrick Perkins knocked a Miami pass away, leading to an easy layup by Kevin Garnett.


First quarter, 6:50, Heat 12-10: We saw some fantastic interior passing by the C’s in the win over Washington, one of their true calling cards when things are going well.


There have been some nice looks in close so far in this one, the latest a Garnett-to-Perkins gem.


First quarter, 8:45, Heat 6-4: Dwyane Wade off to a quick start, looking to duplicate his 44-point effort against the Celtics the last time he saw them.


It’s funny, the crowds here seem to not know what to expect from this team of late. It is positively dead in here right now.


First quarter, 11:55, 0-0: We are underway in the opener of a big three-game homestand for the Celts.


This is somewhat of a difficult Heat team to figure out and they have had their own share of injuries of late, specifically to Michael Beasley, Jermaine O’Neal (no surprise there) and most recently Mario Chalmers, who is inactive for this one.


Still, they are clinging to the seventh spot in the East and would love to break through against a banged-up Celtics unit.


7:46 p.m.: Just a quick update with the starting lineups, which are now official.


As mentioned earlier, Tony Allen gets the start in place of Paul Pierce. Allen is joined by Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins.


The Heat start Rafer Alston, Dwyane Wade, Quentin Richardson, Michael Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal.


Wade went for a season-high 44 points the last time he faced the C’s. If you recall it was his steal and dunk with 0.6 seconds left in regulation that seemed to seal the deal for Miami. That was before the Pierce to Rondo alley-oop which amazingly forced OT, which was dominated by Boston.


That was the Celtics 10th win in the last 11 games against the Heat.


7:30 p.m.: Greetings from the Garden, where as expected Paul Pierce will not suit up.


Doc Rivers said moments ago that Pierce will likely miss Friday’s game against New Jersey but could return for Orlando on Super Bowl Sunday.


At the very least, Rivers is pleased that the injury — a mid-foot sprain — is not any worse than it is.


“When I got the report back I took a sigh of relief, no doubt,” River said.


Tony Allen gets the nod in Pierce’s place. While Allen brings an interesting element to the starting unit and has played two outstanding games in a row, Rivers laments how the move hurts his bench.


After assessing the injuries and lineup changes, Rivers also discussed comments made by Rajon Rondo in a recent Boston Herald story which suggested some discord in the locker room. The C’s coach was perfectly fine with Rondo’s words, which he said were similar to his own comments to the team a few weeks ago when Rivers sensed that players were just as concerned with travel and team attendants doing their job as they were with winning basketball games.


“I think he was saying something a little different [than how it was portrayed],” Rivers said of Rondo. “I do like our chemistry. He was repeating what I was saying three weeks ago.


“I like the fact that Pierce and Rondo said they’ve been given the answers and just need to execute. I’d like to pass the test.”


In other news, Marquis Daniels is expected to practice Thursday and Rivers continues to target the New Orleans game on Feb. 10 as a good day for Daniels to return.


11:10 a.m.: It will likely be a Paul Pierce-less evening at TD Garden, where the Celtics host the Miami Heat in a nationally televised contest that kicks off a three-game homestand.

At one point during a flurry of reports Tuesday afternoon it looked as if Pierce would be out for the duration of the homestand and beyond with a serious foot injury, but it has been ruled only a foot strain only and there is a tiny chance the captain suits up against the Heat.

Don’t count on that happening until the Orlando game on Sunday, however. The C’s cannot afford to press the issue on anything with the way injuries have wreaked havoc on their season.

As it stands, we are likely looking at Tony Allen starting in Pierce’s place alongside the rest of the usual starting five. It’s a lineup that went 1-2 near the end of December while Pierce was out with knee problems.

It’s a good thing Allen has been playing so well. He was electric against Los Angeles on Sunday and had 10 points and six rebounds in Monday’s 99-88 win in Washington, filling in down the stretch with Pierce sidelined.

What the Pierce injury does, if in fact he is out, is limit a bench which has been up and down of late. We may see a little Bill Walker in this one and perhaps Shelden Williams, who has not played in eight straight games.

The Heat have treaded water since a 112-106 loss to the Celtics on Jan. 6 which will always be remembered for the Pierce to Rajon Rondo alley-oop that forced overtime. They followed up a 1-2 road trip with a 97-81 loss to Milwaukee at home on Monday.

We will provide updates from the Garden on Pierce as soon as we get them leading up to the 8:00 p.m. start.

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