This one's in the books — the Celtics complete a second-half comeback from down double digits and win Game 1 at the TD Garden, 85-76. A solid team victory and a superb crunch-time performance from the Celtics on both ends of the floor.
This postseason is off to a good start, C's fans.
Fourth quarter, 33.7 seconds, Celtics 82-76: Big play by Davis, redeeming himself for the dumb technical by grabbing a big rebound and hitting one of two to put the Celtics back up six.
Erik Spoelstra needs another timeout. Time for Miami to get desperate.
Fourth quarter, 40.0 seconds, Celtics 81-76: The dust has cleared, the war is over, and the Celtics remain 40 seconds away from prevailing in a messy Game 1.
Three more technicals have been doled out — one to Quentin Richardson and two to Kevin Garnett, who finds himself ejected here in the final minute. Dwyane Wade gets to the line and hits Miami's one technical free throw, but the C's are still up five. One more stop and the Celtics have this one in the bag.
Fourth quarter, 40.0, Celtics 81-75: From out of nowhere, a brawl erupts in front of the Miami bench.
Paul Pierce is shoved into the bench in the middle of a play, and a pile of Heat players leap into action as Glen Davis and Udonis Haslem scuffle with Pierce lying on the ground in the middle of a dogpile.
It's hard to make out exactly what just happened, but Doc Rivers appears extremely irritated with Davis for getting into a one-on-12 war with the Heat bench.
Pretty insane. Forty seconds left in a huge playoff game, and we get this kind of shenanigans. The Celtics are basically one stop away from icing a big win in Game 1 of this series, but we're looking at a long timeout as the officials review the mayhem that was. The initial call is offsetting technicals on Davis and Haslem. It's tough to get this one right, because all anyone could really see was pandemonium.
Fourth quarter, 1:46, Celtics 81-71: Rondo to the hole. This morning, he couldn't keep his breakfast down; now, he's devouring the Heat for dinner. Is this thing over?
Fourth quarter, 2:23, Celtics 79-71: Wade rushes a three and misses. Huge stop for the Celtics, who have an eight-point lead and the ball. Can they finish?
Fourth quarter, 3:30, Celtics 78-71: Miami's going small with Jermaine O'Neal off the floor, looking for some added scoring punch with Udonis Haslem and Michael Beasley at the forward positions.
The Celtics are countering by going small themselves. Kendrick Perkins is off the floor — the C's bigs are Kevin Garnett and Glen Davis. These last three minutes are going to come down to energy, not physical toughness. Who wants to work the hardest? That's the question.
Fourth quarter, 6:43, Celtics 74-68: Rasheed to the line, and he hits one of two. It's now a 14-2 Boston run. The Celtics can do no wrong.
The Celtics are now 17-of-20 from the line in this game, which is key. If they can maintain this lead and force the Heat to put them on the line late in crunch time, there's no doubt they can put this thing away.
Although it might not come to that. Miami has missed about a million straight attempts from the field.
Fourth quarter, 9:40, 68-68: And just like that, we're all tied up.
Rajon Rondo gets to the line and hits two huge free throws, and the Celtics have tied this game for the first time in a long while.
The crowd at the TD Garden is as loud as it's been all season long, and the Celtics are feeling the momentum shift their way as they try to take this game over.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra looks frustrated. Wonder why.
End of third quarter, Heat 66-64: You're now looking at an inspired Celtics team, playing with renewed energy as they try to take this game back.
They're battling for loose balls. They're getting physical, proving that they're not afraid to sacrifice their bodies for the team. They're working, grinding, playing like they really want this one now. They're within two points despite a monster third-quarter effort from Mr. Wade.
They've got 12 minutes left to finish the comeback effort. Can they do it?
Third quarter, 3:27, Heat 63-55: The crowd at the TD Garden is demanding defense, and they're getting it. Sometimes.
It still seems to come and go in spurts. The C's will bear down hard for one possession and get a key stop, then they'll get complacent and let a guy drive the lane for a layup untouched.
You hear Doc talking about bringing it for a full 48 minutes but at this point, he'd probably settle for 48 seconds. The C's need to string a few more stops together.
Third quarter, 6:17, Heat 61-49: We now rejoin the Dwyane Wade show, already in progress. What, are you surprised?
C'mon now, admit it — when Ray Allen came out in the first quarter bringing all the energy needed to contain D-Wade, you had to think it was a little too good to be true. Now we're starting to see Allen show his fatigue a little bit. It's almost like he's 34 or something.
Ray will need some help to slow down Wade, who had 11 points at the half and now has 20. Rajon Rondo will have to pitch in a little bit, while Tony Allen and Michael Finley will also need to do their part off the bench. It's got to be a team effort.
Third quarter, 9:23, Heat 51-43:The C's are getting lit up. First Quentin Richardson for three then Carlos Arroyo, then D-Wade makes a difficult tip-in off a miss by Jermaine O'Neal.
Miami's firing on all cylinders, no two ways about it. And Boston just doesn't appear to have the energy to chase these guys around. Still waiting for that second wind…
Halftime, Heat 44-41: For the second quarter in a row, the C's beat the buzzer with a nice jump shot. This time it's Paul Pierce knocking one down, bringing Boston back to within three.
Hard for the Celtics to complain about a three-point deficit, considering how poorly they're shooting. As long as they keep executing well, they should be in fine shape to take this game over in the second half. The shots will fall.
Dwyane Wade has 11 points so far, predictably leading the way for Miami in the first half; Tony Allen, of all people, leads the Celtics with eight.
Second quarter, 3:00, Heat 39-35: Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are now a combined 2-for-11 from the floor. Hard to win when you shoot like that.
The Celtics have good reason to be a little bit frustrated out there — they're taking good shots, but nothing seems to be falling. They're shooting just 42.4 percent from the field as a team in this game, and honestly, it feels even lower than that. A couple of dunks from Perk and T.A. have propped that figure up a bit.
Nothing Doc Rivers can do about it. He's just got to have his guys keep taking smart shots.
Second quarter, 6:03, Heat 35-32: The Celtics just don't look like themselves tonight — they're making little mistakes that they usually never make.
KG and Pierce are struggling to catch passes without dropping them out of bounds. No one can make one or two dribbles without fumbling it. Easy shots aren't falling.
Call it playoff jitters, call it what you will. But the C's are slipping up in uncharacteristic ways, and it's keeping them from taking control of this game. They've got to play better.
Second quarter, 9:07, 31-31: The game has slowed down considerably on both sides of the floor here in the second quarter.
Both teams are playing tough D and keeping the ball out of the paint. This is a Miami style of basketball game — slow the pace, control the ball, get stops and grind it out.
Having their second unit out on the floor with the exception of Ray Allen, the Celtics aren't doing much to fight that. Once Doc Rivers throws Pierce and Rondo back out there, you can expect the C's to seize control again.
End of first quarter, Heat 29-28: Rasheed Wallace's first playoff game in a Celtics uniform is off to a shaky start.
On his first field-goal attempt of the postseason, he tries to drive the lane and get a layup, but he loses the ball on the way up and turns it over. Then on the way back down the floor, he sends a hard shove in the direction of Quentin Richardson and responds in shock when he's whistled for the obvious foul.
But he comes up big after that, responding with a pretty 3-point play and a solid assist on a buzzer-beating jumper from Tony Allen at the end of the quarter. Three points and an assist for Sheed; eight points on 4-of-5 shooting so far tonight for T.A. An overall solid effort from the Celtics' second unit, keeping them alive in this game.
First quarter, 3:29, Celtics 19-19: Tony Allen can throw down a mean two-handed slam. Who knew?
A couple of sloppy turnovers leading to easy fast-break Miami points, and the Celtics start hanging their heads. But as Allen charges the lane, takes in a nice Rajon Rondo entry pass and throws down, the TD Garden crowd gets fired up, and the Celtics have come charging back.
We're all tied up, and momentum is shifting back in the Celtics' direction after a frustrating couple of minutes.
First quarter, 6:14, Celtics 13-11: So far, KG appears to be the same streaky KG we've seen all season.
One possession, he's getting down the floor quickly in transition and knocking down an open jumper; the next, he's driving the lane meekly and failing to finish at the rim.
Garnett has done a fantastic job on Michael Beasley, though, holding him to just two shot attempts and two points so far. KG's got to be the Celtics' defensive backbone if they want to go deep this postseason.
First quarter, 9:21, Celtics 7-2: The Celtics have to be encouraged early on — they are winning the war in the middle. Decisively.
The C's have sent a message early on that they're not going to settle for jump shots easily — they're forcing the ball inside, getting inside shots for Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Paul Pierce.
Defensively, the C's are forcing the Heat to settle for jumpers themselves. Perk has been physical on Jermaine O'Neal, denying the big man easy looks, and playing D-Wade straight up with Ray Allen has worked wonders, as Ray has done a great job limiting Wade's touches. Boston is in control of this game early.
8:00 p.m.: All right, folks — it's game time. Time for the C's to get down to business; time for them to find a way to stop Dwyane Wade.
Ask Doc Rivers, though, and it's unclear whether he's figured that one out yet.
"I called the priest at Marquette, to see if he had any information," the Celtics coach joked before the game. "He just said, 'pray.'"
Doc and D-Wade were both standout guards at Marquette back in the day, but come tonight, one will be running the floor and knocking down jumpers, and the other will be watching.
Let's see what the C's have up their sleeves for this one.
2:00 p.m.: All the injuries, all the ups and downs, all the inconsistency that's bogged the Celtics down since Christmas — it's time to leave it all in the rear-view mirror. Tonight the playoffs begin, and the C's have a chance for a new beginning.
Ready or not, here come the Miami Heat. Winners of 12 of their last 13 to close out the season, Dwyane Wade and the Heat enter the playoffs on a mission to rediscover their Finals form of four years ago.
The C's have battled the flu bug all week, but come tonight, they'll have to put all their health struggles behind them and focus on starting strong in the NBA's second season. This is their chance to silence all the doubters.
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