Kevin Garnett Ignites Celtics’ Defense in 85-76 Win Over Heat

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Kevin Garnett Ignites Celtics' Defense in 85-76 Win Over Heat BOSTON — Kevin Garnett had 15
points and nine rebounds and the Boston Celtics played Miami-style
defense to beat the Heat 85-76 in the opener of their playoff series
Saturday night.

Trailing 44-41 at halftime, the
Celtics held the Heat to 32 points in the second half. And with
substitute guard Tony Allen shadowing Dwyane Wade, the Heat star scored
26 points after averaging 33.7 in three regular-season games against
Boston.

Allen also scored a career playoff
high 14 points, and Paul Pierce led Boston with 16. Quentin Richardson
added 15 for Miami.

Game 2 is Tuesday night in Boston.

With 40 seconds left in the game, a
scuffle near the Miami bench resulted in two technical fouls against
Garnett, an automatic ejection, and one each to Boston's Glen Davis and
Miami's Udonis Haslem and Richardson.

Miami allowed the second fewest points
in the regular season, an average of 94.2, but was outscored 21-10 in
the fourth quarter.

And Garnett had a big game after
missing last year's playoffs because of a knee injury that required
offseason surgery. Saturday's playoff game was his first since Game 6 of
the 2008 NBA finals, a 131-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers for
Boston's 17th NBA championship. In that finale, he had 26 points, 14
rebounds, four assists, three steals, a block and no turnovers.

This year, both teams stressed that
the playoffs were a new season and what happened before didn't matter.

They were right.

Boston won despite going 3-7 in its
last 10 games. Miami lost after going 12-1 in its final 13 games and 8-0
in its last eight games on the road.

Trailing by two starting the final
quarter, the Celtics tied the game at 68 on two free throws by Rajon
Rondo
, who had 10 points and 10 assists.

Then the 289-pound Davis gave Boston
the lead for good with an acrobatic layup followed by a backwards
somersault after he hit the floor when fouled by Jermaine O'Neal. Davis
hit one of two shots.

Miami followed with a 24-second
violation before a tip-in by Davis gave Boston a 73-68 lead. The Heat
then missed their next two shots and Rasheed Wallace stretched the lead
to six with one free throw.

Wade followed with a free throw, but
Allen increased the lead to 76-69 with a layup. Michael Beasley hit a
shot for the Heat but any chance they had faded as the Celtics scored
the next five points on a dunk by Garnett, a free throw by Davis and a
layup by Rondo.

In the first half, the Heat dominated
the boards 23-15 and stifled the Celtics on defense to take a 44-41
lead at intermission. Miami ended the first quarter with a 29-28 edge,
then Boston missed 10 of its first 12 shots in the second. But the
Celtics rallied at the end, scoring the last five points of the period,
the final two on a 13-foot jumper by Rondo at the buzzer.

Boston also used a late surge to cut
Miami's biggest margin of the game, 14 points, in the third quarter.
After Wade's layup made it 61-47 with 7:02 left in the period, the
Celtics outscored the Heat 17-5 the rest of the way and trailed by just
66-64 going into the fourth. Pierce had the last seven points in the
comeback and missed a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded.

Notes
Rondo played despite flu-like
symptoms that kept him out of practice Friday. … Allen's previous
playoff high was nine points against Indiana on April 30, 2005. He
started the day with 48 points in 32 playoff games. … The Celtics,
last in offensive rebounds in the NBA, had just two in the first half.
… Richardson hit the only 3-pointer in the first half. Boston's Ray
Allen
missed all four he tried in the first two quarters. … Aerosmith
lead singer Steven Tyler, a Boston-area resident, attended the game.

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