End of game, Celtics win 78-66: The bench came through for the Celtics, who defeated the Heat and stayed alive in their quest for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Sasha Pavlovic led Boston with 16 points, 12 in the fourth quarter
Fourth quarter, 2:57, Celtics 68-60: Daniels is presumed to be one of the odd men out when the playoff roster gets pared to 13 players, but he has made a case to stay on in the last few games.
Daniels supplied solid minutes in last week's win over the Magic and was efficient in Friday's loss to the Hawks. He found Pavlovic in the corner on the break for a 3-pointer, bringing the Auburn product's line to 13 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals with a bit less than three minutes to play.
Fourth quarter, 6:34, Celtics 60-54: Sean Williams may end up winning the Celtics a game. At the very least, it could keep the Celtics' hopes of home-court advantage in the first round alive after the Hawks beat the Clippers on Tuesday night.
Williams scored four points in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, helping the Celtics on their 10-4 run to take the lead.
The Celtics would need to win this game and Thursday's game, and for the Hawks to lose Thursday against the Mavericks, to finish with identical 39-27 records. The Celtics would get home court by way of the head to head tiebreaker.
Fourth quarter, 8:45, Celtics 54-52: Daniels and Pavlovic may simply be better than anybody the understaffed Heat can send to the table. Daniels did not seem to break stride as he stepped in front of a pass at the top of the key and calmly threw down a two-handed cock-back dunk at the other end.
End of third quarter, game tied 50-50: The play was no cleaner, but at least it was more inspired from Boston's side. With Bradley and Bass at the helm, the Celtics came back to briefly hold the lead for the first time since the second quarter.
Bradley hit a jumper to make it a two-point game, and neither team scored until Bass knocked down a pick-and-pop jumper from Dooling more than a minute and a half later.
The teams went back and forth until Pavlovic crossed up Howard — yes, Howard was covering Pavlovic — to give Boston a 50-48 lead.
That play was a good bit of awareness by the Celtics. The Heat had a lineup that was not prepared to match up with the Celtics' four-guard look, leaving Howard on Pavlovic. Jones responded with a jumper to re-tie the game, but the Celtics looked able to create more matchup problems with their bench than the Heat could.
Third quarter, 4:12, Heat 46-42: A 6-0 run allowed the Celtics to ease back into the contest, which apparently was close enough for Spoelstra to want to talk it over. Here is where both coaches should send in their superstars, suits and all, to close this one out.
Third quarter, 5:54, Heat 46-36: Pierce and Dooling both started the second half, with Dooling sporting a bandage below his right eye. The Heat got six points from Mike Miller on two 3-pointers, but the injury-troubled swingman looked ailing and out of shape. It's been a struggle for the former Gator since he signed with the Heat two summers ago.
Halftime, Heat 34-28: There was a smattering of boos as the teams returned (retreated?) to the locker rooms, and it was hard to blame any of the fans for choosing to express themselves.
So far, the only injuries in this game have been to Dooling and to the game of basketball. Presumably Dooling will heal. The sport may not.
The Good: Relatively speaking, Marquis Daniels was a revelation. He was on his way to posting another highly efficient game, scoring eight points and pulling down five rebounds in 18 minutes. … E'Twaun Moore also was not terrible, hitting two of his four field goal attempts and grabbing three boards.
The Bad: Too much to list. Next.
The So-so: Dexter Pittman will not unseat Ronny Turiaf or Joel Anthony in the Heat's big-man rotation, (which just about says everything) but he did more help than harm for Miami in the first half. He was 3-for-6 from the field but committed three fouls and had two turnovers in 12 minutes. OK, so maybe he did do more harm than good.
Second quarter, 3:39, Heat 26-25: Sean Williams tossed up and airball, Marquis Daniels split a double-team for a layup and Juwan Howard looked creaky on offense and defense. Hopefully nobody in the stands mortgaged the house to purchase tickets to this game.
Second quarter, 5:49, Heat 26-20: Dooling took an elbow to the face and went down. The Celtics called a 20-second timeout and sent Dooling to the locker room.
The Celtics briefly held their first lead at 18-17, but it was short-lived. Freak injures like the one that could have occurred to Dooling are what teams try to avoid when they rest their stars in these end-of-season games.
Second quarter, 6:38, Heat 23-18: It is always interesting to watch Rivers in these type of games. At the beginning, he seems resigned to the game being what it is, a glorified summer league game. As the game goes on, his competitiveness takes over and he starts to coach like it's a meaningful game.
Rivers called a timeout after the Celtics looked completely out of sync on a defensive possession that ended in a 3-pointer by James Jones. Maybe this game was meaningless, but when the clock is running Rivers does not really know the difference.
Second quarter, 8:59, Heat 17-15: Gotta admit, I was a little hesitant to accept the first quarter stat sheet they hand out to media members. I was worried I might catch whatever it was the players had.
Somehow, despite shooting 29 percent from the field, the Celtics closed the gap to two points. If these teams get to halftime with more than 60 points between them it may be the upset of the night.
End of first quarter, Heat 17-10: The Celtics shuffled into the close of the first quarter 4-for-17 from the field and 0-for-3 from deep. They had five rebounds (to Miami's 12) and two assists compared to seven turnovers.
Shane Battier, better known for his defense, led all scorers with five points. Pierce departed the game after 11 minutes and was last seen high-tailing it out of town.
Not really, but he would if he knew what's good for him.
First quarter, 3:02, Heat 13-6: Pierce finally broke the ice for Boston at the 5:44 mark, but his stat line was far from jaw-dropping. The Truth missed his other two shots and committed five turnovers in his first nine minutes of action.
This is not a knock on Pierce, but to point out that if even a player like Pierce could get dragged down by a game like this, it ain't exactly a barn-burner.
First quarter, 6:41, Heat 9-0: This is all you need to know about the intrigue of this game. An upper level TV was tuned to "Biggest Loser" over the television feed of this game.
The first 5:19 of this game for the Celtics featured four turnovers, seven shots, two rebounds and zero points.
There was some confusion with the starting lineup. Rivers said Pavlovic would start, but Keyon Dooling was introduced before the game. Lo and behold, Pavlovic lined up at the circle for tip-off.
8:05 p.m.: Your Heat starters, ladies and gentlemen.
7:32 p.m.: Sometimes these late-season games between playoff contenders turn into knockdown, drag-out battles for bragging rights or seeding.
Other times they turn into glorified exhibitions as most, if not all, of the stars rest for the playoffs.
We will not prejudice you by saying which type this is, we only bring you the following information with no editorializing:
Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Greg Stiemsma, Mickael Pietrus and Ray Allen will sit this one out to take some wear off nagging injuries. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are also out for the Heat, with LeBron James and Ronny Turiaf sidelined as well. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra only confirmed Udonis Haslem and Mario Chalmers as starters in pregame.
The Celtics' projected starting lineup is below.
8 a.m.: What was anticipated as a marquee matchup of Eastern Conference heavyweights might be downgraded to little more than an exhibition.
The Celtics (37-27) and the Heat (46-18) are expected to grant rest to their stars in preparation for the playoffs. Rajon Rondo could sit, as could Mickael Pietrus, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, although Celtics coach Doc Rivers had yet to make a decision as of Monday. Dwyane Wade could sit out the rest of the regular season to let his dislocated left index finger heal, and Ray Allen will definitely sit as the condition of his right ankle has not improved.
The Heat do not seem concerned with catching the Bulls for the No. 1 seed in the East, and the Celtics have stated that their desire to stay healthy exceeds their desire to get home-court advantage in their first round series against the Hawks.
Find out who plays and how they do with updates and analysis during the game, which tips off at 8 p.m.
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