Celtics Live Blog: Rajon Rondo’s Epic Performance Not Enough as C’s Lose to Heat 115-111


Celtics Live Blog: Rajon Rondo's Epic Performance Not Enough as C's Lose to Heat 115-111Game over, Heat win 115-111: Despite Rajon Rondo's best efforts, the Celtics fell to the Heat and now trail 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Rondo had 44 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds but was not able to lift the Celtics over the Heat after Paul Pierce fouled out. Rondo also hit both 3-pointers he took and was 10-for-12 from the free throw line.

LeBron James had 34 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the victorious Heat.

Overtime, :59.7, Heat 110-105: The Celtics hung tight for a long while, but after Rondo was raked across the face and did not draw a foul, things just kind of unraveled for the Celtics.

It would take a miracle to overcome a five-point deficit, without Pierce, with less than a minute to go.

Overtime, 1:27, Heat 107-105: The Celtics may simply have run out of players in this one. Rondo's performance was something to behold, but he would need to be transcendent in the final 87 minutes for the Celtics to overcome the losses of Pierce and Dooling, who played important roles in this game.

Overtime, 2:16, game tied 103-103: Rondo will not go quietly. He hit a long jumper that was awarded three points at first, but was later changed to a two. Still, tie game.

End of regulation, game tied 99-99: James took the shot in the clutch, but he missed — twice.

James had to adjust in mid-air and missed a wild layup, but he came down with the rebound and drew Rondo on a defensive switch. Instead of taking the much smaller Rondo to the hole, James bailed Rondo out by taking a 20-foot fadeaway.


Fourth quarter, :34.3, game tied 99-99: The timeout paid off. The Celtics were not able to find Allen, their first option, straight out of the timout. But they ran through the play, probably broke it down a few times, and eventually found Allen on the wing for an icewater trey to knot up the score.

Fourth quarter, :47.7, Heat 99-96: No more Pierce, as he picked up his sixth foul trying to stop a drive by Wade. No more timeouts for the Celtics, as Rivers spent their last one drawing up a play with his team down three.

These final 47 seconds should be interesting for whoever is charged with guarding James — probably Pietrus.

Fourth quarter, 1:08, Heat 98-94: Celtics fans remember P.J. Brown as an aging vet who found late-career success with Boston in 2008. Heat fans remember him as the physical power forward who could knock down a clutch 15-footer with the best of them.

Udonis Haslem, this Heat generation's Brown, hit one of his patented midrange jumpers to put the Celtics in a tough spot.

Fourth quarter, 1:36, Heat 96-94: Things got suddenly frantic for the Celtics. Somehow, Battier got a sliver of space for a corner three and Pietrus gave a foul out beyond the 3-point line that gave James two free throws. After the 7-0 Heat run, the Celtics had some confusion on their next possession and Rivers called a timeout to draw up what should be a no-lose play.

Fourth quarter, 2:55, Celtics 94-89: Pierce covered James well all game, but the defense took its toll. Pierce picked up his fifth foul on a James post-up, and the Celtics captain was in danger of fouling out for the second time in three playoff games.

Rondo's jumper was no fluke. A handful of in-rhythm shots in the first half were one thing, but Pierce drove and kicked to Rondo for a clutch 18-footer from the wing that Rondo swished. With 32 points, Rondo showed the Heat a new wrinkle in his game.

Fourth quarter, 6:58, Celtics 88-85: This time, the technicals appeared to fire up the Celtics the way a team typically hopes they will. The Celtics responded with an 11-1 flurry to retake the lead on a Rondo layup in the open floor, and Garnett extended that lead with a pair of free throws.

Most of that happened with James on the bench, though, and Rondo was tugging on his shorts after playing every minute of the game thus far. The Heat could have one last run in them.

Fourth quarter, 8:34, Heat 85-81: It's technical time again at American Airlines Arena.

James Jones, who likes to give subtle shots here and there, caught Garnett in the face on a foul and the Big Ticket elbowed away the Heat reserve guard. As Garnett walked to the line to take a free throw, the officials assessed a belated technical.

As in Monday's game, though, the technical should not overshadow the Celtics' other failings. Pietrus, who has had a rough series at both ends of the floor, was unable to wrap up James on a fastbreak before James got past him. That led to a clear path foul for the Heat, who got two shots and the ball.

End of third quarter, Heat 81-75: Garnett swished a shot with one foot inside the 3-point line to make the Celtics' deficit look somewhat respectable, but the third quarter belonged to Miami.

The Heat closed the quarter on a 19-7 run. Unsurprisingly, James and Wade led the charge. The dynamic duo scored 23 of Miami's 35 points in the quarter as the Heat got almost three times as many rebounds (13-5) and twice as many free throw attempts (12-6) in the frame.

Third quarter, 3:33, Celtics 71-70: For the second time in as many games, Pierce gave up a transition basket by arguing for a foul call on the offensive end. This one came after Pierce was way off on a three, with James gobbling up the rebound and finding Wade for the easy basket to pull the Heat within one point.

Such activities cannot happen against the Heat, who require full defensive attention at all time, by all five players.

Third quarter, 5:37, Celtics 67-62: The Celtics maintained their edge on the scoreboard, but James and Wade helped whittle down their deficit to five points. The Heat went with Wade covering Rondo, and the effects were unconclusive early. Still, the Celtics succeeded at keeping the Heat at arm's length.

Halftime, Celtics 53-46: Ray Allen's ankle issues were supposed to make him a liability on defense against Dwyane Wade. For some reason, the Heat have taken Allen off the hook by not specifically going to Wade much in the first game and a half. Wade did not score until the final minute of the first half in this game.

The Celtics made much better use of their possessions in the first half, shooting 57 percent from the field and handing out 14 assists despite not hitting a 3-pointer. The Heat were 6-for-14 from deep, which was really the only way they were able to stay in the game, as they were outshot everywhere else and outrebounded 23-15.

The Good: File Rajon Rondo's first half under "very, very good." The Celtics point guard scored 22 points on only 10 shots and handed out seven assists with only a single turnover. The triple-double watch, which must almost always be in effect for Rondo in the playoffs, included four rebounds. … Mario Chalmers was in the zone, making the first half the personal property of the point guards. Chalmers drained three of his five 3-point looks to lead Miami with 14 points.

The Bad: Wade hit only one of his six shots and did not seem very aggressive against Allen. The Heat will need more from Wade, as Paul Pierce was a handful for LeBron James.

The So-so: James posted 13 points on 3-of-9 shooting, which would be a solid half for most players. But the reigning MVP struggled to do the other things he is capable of on the glass and in creating offense for his teammates.

Second quarter, 1:25, Celtics 49-43: The point guards owned this half. Rondo got most of the attention for his 20-point outburst, but Chalmers was not far behind with 14, including three 3-pointers. The Heat's 7-0 run forced a 20-second timeout for the Celtics.

Second quarter, 2:40, Celtics 47-36: Rondo had zero free throws in the first game of this series, and had 17 free throw attempts in the entire seven-game second round against the Sixers.

He had 10 foul shot attempts in the first 18:20 of this game, though, and on his back the Celtics built a double-digit lead.

Second quarter, 6:42, Celtics 38-28: The Heat finally picked up that technical foul Celtics fans have been clamoring for.

Chalmers, who actually led the Heat in scoring with seven points through the first 17 minutes, drained a 3-pointer and had a lot to say to Dooling as they jogged back up the floor. Chalmers was hit with a tech and Ray Allen, shockingly, hit the free throw.

Meanwhile, Rondo was raining jumpers to the tune of 16 points and Mike Miller, who can barely walk, got above the rim for a tip-in putback. Just another day in the NBA playoffs.

Second quarter, 10:27, Celtics 30-18: The energy brought by Rondo, coupled with the defensive intensity of Mickael Pietrus and Keyon Dooling, were too much for the Heat early in the second frame.

Pietrus and Dooling joined Rondo, Pierce and Garnett in a very small lineup, and the results were surprisingly positive for the Celtics. Rondo took eight free throws in his first 13 minutes on the floor, two more than the entire Miami squad.

End of first quarter, Celtics 24-18: The first quarter did not do much to silence Celtics fans' criticism of the officiating. The Celtics picked up seven fouls before the Heat were whistled once, although the Heat finished the quarter with three straight fouls.

Pierce and Rondo, who struggled in Game 1, were on their games early in Game 2. Pierce hit four of his first six shots while Rondo got to the line three times, helping him tie Pierce for the game-high with eight points.

First quarter, 1:41, Celtics 20-15: The aggressive Rondo made his return in the early going of this game, as the Celtics point guard pushed the ball and generated good looks for his teammates on drives to the hoop.

Rondo knocked down a pair of jumpers, but he ability to get into the lane and draw defenders really opened things up for the Celtics. He dished out four assists with only one turnover in the first 10 minutes.

First quarter, 5:52, Celtics 8-7: It's good to be the king, but even LeBron James does not look good when he muffs a dunk.

The Heat forward had a wide-open look at a tomahawk jam, but he appeared to bail out on the finish early and clanged the ball off the iron and high above the court.

Paul Pierce did not miss his dunk attempt, a two-handed job that helped the Celtics take a one-point lead.

Brandon Bass, who is not known for his defense, showed a lot of energy and hustle at that end of the floor in the early going. Bass has a tough cover with Shane Battier, traditionally a "three" but playing power forward with Chris Bosh sidelined with a strained abdominal.

8:26 p.m.: So, the league-owned New Orleans Hornets garnered the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft lottery.

Sounds fishy.

This is not the time to worry about conspiracies, though. For the Celtics and Heat, what time is it?

Game time. Hoo.

7:36 p.m.: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and the Miami media have seen just about enough of each other as they head into game No. 81 (counting preseason games) of this season. Spoelstra's pregame media availability reportedly lasted less than a minute, with the only question regarding Chris Bosh's playing status.

Bosh is not playing. Done.

Ray Allen is expected to play, and start, after going through a heavy shooting routine in the morning. A day after Celtics coach Doc Rivers allowed that he was "considering" sitting down Allen for a game, the veteran shed his scaled-back shooting regimen for a full-on workout to try to regain his stroke.

The probable starting lineups appear below.

Kevin Garnett
Brandon Bass
Paul Pierce
Ray Allen
Rajon Rondo

Ronny Turiaf
Shane Battier
LeBron James
Dwyane Wade
Mario Chalmers 

8 a.m. ET: The epitaph has already been written on the Celtics' season, it seems, but they have a chance to pull even with the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

The Celtics trail the Heat 1-0 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals and will continue to hold their breath in regard to the status of Ray Allen, who is hampered by bone spurs in his ankles. Celtics coach Doc Rivers is considering resting Allen at least one game, which could leave the Celtics even more shorthanded than they already are.

Not even Allen will make much of a difference if LeBron James posts another performance like the one he had in Game 1, when he scored 32 points on just 22 shots and grabbed 13 rebounds to boot. Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce will need to be better than 13-for-38 combined for the Celtics to have a shot.

Join us for updates and analysis during the game, which is scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. tip-off.

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