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Third Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Heat

04.23.10 at 9:12 pm ET
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The Heat had the edge in the first two quarters, but the Celtics claimed the third.

The C’s outscored the Heat, 32-23, to take a 80-72 lead going into the fourth. The Celtics went on an 11-2 run in the final 1:39, which was capped off with 3-pointer from Paul Pierce with 1.7 seconds to go.

The Celtics turnaround has been a team effort — Ray Allen (22 points), Pierce (21 points), Rajon Rondo (15 points), Kevin Garnett (12 points). Dwyane Wade scored 13 in the quarter to lead all players with 28 points.

The next 12 minutes of regulation are critical for the Heat. If they cannot overcome their deficit, the Celtics will take a commanding 3-0 lead on the series, and elimination could be looming on Sunday.

Second Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Heat

04.23.10 at 8:30 pm ET
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The first quarter was all Dwyane Wade. In the second, he finally got some help.

Down by one after the first, the Celtics jumped out on a 10-0 run over three minutes. Rajon Rondo led the surge and finished the half with a team-high 13 points).  But Quentin Richardson stopped the damage with a 3-pointer and the Heat began their comeback. The Celtics were then outscored 15-7 and trail, 49-48, at halftime.

Wade, who posted 15 points in the first quarter, went scoreless in seven minutes in the second. The Heat’s bench outscored the Celtics reserves 23-6 in the first half to give them the edge.

Both teams are shooting well from the floor while struggling from behind the arc. The Heat have hit 46.5 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from long-range; the Celtics have hit 45.9 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from long-range.

Rajon Rondo, Rasheed Wallace, Michael Beasley, and Quentin Richardson were called for three fouls apiece.

First Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Heat

04.23.10 at 7:42 pm ET
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After the Heat’s Game 2 loss to the Celtics, Dwyane Wade said one player can’t win games.

But he’s been doing a good job of it in the first quarter of Game 3 in Miami.

Wade scored 15 points (6-9 FG, 3-3 FT) in the first quarter alone to give the Heat a 29-27 lead over the Celtics. Reserve Dorell Wright is the Heat’s second-leading scorer with 6 points.

Although the Celtics trail, they led a more balanced attack. Paul Pierce leads the team with 9 points, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen have six apiece, and Kevin Garnett has scored four.

Defensively, Tony Allen, who contained Wade so well in Game 1, played just one minute during Wade’s performance in the first. The C’s are also being outrebounded, 12-9.

Rivers: “Rasheed alone is an individual hedge fund”

04.23.10 at 2:13 pm ET
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MIAMI — Rasheed Wallace was fined $35,000 by the NBA, yet again, after making comments critical of the officials, and specifically how they work games when superstars are involved. It’s a familiar gripe for Wallace who has been fined several times by the NBA for making similar statements.

“Rasheed alone is an individual hedge fund by himself,” Doc Rivers joked after shootaround.

But Wallace’s words cut deep for a league that is fighting to regain trust in the wake of the Tim Donaghy affair. Officials have come under great scrutiny already in the playoffs and several coaches, notably Phil Jackson and Stan Van Gundy, have not helped matters with their comments.

Both Jackson and Van Gundy were fined by the league for various statements about the officiating and David Stern made a point of saying Thursday night in Oklahoma City that it won’t be tolerated.

“I wish I had it to do all over again,’€ Stern said to reporters before Game 3 of the Lakers-Thunder series. “Starting 20 years ago I’€™d be suspending Phil and Pat Riley for all the games they play in the media. You guys know our referees go out there and knock themselves out and do the best job they can.”

Make no mistake, this is a huge problem for the NBA and Stern basically dared coached to test him.

Stern also noted that within in the NBA community, it’s understood that when Jackson says that Kevin Durant gets to the free throw line too much, he’s doing it for effect, but the perception is that refs call the game differently for star players. Or in Van Gundy’s case, that his star player, Dwight Howard, doesn’t get the benefit of the calls.

“I think David is half right on that one,” Rivers said. “Sometimes we do know, but sometimes we really are defending our guys. Everyone is on the league’€™s side at the end of the day. Listen, I’€™ve been a league guy for 20-whatever years. I love this league and I want this league to do well. I don’€™t think any coach doesn’€™t want the league to do well. Having said that the coaches job is to do what he can to help the team win.”

Read More: Celtics, NBA, Rasheed Wallace,

Beasley: We’ve got to make them feel old

04.23.10 at 1:35 pm ET
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MIAMI — There is no mystery as to what the Celtics can expect from the Miami Heat tonight for Game 3. These are desperate times for the Heat and the Celtics know that they will get Miami’s best shot.

If there was any wonder, however, second-year forward Michael Beasley laid it out in stark terms after this morning’s shootaround.

“We have to be more athletic, more energetic, bring the fire,” Beasley said. “Make them feel old. They’€™ve got a lot of veterans on their team and we’€™ve got a lot of young guys. We just need to run the floor and just try to tire them out.”

The Celtics are old. That’s no secret, but through the first two games they have been the aggressors in the series and that’s got nothing to do with age. They have also benefited from the first round format which has given them two days off between games.

“Yes, since we’€™re so damn old, it allows them to sit in their rocking chair,” Rivers said with a bit of sarcasm in his voice. “It does [help]. I think it sets up well for everyone, honestly. I think everyone in the first round would take this format. In the second round you do want the rhythm to go a little quicker. Game 4 [Sunday afternoon] is tough. That’€™s a regular season, quick turnaround game. That’€™s a tough one.”

That’s the sticking point for the Celtics tonight. Yes, they are in command of the series but if they can’t beat Miami in Game 3, things will get much tighter.

“I told our guys, I was honest with them, We haven’€™t done well in these situations,” Rivers said. “We really haven’€™t. Every time we played well in the regular season we’€™ve let our guard down, so we’€™ll find out our mental resolve and our toughness tonight.”

Read More: Celtics, Heat, Michael Beasley,

Rasheed Wallace fined $35,000 by NBA

04.22.10 at 5:55 pm ET
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Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace was fined $35,000 Thursday for publicly criticizing game officials for comments made to the media back on April 19.

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Rondo receives votes for NBA’s Most Improved Player

04.22.10 at 2:40 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo received two first place votes for the 2009-10 Most Improved Player Award presented by Kia Motors. The league announced Rockets guard Aaron Brooks as the recipient of the award on Thursday.

Rondo tied Wizards center Andray Blatche for 12th place with two first place and two third place votes. Brooks received 62 first place votes; Kevin Durant finished second with 17.

This regular season Rondo averaged 13.7 points, 9.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game, up from 11.9 points, 8.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.9 steals last season. He led the entire league in steals and the Eastern Conference in dimes (fourth overall). Rondo was named to his first All-Star team this year as well.

Read More: Aaron Brooks, most improved player, Rajon Rondo,
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