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Fast Break: Celtics – Heat

04.25.10 at 4:01 pm ET
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The Celtics were 12 minutes away from sweeping the Heat, but it took the Heat less than two minutes to reclaim the game. On Sunday the Heat beat the Celtics, 101-92, to force a Game 5 on Tuesday in Boston. The Celtics lead the series 3-1.

First Quarter: The Celtics committed nine turnovers and turned the first quarter over to the Heat. They trailed, 18-31, after 12 minutes. The Heat scored 16 points off of Celtics turnovers, the C’€™s first quarter total until Rajon Rondo scored a layup as time expired. Kevin Garnett hit the first basket of the game before the Heat went on a 10-0 run. Later in the quarter, they went on another 14-0 run. Dwyane Wade and Quentin Richardson combined for 27 points as the Heat shot 56.5 percent from the field. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with six points.

Second Quarter: The Celtics bounced back from a first quarter deficit with an 18-4 run to outscore the Heat, 25-18, in the second. They trailed 49-43 at halftime. Garnett led the Celtics with 10 points; Rondo scored nine. Ray Allen and Pierce were limited with three fouls apiece and combined for just 10 points. Wade only scored two points in the second quarter but continued to lead all players with 16. After committing nine turnovers in the first quarter, the Celtics committed just three in the second. Both teams grabbed 19 rebounds. The Celtics were 2-0 in this series when trailing at halftime.

Third Quarter: The C’€™s outscored the Heat, 30-19, in the third quarter to take a 77-71 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Allen tied the game 62-62 with a 3-pointer and Rondo gave the Celtics their first lead since 2-0 with a layin on the following possession. Rondo (20 points) scored 11 in the third quarter alone. Wade scored 11 points in the third (he led all players with 27 through three), but the rest of his team only chipped in 11 combined. The Celtics were 2-0 in this series when leading after three quarters.

Fourth Quarter: Wade scored eight points in the first 1:30 of the fourth quarter, setting the tone for a 19-point quarter. The Heat went on an 11-0 run and quickly regained control of the game, outscoring the Celtics 30-15 in the fourth.

Player of the Game: Wade scored 46 points — more than Allen and Pierce combined — to propel the Heat to their victory. His 19 points in the fourth quarter alone saved the Heat from elimination.

Turning point: Wade hit an 18-foot jumper just 15 seconds into the fourth quarter. He quickly followed it up with a pair of 3-pointers, eventually scoring 19 in the quarter. The Celtics were unable to stop Wade’€™s offensive explosion, erasing the possibility of a sweep.

Third Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Heat

04.25.10 at 3:06 pm ET
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The Celtics could be 12 minutes away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs.

The C’s outscored the Heat, 30-19, in the third quarter to take a 77-71 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Ray Allen tied the game 62-62 with a 3-pointer and Rajon Rondo gave the Celtics their first lead since 2-0 with a layin on the following possession. Rondo (20 points) scored 11 in the third quarter alone.

Dwyane Wade scored 11 points in the third (he leads all players with 27), but the rest of his team only chipped in 11 combined.

The Celtics are 2-0 in this series when leading after three quarters.

Second Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Heat

04.25.10 at 2:24 pm ET
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The Celtics bounced back from a first quarter deficit with an 18-4 run to outscore the Heat, 25-18, in the second. They trail 49-43 at halftime.

Kevin Garnett leads the Celtics with 10 points; Rajon Rondo scored nine. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were limited with three fouls apiece and combined for just 10 points. Dwyane Wade only scored two points in the second quarter but continues to lead all players with 16.

After committing nine turnovers in the first quarter, the Celtics committed just three in the second. Both teams have grabbed 19 rebounds.

The Celtics are 2-0 in this series when trailing at halftime.

First Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Heat

04.25.10 at 1:36 pm ET
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The Celtics committed nine turnovers and turned the first quarter over to the Heat. They trail 18-31 after 12 minutes.

The Heat scored 16 points off of Celtics turnovers, the C’s first quarter total until Rajon Rondo scored a layup as time expired. Kevin Garnett hit the first basket of the game before the Heat went on a 10-0 run. Later in the quarter, they went on another 14-0 run.

Dwyane Wade and Quentin Richardson combined for 27 points as the Heat shot 56.5 percent from the field. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with six points.

Rebounding is key for Celtics

04.25.10 at 12:55 pm ET
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MIAMI — If there has been one change from the regular season Celtics to the playoff Celtics it has been their improvement on the glass. The Celtics dominated the Heat in Game 2 on the boards, and while they backslid in the first half of Game 3, their second half rebounding was a big key in getting the win.

“Going into the playoffs you would say the one point of emphasis over everything has been rebounding,” Doc Rivers said. “It’€™s all we talk about. We showed rebounding on film yesterday. It’€™s been very important to us.”

The Celtics have also done better on the offensive glass, an area where they struggled this season and for good reason. It’s not part of their gameplan.

“We don’€™t focus hard on offeneive rebounds,” Rivers said. “If you’€™re under there and you can get it, then you get it. Honestly, we’€™d rather for you to get back on defense so they can’€™t score in transition. The fact that were’€™re getting them is good. Numbers suggest that if you take away transition baskets you’€™ll save more points than you will get by rtying to get offensive rebounds.”

Read More: Rebouds,

Heat coach: Wade is going to go

04.25.10 at 11:31 am ET
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MIAMI — Not that there was much mystery, but Miami coach Erik Spoelstra indicated that Dwyane Wade is good to go for Game 4. Wade suffered painful crams in his left leg at the end of Game 3 and was not on the floor for Paul Pierce’s buzzer beater.

“He’s going to go,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t know if he’s 100 percent, but he feels much better. He’s been cleared. I know one thing. He was not going to miss a minute of this game.”

Spoelstra was asked if he would have to limit Wade’s minutes and he laughed.

“We’ll try to be smart with it, but you try to pace him,” he said. “I’m sure if I try to take him out of the game he’ll be spitting expletives at me.”

Spoelstra also addressed his team’s mindset heading into a possible elimination game. The Heat have played the Celtics six times this season (counting the regular season) and have lost all six. But there is hope in the fact that they have had the lead in five of those games in the fourth quarter.

“At some point there has to be a breakthrough,” Spoelstra said. “This is not about the other games. This is about today.”

Read More: Dwyane Wade, Heat,

Rivers on Rondo: He’s been our Varitek

04.24.10 at 5:13 pm ET
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MIAMI — Lost in the dramatics of Paul Pierce’s game-winner, Ray Allen’s Game 2 explosion and even Tony Allen’s brilliant defense on Dwyane Wade in Game 1 has been the stellar play of Rajon Rondo.

Through three games Rondo has averaged just 11.7 points, but that never tells the full story with him. He’s also getting 10 assists a nights and 6.3 rebounds, but again, numbers can’t define Rondo.

Rather, it’s been his ability to run the offense for over 40 minutes a night that has been the catalyst for the Celtics offensive execution.

“He’€™s been terrific,” Doc Rivers said. “When everyone was injured, literally, Rondo had to do a lot of scoring. But since Ray and Paul and Kevin [Garnett] are back and in rhythm, he’€™s more of the facilitator. But he does the best job of a guy you could ask to do it. He’€™s been huge in this series.”

Take the closing minute of Game 3. On the possession before Pierce’s jumper, Rondo had two options at his disposal: Allen coming off a flare screen with Garnett, or Pierce on the opposite side. He chose Allen for a corner 3 and it was a great look, it just didn’t go in.

Heat coach Erik Spolestra had some media people shaking their heads after Game 3 when he said that the reason the Celtics were so tough to defend is because they have so many crunch-time options. In other words, didn’t he know the final play was going to Pierce? Well, no. He didn’t. See the previous possession.

It’s that decision-making that has lifted Rondo’s game into the upper stratosphere of elite point guards.

“He’€™s light years [ahead of where he was], but a lot of that is just age, maturity,” Rivers said. “The other part of it is system. He’€™s been in the same system his entire career. I thought Game 3 was the best play-calling game in his career. He was like [Jason] Varitek as far as calling the right pitch. He was phenomenal. That’€™s where he’€™s improved. He know what I’€™m thinking. He’€™ll call a play and you can sit down and it’€™s terrific.”

Read More: Jason Varitek, Rajon Rondo,
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