The Celtics began their four-game road trip with a victory in Miami as they beat the Heat, 92-85. After blowing an 11-point lead, the Celtics fought back with an attack led by Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo. The Cs regained control of the frenetic tempo and made the extra pass (or two) to spread the Heat’s defense, making it easy to find an open Garnett in many instances. For the second game in a row, Garnett was nearly perfect from field and led the Celtics with 24 points.
Player of the game: The Celtics could not have won this game without the combined efforts of Garnett and Rondo. Garnett was locked in on offense. He shot 11-for-12 from the field after shooting a perfect 6-for-6 against the Raptors on Friday. Garnett looked to have more arc on his release and lift in his jumper following his knee injury last season. Rondo was the mastermind behind the Celtics second quarter comeback and orchestrated their offense down the stretch. He finished the night with 11 assists for the second game in a row.
Turning point: Michael Beasley put the Heat on his back and made an early run in the fourth quarter to put his team on top. With the Celtics down by four points, Paul Pierce drew a foul on James Jones and made both free throws. Jones traveled on the next possession and Garnett responded with a game-tying lay-in on the opposite end. The Celtics never trailed after that. They went ahead on a Kendrick Perkins dunk from Rondo and pushed the lead up with key shots from Garnett and Ray Allen.
– Perkins won the battle of the bigs against Jermaine O’Neal. Both players scored 14 points but it was Perkins who outrebounded O’Neal, 13-10. He drew early fouls on O’Neal, limiting the Heat’s size down low, and made 11 trips to the free throw line. Perkins also added three blocks.
– Rasheed Wallace was whistled for his seventh technical foul of the season during the first quarter. He was recently fined $30,000 for criticizing officials following Friday’s game against the Raptors.
– The Celtics outscored the Heat 48-38 in the paint and 10-2 on fastbreak points.
– The Heat’s backcourt had no answer for Rondo. Starting point guard Mario Chalmers dished just one assist, compared to Rondo’s 11.
– Celtics and Heat combined for 29 points in the third quarter. The Celtics alone scored 29 points in the first quarter.