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Fast Break: Celtics-Heat

04.27.10 at 9:43 pm ET
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The Celtics advanced to the second-round of the playoffs, knocking off the Heat in five games with a 96-86 win on Tuesday night. Ray Allen scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half to lead the Celtics, while Paul Pierce finished with 21 points. It was a night in which all five starters submitted strong efforts, as Kevin Garnett posted a 14-8-3 line (with three steals) and Kendrick Perkins had eight points, six boards and three blocked shots.

Dwayne Wade did everything he could to keep the Heat alive. He entered the game averaging 33.6 points per game in the series, and he nearly reached that mark with a game-high 31 points (though he had to work for it, shooting just 10-of-24.) Mario Chalmers was a solid second option for Miami, scoring 20 points.

Wait and see time now for the Celtics. Should the Cavaliers finish off the Bulls Tuesday night, Game 1 of the semifinal series would be at Cleveland on Saturday night.

First Quarter: The Celtics finished the opening quarter on a 13-4 run to grab a 29-21 lead. Pierce led the Celtics in scoring with nine points, while Rondo added eight points, four rebounds and two assists.

Boston shot 67 percent from the floor and passed the ball brilliantly, collecting 11 assists on 14 field goals. However, five turnovers by the Celtics kept the game within shouting distance (or at least was the reason the lead wasn’t in double-digits.)

Wade and Carlos Arroyo topped the Heat with six points each.

Although the Celtics were able to get to the basket and had the only two offensive rebounds of the opening quarter, they did not attempt a free throw. The Heat got to the line four times.

Second Quarter: The Celtics were just 24 minutes away from ending this series, leading the Heat by a score of 48-38 at the half.

Pierce (13 points) and Rondo (12 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists) led the Celtics charge. Also a strong first half for Kendrick Perkins, who finished the opening 24 with six points, five rebounds and two blocks.

Wade led the Heat with 11 points, but shot only 4-for-11 and had trouble getting to the basket. Miami shot just 34.9 percent from the floor and missed all eight three-point attempts.

In the Something to Watch Department, things got a little chippy in the second, with Wade and Rondo exchanging some words and Quentin Richardson (who did NOTHING in the game) trying his charm on Garnett.

Third Quarter: The Celtics led the Heat by a score of 71-65 after the third quarter.

For the first five minutes of the quarter it looked like this series was on life support. When Perkins scored on a sweet pass from Rondo at 6:56 the Celtics had a 67-46 lead. The Perkins score capped a 19-8 run for the Celtics, a stretch that included a trio of three-pointers from Allen. It sure seemed at the time that Miami was more than willing to exit stage left and do so quietly.

But the Heat (OK, and by the Heat I mean Dwyane Wade) showed serious heart, ending the quarter on a 19-4 run. Wade scored 10 points in the quarter and led all players with 21 points through the third. Chalmers, to be fair, also stepped up, scoring nine points. Chalmers finished the third with 15 total points off the bench, seven more than the entire Celtics reserve unit.

Pierce and Rondo each had 16 points through the third to pace the Celtics. The Celtics hit just 12-of-34 shots in the second and third quarters combined.

Fourth Quarter: The crowd at the Garden was getting tense early in the fourth, as the Heat were able to trim the lead to three points (73-70) with 10:14 left. The idea of Wade taking over again and bringing the series back to Miami seemed a reasonable scenario at this point, but three points would be as close as it would get, as the Celtics authored a 15-6 run over the next 4:10 to put the game (and series) away. The Heat never got closer than eight points after that run.

Player of the Game: Has to be Rondo. He played nearly 44 minutes, finishing with 16 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds and four steals (just two turnovers.) And if you were looking to pick the nits on Rondo, have to find another weakness tonight, as he made all four free throw attempts. The unquestioned MVP of the series.

Stat of the Game: The Heat had 20 three-point attempts, making just five. Ray Allen needed just six three-point attempts to make five.

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