Chris Bosh tripled his scoring output from his Heat’s 88-80 opening-night loss to the Celtics , and it still didn’t matter. The C’s held Miami to 82 points in a three-point victory on Sunday that gave the East leaders a 3-0 season advantage over the conference’s second-place team.
“We’ll just have to wait to beat the Celtics in another month or so,” said Bosh. “I really hate losing to these guys, man. We’re just going to have to wait a little bit longer. Things like this are going to make us better. Coming into an environment like this, against tough teams like this, battling for first place, it’s going to add to our experience and add to our trust. We’re just going to have to keep going and learn from it.’
The two teams don’t actually face each other until April 10 — three days before the end of the regular season — but the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed could already be determined by then. As it stands now, the Celtics (39-14) own a half-game lead on the Heat (39-15).
“We’re in each other’s way of winning an NBA championship with other teams in the Eastern Conference like Chicago and Orlando and a few other teams,” said Lebron James . “This is a team that everybody is trying to catch. They’re the defending Eastern Conference champions.”
Despite the fact that the Heat only committed two more turnovers than the Celtics (15-13) and led 43-39 at the half, Miami attributed much of the loss to their 12 first-half turnovers.
“The margin for error against a great team like that is very small. ‘¦ We dug ourselves a hole, and we just couldn’t get out of it,” said Bosh. “Like I said, against a good team like that, you can’t really do that.”
“You can tell I’m upset,” added James. “I just want to win. We all want to win. We know for the most part it was our mistakes. Give a lot of credit to Boston, of course, but we had a lot of unforced turnovers. We were shooting 56 percent from the floor in the first half, but we had 12 turnovers. We’ve got to at least give ourselves a chance to get the ball up on the rim. In the third quarter, they caught fire, and you can’t get behind a team like that.”
The Celtics outscored the Heat 35-18 in the third quarter. Interestingly enough, Rajon Rondo  opted to play defense on James in that same quarter. But don’t look for James to credit Rondo, as the former shoved the latter twice for listening in on a Heat huddle.
“Rondo’s a good guy, a good player,” said James. “He’s going to pick up the pressure against anybody who’s handling the ball, and I happened to be the point guard at that time, so he was guarding me. He didn’t cause any problems or hurt us from getting into our sets.”
A third straight loss to the Celtics raised a glaring difference between them and the Heat. Benefiting from four years of experience together as a starting five — with Rondo at the helm offensively — the Celtics execute as a team. Meanwhile, the Heat relied on their Big Three of Bosh, James and Dwyane Wade  for 76 percent of their offense.
“That’s how they play,” he said. “You’re going to have to defend cuts and passes, and they’re so unselfish, it’s hard to do that. They’re used to seeing three or four lines of defense, and they make you really trust your defensive system and make you work and make you move.”
Critics suggest that the Heat’s Big Three doesn’t complement each other as the Celtics do, but Eddie House  — who’s played on both teams — isn’t buying that argument for a minute.
‘It’s a different dynamic, but at the end of the day all three of those guys were superstars when they came [to Boston], and all three of these guys are superstars,” said House. “Superstars do superstar things. Each guy complements their team and each other the same way those guys did, so there’s not really a difference.”
There’s most definitely a difference in the depth of each team. The Celtics’ bench has outscored the Heat 97-54 in their three meetings — including a 26-8 advantage on Sunday when the hosts had Delonte West , Marquis Daniels , Shaquille O’Neal , Jermaine O’Neal  and Semih Erden all out with injuries as well as Nate Robinson  limited with a bruised knee.
‘Usually you kind of anticipate guys really doing their jobs like KG [Kevin Garnett ], Paul [Pierce] and Ray Allen ,” said Bosh, “but they also have good role players that step up and give them some help, too, so they just played a better game than us.”
Still, the Celtics’ 3-0 advantage in their season series doesn’t bother James.
“In 2007, when I went to the Finals, we swept the Spurs [in the regular season], and they swept us in the Finals,” he said. “You can look into it, but you don’t look too far into it. You guys understand that in playoff series you have so much time to prepare for a team. It’s a totally different game. These games do count. I’m not saying the regular season is worth nothing, because it is, but you guys cover the playoffs and know that those games are 10 times different than a regular-season game.”