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Fast Break: Heat take early control of series with Game 1 win

05.01.11 at 6:18 pm ET
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MIAMI — The Celtics were defeated by the Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series on Sunday, losing by a 99-90 final to fall behind 1-0 in the best-of-seven showdown.

Dwyane Wade was the story for the Heat, finishing with a game-best 38 points. James Jones came off the bench to score 25 points, including 14 (with four 3-pointers) in a second quarter that saw the Heat extend a six-point (20-14) lead to a 15-point halftime edge (51-36).

Ray Allen had 25 points to pace the Celtics, who will try and even the series on Tuesday night.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Paul Pierce ejected: I have, of course, zero problem with the first technical foul. Clearly Pierce was in the wrong with the almost but not quite headbutt on James Jones (and Pierce has to know better than that, he’s been around forever). But — unless I really missed something — there was no reason for Ed Malloy to kick Pierce out of the game for … what, exactly? Setting a moving screen (which was a lousy call) and then saying nothing, it appears? Wow. Malloy cannot work another game in this series, just an atrocious job. But lets not forget that it never happens without Pierce overreacting to the Jones foul.

Wade/Lebron shine: Much was made of Wade’s struggles vs. the Celtics this season (less than 30 percent from the floor, just 12.8 PPG in the four games) before this series began, and probably correctly so. Erik Spoelstra told the media before the game that the Heat “needed” Wade to score to win this series. Wade delivered with a brilliant first half, scoring 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting. He was able to get to the basket at will against a passive Celtics defense, but also hit several (contested) jumpers. A near-Jordanesque effort from Wade. And if we want to extend that analogy, James was his Scottie Pippen on Sunday, submitting a 22–6-5 line, with a couple of blocked shots and superior defense on Pierce.

Rondo a non-factor (early): Rajon Rondo was closer to the game-changer in the third quarter, but when the Heat opened the game with Mike Bibby guarding Rondo, a matchup that seemed to beg for a 14-12-16 kind of game for the point guard. But Rondo was unable to take advantage, missing a couple of easy shots in the lane early before falling into foul trouble (three in the first half). It was clear in the regular season opener and remains just as clear after the opener of this series: The Celtics need the Rondo we saw in the postseason last year (and in the New York series) if they are going to beat Miami in a seven-game series.

Lost the bench battle: Not totally fair, Glen Davis hit a couple of jump shots in the second quarter and Delonte West was active — if hugely inconsistent — in his 16 first-half minutes (3-of-7 from the floor with a couple of 3′s, but a missed dunk, a technical foul and was abused when covering Wade). But nothing from Jeff Green (still looks completely lost) and Nenad Krstic. The Heat got the huge lift from Jones and 31 productive minutes from Joel Anthony.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Ray Allen still in the zone: After shooting 57.4 percent from the floor in the sweep of New York (including 65.4 on 3-pointers), Allen picked up right where he left off a week ago, hitting his first three shots as the rest of the team failed to produce offensively (at the end of the first quarter Allen was 3-of-5 from the floor, the rest of the team 2-of-15). Allen finished with 25 points, hitting five more 3-pointers (in eight attempts).

Garnett controls Bosh: Not an impressive offensive output from Garnett on Sunday (2-of-8, four points), but defensively he did what the Celtics want to see him do to Chris Bosh: Turn him into the portrait of passivity. Bosh was just a jump shooter in Game 1, and a lousy one, hitting only 3-of-9 from the field. This story’ll get lost in the LeBron/Wade love (and the did he or didn’t he with Pierce), but Bosh will have to make some plays at some point in this series, and he didn’t do a thing on Sunday.

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