Three for all: Hot Heat beat short-handed Celtics, Jeff Green bruises left elbow
|04.12.13 at 9:54 pm ET|
Miami shot 12-for-23 from 3-point range, led by three each from Ray Allen, Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers and Rashard Lewis, as the Heat beat the short-handed Celtics, 109-101, Friday night at American Airlines Arena.
The Celtics, who rested Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, suffered a scare in the fourth quarter when Jeff Green injured his left elbow bracing his fall after a dunk. He was diagnosed with a bruised left elbow and did not return.
“I don’t think it’s that bad, I honestly don’t,” Doc Rivers said after the game. “We’ll know more [Saturday]. He has an ice pack on it.”
Before the injury, Green led the Celtics with 25 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Crawford chipped in with 20 points for the Celtics, who fell to 40-39.
With Milwaukee losing in Atlanta, Boston needs one more win to clinch seventh, and will be assured of not finishing eighth and will avoid the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. But now, the Celtics will have practically no chance of catching the Hawks for sixth, as the Celtics trail Atlanta by three games in the loss column with three games remaining. Boston won the season series with the Hawks, 3-1.
Without Pierce and Garnett, Rivers went with a small starting lineup featuring Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green and Brandon Bass.
The Heat, on the other hand, played with their full compliment of starters, including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, resting only Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem.
And behind the aggressive play of Green, the Celtics shot out to a red-hot start. Green was 4-for-5 from the field, with three drives to the basket for layups. He finished the first quarter with eight points and six rebounds as the Celtics led 25-13. Boston shot 50 percent and led 27-17 after 12 minutes.
But the second quarter was a defensive disaster for Boston as Miami’s bench took over. The Heat shot an amazing 16-of-19 from the field, led by a bench powered by the 3-point shooting of Ray Allen. With Boston leading 34-23, Allen converted a layup with 9:23 left in the second. The layup was the first of eight straight points for Allen, who hit back-to-back threes to spark an 11-0 run that tied the game.
The Heat finished the second quarter with 41 points, outscoring Boston, 41-23, in the period to take a 58-50 halftime lead. The 41 points were the most allowed by the Celtics in any quarter this season and the most scored by the defending NBA champs in any quarter this season.
Miami’s red-hot shooting continued in the second half. The Heat made 10-of-17 from the field in the third quarter and scored another 29 points
Rashard Lewis hit a three to open the fourth quarter and was fouled. He missed the free throw but still, Miami led 90-75. The scariest moment of the game came when Green dunked with 10:03 left in the fourth quarter. Bracing himself for the awkward fall, Green feel on his left arm and hurt his left arm. He stayed in the game for several trips up and down the court before finally coming out with what was termed a bruised left elbow. Green stayed on the bench with a black sleeve for several minutes before leaving for the locker room. He did not return to the game.
Pierce and Garnett are expected to return to the lineup Saturday night in Orlando as they play the Magic. The Celtics will have Sunday and Monday off before playing their final home game Tuesday night against the Pacers at the Garden. Boston concludes the regular season Wednesday night in Toronto against the Raptors.
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
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