LeBron James and Dwayne Wade are definitely on their game right now, making the Heat roll good. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals was no exception for them. James had 32 points and 13 rebounds, Wade scored 22 points out of which 10 points in the fourth quarter and the Heat take the edge in the series Monday night in AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami.
Heat dominated the first quarter, making it a 21-11 lead, to waste it in the second quarter after giving up 35 points to the Celtics for the tie, then an early third quarter 9-2 run broke the halftime tie to give Miami the lead again. After this, they never looked back.
Shane Battier, coming out the bench to fill the gap of Chris Bosh's absence, had 10 points and 10 rebounds in his first conference finals game. The Heat out-rebounded the Celtics 48-33, had 11 shot blocks and never trailed to the Celtics the whole game. LeBron James played a big part in Miami’s 3 last wins over Indiana in the eastern semifinals and looks like he brought his momentum and energy against Boston as well. This is the fourth time James faces the Celtics in the playoffs.
For the Celtics, Kevin Garnett had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Rajon Rondo 9 rebounds and 7 assists and Paul Pierce had 12 points. Ray Allen was stuck to 1-7 field goals and missed four costless throws in the first half, match his career worst.
First quarter went bad for the Celtics as their whole roster had 11 points, while LeBron James alone had 13. Kevin Garnett had 3-4 first quarter field goals while everyone else was 2-16 from the floor. This was about to change, as the Celtics had their response in the 2nd quarter. Rondo, Garnett and Pierce combined for 23 points for the Celtics, making it a 46-46 tie at the end of the first half. Celtics comeback came while they got hit by technical fouls, having three in the first half. The Celtics had a total of 5 technical fouls in the game, one of them on coach Doc Rivers. “It was the worst I ever had” he said.
Miami realized they weren’t playing their good game after break. "We knew at halftime we hadn't played our best basketball, so we just had to stop making the mental mistakes and start to play the way we're capable of playing" LeBron James said, and that's exactly what they did.
Rondo missed 3 shots for the Celtics early in the third half, and that’s when Heat started their 9-2 run including a quarterback-style pass from Wade to James for the alley-oop. Wade took the rebound on defense, then threw a bullet-pass to James for and easy bucket. Miami outscored Boston 26-15 in the third quarter with James scoring 10 of those points.
Miami led by as many as 13 points to take a 72-61 lead into the fourth quarter. The Celtics shut down after Miami dominating the third quarter, and fourth quarter started strong for the Heat, having a 15 point lead with almost 10 minutes remaining. "We kept fighting," Rondo said. "It wasn't pretty. We missed four or five layups, a bunch of costless throws. That being said, we were tied at halftime but we just didn't come out with the right mindset in the second half."
Miami took a decisive series lead in Game 1, heading strong to Game 2 Wednesday in Miami.