The Miami Heat now hold a 2-0 lead over the Boston Celtics in their Eastern Conference Finals match-up; however this time the victory did not come easy, as their visitors took them to overtime before the Heat could claim the 115-111 win. The Celtics, who looked old and lethargic in the opening game of the series, kept the fans at the American Airlines Arena on the edge of their seats Wednesday night, until Udonis Haslem put Miami on top to stay with 1:28 left in the extra period.
Celtics All-Star guard Rajon Rondo had a monster performance as he racked up a double-double with a game high 44 points; but it would not be enough to get his club the victory on the road. Four of the five Boston starters did score in double-digits as Paul Pierce had 21 points while Kevin Garnett put up 18 points and Ray Allen back in form as he chipped in 13 for the evening.The current NBA MVP, Miami forward LeBron James, also notched a double-double in the contest as he knocked down 34 points to pace his team for the night while Dwyane Wade scored 23 points and Mario Chalmers added 22 more in the contest.
Even with Chris Bosh still unable to play due to a strained abdominal muscle; Miami still outscored their visitors in the paint by a 40-30 margin as both James and Udonis Haslem helped their club to dominate the inside game. Boston would grab as many rebounds as their opponents with each team finishing the night with 42 boards; however they will have to do a better job inside to have a chance to advance to the Finals.
The Celtics would hold the upper hand at the conclusion of the first period as Rondo split a pair at the line to put his team on top 24-18. Boston held onto the advantage throughout the second and would enter their locker room as the game reached the half leading their hosts by a score of 53-46.
Miami made their run in the third, as Haslem drove the lane put the rock in the hole; was fouled on the play and hit his shot at the line putting his team ahead 73-71 with 2:55 left in the period. James tipped the ball through the cylinder with six seconds to play and Miami would lead 81-73 at the end of the period.
Miami looked like they were going to get the win in regulation as they held a five point edge over Boston with just over a minute left in the contest. Garnett would sink a shot one foot from the basket with 1:05 remaining and Allen buried a 24-foot trey with 34 seconds to play sending the game to the extra period. The two opponents traded the lead back and forth for much of the overtime; however Haslem would put them ahead to stay as he slammed the ball through the hoop with 1:28 left.
The action will move to Boston for game three on Friday with the Heat holding a 2-0 advantage in the series.