The Boston Celtics made it quite clear to the Miami Heat Sunday night, that if they expect to advance to the NBA Finals, they will a battle on their hands; as the “Green Team” blew a 14 point lead that they held at the half, but came back to defeat their opponents in overtime, by a final score of 93-91. The Celtics put on a show for their fans at the “New Garden” in the first 24 minutes of play, holding a double-digit advantage over their guests at the end of the first and second periods.
The team returned to the court for the third, however they must have left their offense back in the locker room; as they could only score 11 points in 12 minutes of action, cutting their edge to five points heading into the fourth quarter. Boston was not much better offensively in the final period of regulation and LeBron James would send the contest into the extra period when he drained a 25 foot trey with 37 seconds left in the period. Heat forward Udonis Haslem would slam the ball through the cylinder for the first points in the overtime, but they would be the last points of the night for his team and the Celtics got their second straight win.
Paul Pierce led a very balanced attack for the home team with 23 points in the contest. The Celtics had six players score in double-figures, with Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo once again racking up double-doubles in the victory. Garnett put 17 points on the scoreboard while grabbing 14 rebounds off the backboard while Rondo dropped 15 points and dished off 15 assists. His partner in the back-court, Ray Allen, had his strongest game of the Playoffs as the veteran scored 16 points in the game.
LeBron James would be the high scorer of the contest as he knocked down 29 points while Dwyane Wade put up another 20 in the loss. They would get little support from the rest of their roster, with starting point-guard Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem being the only two other Miami players in double-digits, as they each scored 12 points for the night.
After being pummeled in the first game of the match-up and then losing in another overtime contest to Miami in the second game of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics had to take the two games on their home-court and deadlock the series, for them to have a chance to head to their third NBA Finals in the last five years. They now head back to American Airlines Arena in Miami for the first game of a two out of three series, with two of the contests on their opponents floor. Boston showed that they can beat the Heat in the last two games; what is still yet to be discovered is if they can do it in Miami.
The Heat lost a game at home, to the Indiana Pacers in their previous series and Boston did take them to overtime in game two at American Airlines Arena before falling to the home team. Boston’s best chance of winning a game in Miami will be on Tuesday, as it would be hard to imagine the Heat losing a game seven in their own arena. The Celtics would then have to wrap the series up on Thursday in Boston, as the Heat certainly would not allow their season to end with back-to-back losses at home.