In a strange game full of wild twists and turns, the Celtics fell to the Miami Heat, 99-90 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series. Dwayne Wade paced the Heat with 38 points on 14-of-21 shooting while reserve forward James Jones came off the bench to hit five of seven 3-pointers and finishing with a career-high 25 points. The Celtics shot just 42.7 percent from the floor and looked rusty from their week off, falling behind by as many as 19 in the first half.
Ray Allen led the way for the C's with another stellar shooting performance, making 9-of-13 shots (including 5-of-8 from long range) and finishing with 25 points. Allen didn't get much help on the offensive end with Paul Pierce scoring 19 and Delonte West contributing 10 off the bench. Pierce, who had four turnovers but just two points in the first half, finally got going in the third quarter, but was ejected at the seven minute mark of the fourth quarter after getting called for two technical fouls in a 59 second span, the second of which was questionable at best.
The Celts were in a big hole at halftime after a lackluster first half which saw them shoot just 36 percent and trail by 15 at the break. Rajon Rondo never got going after picking up three fouls and playing just six minutes in the first half. He would finish with eight points, seven assists and seven rebounds. Meanwhile, Wade shot 9-of-11 in the first half, good for 23 of his 38 points, while Jones drilled four of his 3-pointers to lead the Heat's charge. LeBron James finished with 22 points, six boards, five rebounds, two blocks and two steals, but did it all mostly quietly, thanks in no small part to Wade's huge performance.
Boston managed to keep the third leg of the Heat's Big Three, Chris Bosh, off target, holding him to just seven points on 3-of-10 shooting. But Kevin Garnett couldn't take advantage, managing just six points and eight rebounds. Garnett was off ll afternoon, missing six of nine shots, most of them wide open jumpers. The Heat played very tight defense on the C's throughout, but there were still plenty of open looks for the visitors. They just couldn't take advantage.
Things got pretty chippy in the fourth quarter, with Pierce's ejection following some close talking and bumping with both Jones and Wade the apex of the animosity. But the Celtics were still able to hang around despite his absence, Garnett and Rondo's subpar games and Wade's heroics. In other words, it could have been a lot worse for the C's, something that should bode well for them headed into Game 2 on Tuesday night in Miami.