Two of the league's top defensive squads clashed on Tuesday night in South Beach, and they did exactly what you might expect. Or not.
Paul Pierce scored 27, Kevin Garnett had 24 points and nine rebounds and Rajon Rondo totaled 18 points and 15 assists as the Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat for the second time this month, capturing a 115-107 win at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Much like their 91-72 win over the Heat on April 1 at TD Garden, the Celtics started strong and led by 11 points (33-22) through one quarter. After going up by as many as 18 in the second quarter, Boston's lead diminished to eight points by halftime, 65-57.
Miami didn't make up any ground in the third quarter, with each team scoring 24, but a furious push by the Heat in the fourth made it a one-point game, 89-88, with 10 minutes to play. Instead of folding like players of their age are inclined to do, the Big Three-led C's rebuilt the lead to ten points, 104-94, and fended off one final push from Miami.
Boston had all five of its starters score in double digits. In addition to Pierce, Garnett and Rondo, Brandon Bass scored 12 and grabbed 10 boards and Avery Bradley added 11 points. Ray Allen scored nine off the bench and Boston shot a season-high 60.6 percent.
LeBron James scored 36 and had seven rebounds and seven assists while Dwyane Wade scored 20 and Mario Chalmers added 18 points and three steals. Miami shot 44.8 percent from the field and was out-rebounded 40-34.
Boston has a quick turnaround, as it hosts the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.