Celtics 78, Heat 66: Sasha Pavlovic, Marquis Daniels Lead Boston Past Miami

Sasha Pavlovic scored a game-high 16 and the Boston Celtics, who were missing Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Mickael Pietrus and Greg Stiemsma, beat the Miami Heat, who were without their three stars, 78-66, on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

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Home Court Still Within Reach, Celtics Won't Change Their Approach

BOSTON - First thing's first, you have to be healthy. Doc Rivers has put his emphasis on having his Boston Celtics healthy heading into the playoffs, which is why he has rested his players in the last two games. With one game left, the Celts still have a chance to clinch home court advantage for their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks, needing a win against the Milwaukee Bucks and a Hawks' loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.

Still, that won't change the team's approach in their regular season finale against the Bucks.

"Well, it doesn't," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "We're going to play our guys Thursday, anyway, especially since they didn't play today and I said that the other day and I thought they were going to play today. So we'll see. But it does, I mean, it would be nice to put some more pressure and force Atlanta to have to win. That would be nice."

Atlanta (39-26) has a one-game lead in the race for home court advantage over Boston (38-27). Both teams were in action Tuesday, and both claimed victories. Boston defeated the Miami Heat, 78-66, while Atlanta topped the Los Angeles Clippers, 109-102.

Home court advantage isn't a necessity for a veteran group like Boston, but it helps.

"That means a lot, we get to stay here we don't have to travel," said Marquis Daniels. "We have the greatest fans here so it'd be great for us if we can get home court advantage."

Boston and Atlanta will open their first-round playoff series on either Saturday or Sunday.

For more 2012 NBA Playoffs, follow our stream. For Celtics coverage, visit our team page and CelticsBlog. Visit both Peachtree Hoops and SB Nation Atlanta for Hawks coverage.

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Celtics 78, Heat 66: Boston Takes Out Starless Miami In Ugly Game

BOSTON - If you watched all of Tuesday night's game between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, you should get a lifetime supply of Tommy Points. After an ugly -- and I mean ugly -- start that saw the C' shoot 23.5 percent in the opening quarter and score a season-low 10 first-quarter points, the Celtics did enough to beat the Heat, 78-66, at TD Garden.

"Well, someone had to win the game. And we did, which was really nice," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "You know these games are still important, probably for both teams. I'm sure Erik (Spoelstra) is still looking at guys. We pretty much know our rotation, but someone else is always going to help you in playoffs, and games like this can give you confidence."

Playing without Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Mickael Pietrus and Greg Stiemsma (that's a combined 52 points), the Celtics did about as well as you would expect. Paul Pierce did play, scoring eight points in 18 minutes, and both Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass finished with 8 points. Sasha Pavlovic scored a game-high 16 points and Marquis Daniels added 13 points and five rebounds. Sean Williams, the former Boston College forward, had five points, four rebounds, two blocks and two steals in his home debut. E'Twaun Moore scored seven and JaJuan Johnson scored six in rare minutes for Boston off the bench.

"I started kind of slow in the first half, Doc was on me about that," said Pavlovic. "He told me just to play to it, I took a couple bad shots in the first half. I just came out in the second half and played as hard as I could defensively and whenever I had an open shot I just took it."

"That was huge for Sasha," Rivers said. "I thought it was - especially in the fact that Sasha really struggled in the first half and then he came in the second half and played terrific. I thought for E'Twaun, just playing that amount of minutes at the point-guard position was good for him. And, so, there were a lot of good things in our way for that. You know it every year: someone who plays a little bit comes in in the playoffs and has a big game for you. Marquis, again. So all those guys I thought the game was very important for."

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh did not play for Miami, which was held to under 40 percent shooting. Dexter Pittman scored 12 and James Jones had 11 points off the bench to lead Miami. Two players -- Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers -- scored eight and Udonis Haslem, Juwan Howard and Norris Cole each scored six points for the Heat.

Boston was ice cold to start the game, missing its first eight shots and falling behind by seven points, 17-10, after 12 minutes. The second quarter was a little more successful for the Celtics, outscoring the Heat 18-17 behind six points from Daniels. Bradley scored six and Bass had six in the third quarter, sparking a 22-16 frame for the Celtics that tied the game at 50 with one quarter to play. Boston outscored Miami 28-16 in the final quarter.

"It wasn't a pretty game," said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. "Obviously with twenty-five turnovers, but however we got to that point, we still were tied halfway through the fourth quarter. It just went from there. Even though we weren't playing well we found a way to get up by ten. We never quite recovered after that."

The comeback win gave the Celtics hope for home court advantage in their first round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta, which has a one-game lead in the race for home court in the playoffs with one to play, defeated the Los Angeles Clippers, 109-102. Both the Celtics and Hawks play their regular season finales Thursday evening.


Final - 4.24.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Miami Heat 17 17 16 16 66
Boston Celtics 10 18 22 28 78

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Celtics Vs. Heat, Halftime Score: Boston Down 34-28 At Halftime

The Boston Celtics are down 34-28 at halftime against the Miami Heat on Thursday, though it's clear both team lack a sense of urgency. Miami's Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have played a combined zero minutes on the night, with the Heat having already wrapped up the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are also short-staffed, having already secured their spot in the postseason with an Atlantic Division title.

Neither team is shooting particularly well, though the Celtics have been especially bad. Boston took over six minutes into the first quarter to put it's first points on the board, and are shooting just 31.3 percent from the floor. Marquis Daniels, of all people, leads the team with eight points so far, despite averaging just 2.9 per game for the season.

The Celtics have stay relatively close to the Heat thanks to 13 forced turnovers, and the fact that Miami is only shooting 40.5 percent from the floor themselves. James Jones leads the Heat with nine points on the night, all coming on 3-for-3 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.


Intermission 1 2 3 4 Total
Miami Heat 17 17 34
Boston Celtics 10 18 28

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Celtics Vs. Heat: Ray Allen, Greg Stiemsma, Mickael Pietrus Out

Ray Allen (swollen ankle), Greg Stiemsma (sore feet) and Mickael Pietrus (knee) will all be on the sidelines as the Boston Celtics face the Miami Heat at 8 p.m. EST on Tuesday night at TD Garden. Rajon Rondo's status is still uncertain.

Allen has not played since April 10, and told media that he was uncertain about hi return going forward. With two games left before the playoffs, which begin next weekend, it's looking more and more likely that Allen may not be available for the start of the postseason. Allen is averaging 14.2 points and 31. rebounds this season.

Stiemsma has not missed a game since March 4 while Pietrus hasn't played since the Celtics' finale of a back-to-back-to-back against the Charlotte Bobcats on April 15. Rondo, meanwhile, has missed Boston's last two games.



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Celtics Vs. Heat: Mickael Pietrus Out; Three Others Miss Shootaround

Health over homecourt. This time, every time. Doc Rivers won't change his mind, even against the Miami Heat. Rivers and his Boston Celtics will be without swingman Mickael Pietrus (knee) and possibly three others (Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Greg Stiemsma didn't participate in shootaround Tuesday morning) when they face the Miami Heat at 8 p.m. EST.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that follows the Celtics. None of those four players participated in Monday's practice in Waltham, and with practically everything (minus homecourt advantage in the Celtics' first round series against the Atlanta Hawks) wrapped up. Boston has one game left after Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.

Miami will be without its star trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, too.



For more Celtics and Heat coverage, visit CelticsBlog and Peninsula Is Mightier.

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Celtics Vs. Heat: Boston Hosts Miami In Potential Playoff Preview

With just about everything locked up heading into the playoffs, the Boston Celtics (37-27) host the Miami Heat (46-18) in a nationally televised affair at 8 p.m. EST on Tuesday night at TD Garden in Boston, MA (TV/Radio: TNT/WEEI).

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