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First impressions: Celtics 107, Heat 102

2/4/2010

BOSTON -- Instant reaction after the Boston Celtics posted a 107-102 triumph over the Miami Heat Wednesday night at TD Garden:

How the game was won: Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo registered 22 points, 14 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals over 43 minutes while spearheading the Boston victory. Ray Allen chipped in a team-high 23 points, while Kevin Garnett added 14 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds. Miami's Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 30 points to go along with 13 assists.

Turning point: A pair of fourth-quarter moments helped Boston prevail: 1) Miami had a chance to tie it in the final minute, but Tony Allen picked the pocket of Wade while fighting through a screen and was fouled. He hit both free throws with 36.5 seconds to go for a 99-94 lead; 2) Boston nearly gave away a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead for the third time in five games (it did so against the Magic and Lakers), as Miami rallied from 10 down to make it a two-point game, 88-86, with five minutes to play. Eddie House, getting a bump in playing time with the injured Paul Pierce out, hit a 3-pointer and followed with a fast-break layup to quickly push the lead back to seven.

Stat of the game: The Celtics reached the century mark for the first time since a Jan. 13 win over the Nets. Boston had endured a nine-game, triple-digit drought, which tied the Pistons for the longest current streak in the league. It was the longest streak of sub-100-point games for Boston since 2006-07 (11 games, Jan. 20-Feb. 6), as part of an 18-game losing streak.

Unsung hero: House not only ignited the key stretch, but finished with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting with four rebounds, two assists and a steal in 24 minutes.

What it means: Rarely has it been pretty at home this season for the Celtics, but playing without Pierce (strained left mid-foot), Boston will take any 'W' it can get. The Celtics now have back-to-back wins with hapless New Jersey coming to town Friday, and a roster that's potentially at full health by next week (when Pierce and Marquis Daniels could return).