- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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MIAMI -- A collection of news and notes after the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 102-91 Tuesday night in Game 2 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series at American Airlines Arena. Miami leads the series, 2-0:
Captain Paul Pierce suffered a strained left Achilles that forced him to the locker room midway through the first quarter, Ray Allen needed to be taken to the locker room for a spell with a bruised chest after getting elbowed by LeBron James and Rajon Rondo battled through a tight back that wouldn't loosen up for much of the game.
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo with a wrap on before the start of the second half.“It was a circus going on at the one point,” coach Doc Rivers said after the game. “Ray needed to be taken to the locker room [in the second quarter], Paul was coming out of the locker room, Rondo was asking to come out, almost simultaneously. It was sketchy.”
With three days off before Saturday's Game 3, the injuries don't appear to be a concern for the Celtics, who plan to rest Wednesday before getting back on the court Thursday.
"I'm day-to-day right now," said Pierce, who returned to the game in the second quarter after getting treatment. "We're just going to see how it feels the next couple of days. When you strain your Achilles, every step is like a slight, little pain in there. But it actually loosened up when I got back in there, got up and down a few times, and it really didn't affect me the rest of the game."
Pierce finished with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting with five rebounds over 32:32.
"I don’t think anybody's ever 100 percent at this time of year. It's just part of the game,” Said Allen, who had 7 points on 2 of 7 shooting over 34 minutes. “It's been a long year, you just deal with it. Whatever ails you I'm sure [the Heat] have the same issues, everybody has them. You use the off days to get your body better.”
Rondo wore a wrap around his lower back before the game and during intermission to keep his back from tightening up. He said after Tuesday's loss that he was fine, and even though Rivers told the media that Rondo asked to come out because of the back early in the fourth quarter, Rondo said it was due to fatigue. He did get some assistance while being stretched out on the baseline during the break.
"No, I was tired at the time," Rondo said. Asked about the wrap he noted, "I was just trying to stay warm."
Rondo finished with a team-high 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting with 12 assists and 6 rebounds over 41:42. According to ESPN Stats and Info, it was the eighth career playoff game that he's scored 20+ points and dished out 10+ assists.
What's more, Rondo scored or assisted on 52.7 percent of the Celtics' points (48-of-91) in Game 2, and the Celtics were 12-of-19 shooting (63.2 percent) off Rondo passes. Off all other passes, Boston was a mere 15-of-44 shooting (34.1 percent).
--GREEN QUIET AFTER BIG FIRST-QUARTER EFFORT--
With Pierce in the locker room after suffering an Achilles strain, reserve forward Jeff Green got quality floor time and took immediate advantage. He simply didn't sustain it.
Green connected on four of his fist five shots over an eight-minute span, scoring 10 points on his first shift, which spanned into the second quarter. The rest of the night he generated only one point, missing the only other shot he took, while grabbing a total of four rebounds.
Green also struggled on the defensive end at times, not making it hard enough for players to get quality looks.
"I thought our bench, honestly, kind of kept us around for a while," Rivers said. "One of the things we clearly have to do a better job of, though, is close out quarters. They closed out the first quarter on a run, they closed out the second quarter on a run, they closed out the third quarter, and then they closed out the game, all on runs. We have to figure out a way of finishing quarters better than we did tonight."
--LAYUP LINE: NO EXCUSES FOR KG; RIVERS ON WHAT WENT WRONG--
* Kevin Garnett isn't wasting much time worrying about injuries: "Health is always a concern, but you know what? It's not a question, it's not an excuse," he said. "You suit up to play, it is what it is. You go out here, play the game. If not, you sit down."
* Rivers on what went wrong after the Celtics made it an 80-80 game: "I just think at that point we've got to play with better discipline, more force," he said. "I thought once we tied the game we left Chalmers open for a three, then we got to fouling. Then on the other end, offensively, I thought we got good shots. But we can get better shots and executing and that was the reason for the struggles on offense. But I thought defensively we were solid for the most part. When it got to 80-80, it just seemed like we couldn't get a stop. We either fouled them or they scored."