When Doc Rivers was analyzing the key moments from what evolved into a 44-8 run spanning the middle quarters, he pointed to -- of all things -- a skip pass from Perkins that led to a Michael Finley 3-pointer and ignited the spurt.
Boston trailed, 29-25, when Perkins checked back into the game with 9:26 remaining in the second quarter. But Miami wouldn't score again over the next seven minutes and Finley's triple only lit the fuse on Boston's big run.
"We had a stretch... where we just stopped moving the ball -- the ball started sticking," said Rivers. "And I thought the single biggest play of the game, I think it was Perk’s skip-pass to Michael Finley for the three, because that’s what we kept saying: ‘Big, big passes, big big passes.' We were on a stretch where the ball was just sticking offensively, and once the ball started moving and we started getting multiple stops, we were off and running."
After enjoying a 21-0 burst in the second quarter, not even halftime could take the wind out of their sails. Boston embarked on a 16-0 run in the third frame, holding Miami scoreless for a total of nearly 13 minutes during a stretch of little more than 16 minutes.
Rivers went so far as to call it the best stretch of basketball his team has played all season. "If you consider everything, it probably was," he said.
TA enjoys the show from sideline
Celtics guard Tony Allen didn't produce the sort of offense he did in Game 1, but that doesn't mean he didn't enjoy Game 2 just as much.
Allen might have been the most excited person in the building as Boston embarked on the 44-8 run. With every 3-pointer splashed by Ray Allen, Tony Allen popped to his feet and looked like he was going to come out of his skin. Numerous times he pumped up the crowd, imploring fans to get on their feet (not that they weren't obliging already). While waiting to check in, Boston enjoyed a fastbreak and Tony Allen nearly wandered into the Miami bench (a dangerous zone, just ask Kevin Garnett) while following the play down the sideline.
Tony Allen finished with 4 points on 2-of-5 shooting with 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and an assist over 17 minutes. He struggled to keep Dwyane Wade quiet at times, particularly late in the third quarter, but his energy seemed contagious for Boston.
"We had a tough practice [Monday] and I think it carried over," said Tony Allen. "The guys was very talkative in practice and they were very talkative [Tuesday], too."
Rivers lauded the play of TA and the other reserves.
"You can plug [the reserves] in places -- Tony’s played some point -- you can plug them in different places, they’re so familiar with our offense and defensive schemes that they’re almost utility players in a lot of ways, like a baseball team. You can trust that they’ll pick up our stuff easier than everybody else. I will say Michael Finley – for a guy that’s only been here for a short time, I’m still amazed at how quickly he picks up stuff, and is always in the right place."
Thibodeau to NJ? Doc wants jobs for his assistants
"I don't talk about that stuff, but it's great, I want all my assistants to be head coaches," said Rivers. "Some of them have been interviewed, none of them have gotten jobs yet. Hopefully some day they get a [head coaching] job."