Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Heat run Celtics out of playoffs
By ESPN Stats & Info
The Miami Heat closed the game on a 16-0 run as they defeated the Boston Celtics to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since their championship run in 2006.
For the second straight game the teams battled down the stretch, and for the second consecutive contest it was the "Big Three" of the Heat that made all the plays.
The trio combined to score 23 of the Heat's 26 fourth-quarter points after scoring the last 31 points for the team in Game 4.
Boston's "Big Three" of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen combined for just 2 points on 1-for-9 shooting in the fourth quarter.
LeBron James closed the game in impressive fashion scoring the final 10 points of the contest. He scored 23 of his 33 points after halftime as his jump shot came alive.
Video tracking showed James struggled from 15 feet and out for most of the series. But on Wednesday, he hit five of his final seven attempts from 15 feet and out, including two 3-pointers during the game-ending run.
While it was all about James late, Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 34 points, 23 of which came in the first half to keep Miami in the game. Chris Bosh scored just 14 points but six came in the fourth quarter.
This marked the second straight game those three players scored at least 83 percent of the team's points.
During the Heat's late spurt, they stopped settling for mid-range jumpers over the final three minutes, 43 seconds of the game, instead opting for shots close to the rim or threes.
The Heat had two dunks in the final 3:43, after making just one throughout the first 44 minutes of the game.
While the Heat will wait for the winner of the series between the Chicago Bulls and the Atlanta Hawks, Boston will head into its offseason needing to figure what to do about its fourth-quarter woes.
Particularly troubling, over the last two games the Heat trio outscored the Celtics “Big Three” 40-9 in the fourth quarter, continuing Boston’s trend of tiring down the stretch.
With Garnett on the bench to start the fourth, the Celtics actually built their lead from two points up to seven before he entered for Jeff Green. Once he came back, the Heat outscored the Celtics by 17 to finish the game.
Throughout the entire postseason, the Celtics were outscored by 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime with Garnett, Allen and Pierce on the court together.
The fourth quarter was a trouble area for the Celtics all year. During the regular season Boston scored the third fewest points per game in the fourth quarter.