BOSTON (AP) -- Tony Battie was so sick during the first half of
Boston's game against Miami that he couldn't stick around until the
Many Celtics fans evidently felt the same way.
The Heat opened a 22-point lead in the first half and held on
for a rare road victory, beating the Celtics 91-81 on Wednesday
night as the fans booed Boston's second lackluster effort in a row.
"I expected Boston to be into the game after losing to Chicago
the other night," Heat coach Pat Riley said.
Eddie Jones scored 21 points for the Heat, who snapped a
three-game road losing streak and won for just the third time in 12
tries away from Miami. But it was a miss by Jones -- and a rebound
by Caron Butler -- that set up Mike James' 3-pointer to turn back
Boston's only real run of the game.
The Celtics, who lost at Chicago on Monday night, have now lost
two of their last three at home. Six of Boston's nine losses have
been to teams with losing records.
"We can't have mental lapses against teams we're supposed to
beat," Celtics guard Paul Pierce said. "You can't just get up for
the teams that are the top teams in the league."
Miami led by 76-58 with 8:50 left in the game before Boston
showed its first signs of life, cutting the deficit to 14 and then
scoring nine consecutive points to cut Miami's lead to five.
It was 84-70 when Shammond Williams made a dunk, then Tony Delk
hit the first of two free throws. Pierce rebounded the miss on the
second free throw and made a layup to make it a nine-point game.
Pierce added another layup, then Delk hit two free throws to
make it 84-79. But Butler grabbed the rebound on Jones' miss, James
hit a 3-pointer, and Pierce missed one of two from the line with
That sent many of the Celtics fans scurrying for the exits.
Battie started at center for Boston despite having a fever and
stuffy chest. He was still around when the crowd booed the Celtics
-- who trailed 48-28 -- off the court at the end of the second
He went home at halftime, having totaled zero points and one
rebound in 11 minutes.
"For the first minutes of the game, he was really laboring,"
Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said. "He gave us everything he could,
and I appreciate that."
Brian Grant had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Miami, and Butler
had 14 and 10. Miami held Boston to only three baskets over a span
of 17:51 -- from the 5:10 mark of the first quarter until the
opening minute of the third.
Delk scored 20 with eight rebounds and five assists for the
Celtics. Pierce, who was 0-for-6 in the first half, scored 18 on
4-for-18 shooting with eight turnovers, and Antoine Walker scored
Boston made just 25 of 69 shots -- a .362 percentage -- and scored
just 12 points in the second quarter on 3-for-15 shooting.
Heat coach Pat Riley was fined $50,000 by the NBA for
comments critical of the officials after last week's game against
the Knicks. ... LaPhonso Ellis started in place of Malik Allen for
Miami. Allen did not dress because of a right knee injury. ...
Vladimir Stepania was the third Heat player with 10 rebounds.