Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/18

Game 1: Wednesday, December 18th
Game 2: Friday, December 27th
Game 3: Wednesday, April 2nd
Game 4: Sunday, April 13th

Heat 91

(7-18, 3-9 away)

Celtics 81

(16-9, 10-5 home)

    7:00 PM ET, December 18, 2002

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIA 25 23 20 2391
    BOS 16 12 26 2781

    Top Performers

    Mia: B. Grant 17 Pts, 10 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl

    Bos: T. Delk 20 Pts, 8 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Blk

    Heat win for just third time in 12 road games

    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 end.

    Many Celtics fans evidently felt the same way.

     Paul Pierce

    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 1:14 left.

    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 quarter.

    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 19.

    Boston made just 25 of 69 shots -- a .362 percentage -- and scored just 12 points in the second quarter on 3-for-15 shooting.

    Game notes
    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 91 81
    FGM-FGA 29-77 (.377) 25-69 (.362)
    3PM-3PA 10-23 (.435) 9-27 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 23-29 (.793) 22-32 (.688)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-43 9-40
    Assists 21 13
    Turnovers 14 18
    Steals 11 6
    Blocks 2 4
    Fast Break Points 2 0
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (0/0) 19 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Brian Grant Grant
    Points: 17
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Tony Delk Delk
    Points: 20
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1