Final

Miami wins series 4-3 (Game 1 of 7)

Miami wins series 4-3

Game 1: Monday, May 28th
Celtics79Final
Heat93
Game 2: Wednesday, May 30th
Celtics111Final
OT
Heat115
Game 3: Friday, June 1st
Heat91Final
Celtics101
Game 4: Sunday, June 3rd
Heat91Final
OT
Celtics93
Game 5: Tuesday, June 5th
Celtics94Final
Heat90
Game 6: Thursday, June 7th
Heat98Final
Celtics79
Game 7: Saturday, June 9th
Celtics88Final
Heat101

Celtics 79

(39-27, 15-18 away)

Heat 93

(46-20, 28-5 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    8:30 PM ET, May 28, 2012

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 11 35 15 1879
    MIA 21 25 26 2193

    Top Performers

    Boston: K. Garnett 23 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Miami: L. James 32 Pts, 13 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

    Heat pull away from Celts in Eastern finals opener

    Associated Press

    MIAMI -- The way LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are rolling right now, one bad quarter is hardly too much for the Miami Heat to overcome.

    And with that, the Heat are three wins from another trip to the NBA Finals.

    James scored 32 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, Wade scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, and the Heat beat the Boston Celtics 93-79 on Monday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

    "One down. And they still have an opportunity in Game 2 to accomplish what they want to," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, referring to how Boston can still grab home-court advantage by winning Game 2. "At times it was a strange game. Some good runs, both teams. We felt we could have played better, and I'm sure they felt the same thing. But we found a way to grind it."

    Shane Battier, playing in the conference finals for the first time, had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who wasted an early 11-point first-half lead, then gave up 35 second-quarter points before running away to break a halftime tie -- getting going with a 9-2 run early in the third.

    Miami outrebounded the Celtics 48-33, blocked 11 shots and didn't trail at any time.

    "A block is like a dunk," Wade said. "It gets your team going."

    Kevin Garnett had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Boston, which got 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists from Rajon Rondo, and 12 points from Paul Pierce. Ray Allen shot just 1-for-7 from the floor for Boston, which was outscored by 10 in the first quarter and 11 in the third.

    "On the road, you can't have two quarters of lulls," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

    Game 2 is Wednesday night in Miami.

    And while both sides would say there's a long way to go in this series, Game 1 winners have a decided edge in any best-of-seven series, the conference finals being no exception. In the most recent 10 postseasons, teams with 1-0 leads in conference finals have advanced 15 out of 20 times.

    James and Wade scored 197 points in the final three games of Miami's second-round series with Indiana, all those games being Heat wins. The momentum carried over into Game 1 with the Celtics.

    "We get a lot of the press; we get a lot of the headlines," James said. "But our teammates, they do everything to help us win ballgames."

    It's the third straight year the Heat and Celtics have met in the playoffs, and the third straight year James has seen his postseason path go through Boston -- the first of those matchups coming in 2010 in his final run with Cleveland.

    Each of those came in the first or second rounds, not this close to the NBA Finals. And yes, the rivalry seems to be heating again.

    "They're home, they're comfortable, and when you're comfortable, you do things like that," Garnett said, suggesting that Miami was showboating at times down the stretch. "We have to show them to take them out of their comfort zone. We've got to fight a lot harder."

    Last season's Miami-Boston series ended with James scoring the final 10 points of Game 5, and the start of this year's matchup had him putting on another offensive display.

    He had 13 points in the first quarter -- two more than the entire Celtics roster -- and Miami ran out to a 21-11 lead after the opening period. Garnett made three of his four shots in the quarter, while everyone else in Boston green was 2-for-16 from the floor.

    "I thought they were ready to play," Rivers said. "I'm talking about Miami. I thought we kind of joined the game."

    The 11 points matched the lowest output by any team in the opening quarter this postseason. The other team to manage that few was San Antonio, which then dropped 32 on the Los Angeles Clippers in the second quarter of their game May 19.

    The Celtics' response was even better.

    Boston scored 35 in the second quarter, erasing what was an 11-point deficit early in the period by scoring 27 points in the final 8:46 of the half to pull into a 46-all tie. Rondo, Garnett and Pierce combined to score 23 points in the quarter, looking absolutely vintage, near-perfect offensive execution getting to Miami time and time again.

    And the Celtics' comeback happened even while they got hit with three technical fouls in the second quarter, plus Allen missing four first-half free throws -- matching his career worst for an entire game.

    "We may never see that again," Rivers said.

    In the end, it went down as merely a one-quarter lapse for Miami.

    Another technical foul, this one on Rondo, came in the third quarter, likely born from frustration as the Heat started to roll again.

    With the game tied at 50, Rondo missed three shots in a 31-second span early in the third, the last of those getting blocked by Battier -- who hit a 3-pointer 11 seconds later. It started a 9-2 Miami burst, including a touchdown pass from Wade to James -- Wade grabbed the rebound of a miss by Pierce, spun and delivered a 90-foot pass to the reigning MVP -- for an easy score.

    "We knew at halftime we hadn't played our best basketball," James said. "So we just had to stop making the mental mistakes and start to play the way we're capable of playing."

    And that's what happened.

    Miami led by as many as 13 late in the third before taking a 72-61 lead into the fourth. James scored 10 more in the third, Boston went cold again, shooting just 27 percent in the period, and Wade's left-handed bullet pass into the lane set up Joel Anthony for a dunk that pushed the Heat lead to 15 with 10:13 remaining.

    Pierce was 5-for-18. Rondo shot 8-of-20. Ray Allen was 1-for-7 from the floor and 3-for-7 from the foul line -- missing four free throws for just the third time in his 1,270 career regular-season and playoff games.

    "We kept fighting," Rondo said. "It wasn't pretty. We missed four or five layups, a bunch of free throws. That being said, we were tied at halftime but we just didn't come out with the right mindset in the second half."

    Miami did and takes a 1-0 lead into Game 2 as its reward. But James said he knows Boston is far from done.

    "I look at them as a top opponent, as a top contender and a competitive group ... a championship-caliber team," James said.

    Game notes


    Spoelstra is now 6-0 in Game 1s at home. ... James passed Sam Jones (2,909) for 22nd on the NBA's playoff scoring list with a layup late in the first quarter, and Garnett passed Dirk Nowitzki (1,314) for 22nd on the league's postseason rebound list. ... The Heat left the floor at halftime with a 48-46 lead, then had two points by Anthony taken off after a lengthy review showed he had a basket after the shot clock expired. ... Miami F Chris Bosh did a light pregame workout but remains out indefinitely with a lower abdominal strain. He was on the Heat bench for the first time in Miami's past six games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

    SPONSORED HEADLINES

    Team Stat Comparison

     
    BOS
    MIA
    Points 79 93
    FGM-FGA 32-81 (.395) 36-72 (.500)
    3PM-3PA 4-14 (.286) 5-25 (.200)
    FTM-FTA 11-21 (.524) 16-23 (.696)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-33 13-48
    Assists 19 17
    Turnovers 9 14
    Steals 6 4
    Blocks 1 11
    Fast Break Points 5 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (5/0) 21 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 17

    Top Performers

    Boston
    Miami
    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 23
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    LeBron James James
    Points: 32
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 3

    Research Notes

    The Heat scored 11 of their 15 transition points in the second half of Game 1, turning a tied game at halftime into a 14-point win. Miami is 8-0 this postseason when it scores at least 14 transition points. In each of the Heat's three losses this postseason, they were outscored and shot below 50 percent in transition.
      [+]
    LeBron James and Dwyane played 36 minutes together in Game 1. The Heat outscored the Celtics by 17 during that stretch. In the last three games, Miami has outscored its opponents by 51 points and shot 55.6 percent with James and Wade on the court.
      [+]
    The Heat shot a season-high 77.8 percent in the paint during Game 1. LeBron James shot 10-of-11 from this range and Dwyane Wade was 6-of-7. The Celtics had a season-high 11 shots blocked in the paint. They are 10-13 this season when they shoot below 50 percent in the paint.
      [+]
    Monday marked the 4th time this postseason the Heat shot at least 50 percent from the field. And in each game, they've won by double digits.
      [+]
    LeBron James: 50.0 FG pct or better in 4 straight games, 1 shy of career playoff best (5 straight games (2006)
    LeBron James scored 32 points with 13 rebounds Monday - the 19th time in his career he's had 30 and 10 in a playoff game in his career. The only active players who have done it more are Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki.
      [+]
    The Celtics scored 35 points in the second quarter against the Heat. It was the first time this postseason that the Heat allowed 30+ points in a quarter.

    ESPN Stats & Information