The greatest team in the history of the NBA got a rude wake-up call tonight in the Garden.
The Celtics smacked around the Heat (for most of the night) in the 88-80 victory.
Yes, the Celtics pissed away a 19 point lead in the 3rd quarter and 13 point lead with 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter (I reached level 7 on the nervous meter). But Paul Pierce (11 of his 18 points in the 4th) and Ray Allen (20 points, clutch 3-pointer with :49 seconds left) wouldn't allow this team to lose.
The defense was awesome. Miami had 9 points in the 1st quarter, shot 26% FG in the first half and 37% FG for the game.
Rondo (4 pts, 5 reb, 17 assists) was a brilliant playmaker. He got Shaq (18 minutes, 9 points, 7 rebounds) involved early by setting up a couple of dunks.
The bench was fantastic. Glen Davis led the way with 13 points (6-7 FG), 5 rebounds in 29 minutes. Quis had 8 points on 4-5 FG. Jermaine O'Neal blocked 2 shots.
LeBron James had 15 of his 31 points in the 3rd quarter. He single-handedly erased the Celtics 19 point lead. Dwyane Wade (13 points, 4-16 FG) was awful. Did Chris Bosh play?
Except for the two atrocious blocking calls on Paul Pierce, I thought the officiating was decent. There was only one technical foul (Miami bench).
Pierce left the game in the 3rd quarter with back spasms after getting steamrolled by LeBron. He returned and buried clutch shot after clutch shot.
More to come…
Craig Sager: Are the Heat the team to beat in the East?
Rondo: I think we are.