Jeff Green poured in a career-high 43 points and the Celtics held a lead as large as 17, but Boston was unable to close the deal in a 105-103 loss to the Miami Heat Monday night. The win is Miami's 23d straight, which puts them alone in 2d place for the NBA's longest win streaks of all-time. Only the 1971-72 Lakers won more consecutive games with 33.
Green was the story for most of the night. He had 26 points by halftime 38 after three quarters. He finished 14 of 21 from the field and 10 of 13 from the line. For most of the night he out-paced James, but the Heat superstar came on in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 of his 37 points. With the game tied at 103, James ran the clock down and hit a clutch jumper with 10.5 seconds left.
Paul Pierce was Boston's 2d-leading scorer with 17 points. The Celtics played without Kevin Garnett, who sat out with flu-like symptoms.
Final: Heat 105, Celtics 103
1.9 4th quarter, Heat 105-103: Celtics get two cracks at it. Green gets blocked on a runner. After a long review of the call the ball stays with the Celtics. Pierce's 3-pointer was off the mark and the Heat are going to win this game.
10.5 seconds 4th quarter, Heat 105-103: Miami ran the clock down and James sticks a dagger. He's got 37 points. Celtics will have a chance to tie or win the game.
1:26 4th quarter, Celtics 103-101: Avery Bradley with the monster 3-pointer to give the Celtics the lead here. Going to be Miami ball here though after a review of the out-of-bounds call.
2:40 4th quarter, Heat 101-100: What a game. Miami has come all the way back, again, to take the lead. Green is back in the game, but was he held out too long? Pierce has to be a scoring option for the Celtics here as well.
5:14 4th quarter, Celtics 99-92: The Jordan Crawford experiment has obviously run its course. Rivers sensed it and tried to sub in Bradley, but a couple of minutes passed before the sub could be made. Celtics clinging to a seven-point lead.
How long can Rivers keep Green out?
9:06 4th quarter, Celtics 93-83: That's just the start to the 4th quarter the Celtics wanted. Green's up to 43 points now. Hard to imagine him coming out despite playing 35 minutes so far. Jordan Crawford is giving the Celtics valuable minutes here.
End 3d quarter, Celtics 82-78: Green's 38 points not only tie a career-high, he's outscored James and Wade combined through three quarters.
5:00 3d quarter, Celtics 73-65: Celtics seizing momentum back again as Green goes over 30 points on the layup. Celtics fans chanting "Jeff Green", which is most definitely a first.
6:47 3d quarter, Celtics 64-63: Offensive foul called on LeBron, his first of the game.
10:18 3d quarter, Tied at 59: It didn't take the Heat long to come all the way back. Too easy so far, which is why Doc Rivers just called a timeout.
Halftime, Celtics 59-53: Miami closed the gap before halftime thanks to 12 of 19 shooting in the second quarter. The Heat also got to the line 14 times in the second quarter after getting their once in the first. Jeff Green has 26-first half points. His season-high is 31.
2:50 2d quarter, Celtics 55-42: Things getting chippy between these two teams. If only KG were here.
4:30 2d quarter, Celtics 52-38: This game is getting crazy. James with maybe the dunk of the year over Jason Terry but gets called for a technical. Avery Bradley with a chase-down block on Norris Cole that leads to a 3-pointer by Pierce on the other end. Two enormous momentum plays.
6:09 2d quarter, Celtics 45-34: Green is getting a much-needed break. The Celtics need to make sure they keep their defense in check. Miami is 6 for 9 in the quarter.
9:09 2d quarter, Celtics 41-24: Jeff Green has 22 points in just under 15 minutes. Miami can't stop him. To his credit Green is taking the ball to the basket in addition to making 3-pointers. An unbelievable display from Green.
End 1st quarter, Celtics 31-19: The Celtics closed the 1st quarter on a 17-0 run and have taken a 31-19 lead on the Heat after one. Jeff Green has been the story with 14 points. The Celtics are shooting 65 percent and holding Miami to 36 percent.
2:17 1st quarter, Celtics 25-19: Jeff Green already has 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting. Piece just hit his first 3-pointer. The crowd is certainly going to help tonight. They're booing Ray Allen each time he touches the ball.
3:38 1st quarter, Heat 19-18: The Celtics have yet to make a sub.
5:55 1st quarter, Heat 16-11: The Heat are starting to get their way on offense, with James in particular (7 points) finding his shots. Brandon Bass has done a surprisingly good job switching onto James on a couple of players.
Another development: Dwyane Wade has two fouls.
7:55 1st quarter, Heat 12-9: Miami is pressing Avery Bradley and forcing turnovers. It's amazing more teams don't do this. It's just possible, maybe, that the Celtics miss having a point guard sometimes.
10:28 1st quarter, Celtics 6-0: Great start for the Celtics here. Heat have only attempted two shots and missed both. Celtics a cool 3 for 4.
Pregame: No Kevin Garnett tonight, but a packed house already inside TD Garden. Miami's 22-game win streak is on the line.