MIAMI — The Celtics are a fine road team and they don’t get put away easily, evidenced by an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat. The Celtics not only rallied to even the Heat, they took a four-point lead with under a minute left, only to blow it and have to rely on a perfectly executed alley-oop to Rajon Rondo for the tying bucket at the buzzer to send it to overtime.
By that time, the Celtics had figured out how to contain Wade, who scored 44 points, and force other Heat players to deliver. They didn’t. Rasheed Wallace said after the game that the Celtics knew that most of the Heat players didn’t want to take the big shots, so they relied on Wade, who took 33 percent of Miami’s shots.
Amazingly, the Celtics on a game where their opponent had 31 more shot attempts. Miami killed Boston on the offensive boards, a 17-5 advantage and a 16-6 edge on second-chance points. The Celtics also committed 25 turnovers but just one in overtime. In all, it was a solid win because the Celtics were playing with Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce coming off injuries and Kevin Garnett out and still beat a quality team.
Paul Pierce — A solid return from a five-game absence with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. His shot was falling short late in the game but the Celtics got exponentially more out of him than expected.
Rasheed Wallace — A sparking effort with 16 points and nine rebounds and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes. And was able to keep his emotions in check — barely — when he picked up his sixth foul.
Kendrick Perkins — He battled food poisoning the last few days but he played 41 minutes and produced a 20-10 game. He even hit six of his nine free throws and dished out three assists with three blocks and frustrated Jermaine O’Neal — as usual.
Ray Allen — Took just 10 shots and he got into foul trouble in the second half but he also collected four steals and hit a key 3-pointer and at least gave an effort against Wade.
Rajon Rondo — What can you say about Rondo? He plays 50 minutes on a strained left hamstring and scored 25 points with 8 assists and 4 rebounds, including the amazing alley-oop. Another All-Star caliber performance from a player who should have already cinched his spot on the team.
Tony Allen — Just one of those nights for Allen with three turnovers, four fouls and a couple of misplays that didn’t help the cause. But he played hard and did hit four of six shots.
Glen Davis — Got a couple of tough rebounds but didn’t record a field goal in 20 minutes in an otherwise forgettable performance.
Shelden Williams — Two points and two rebounds in eight minutes. Nothing much here but did play some strong defense.
Brian Scalabrine — It’s obvious his confidence is shot and he is passing up shots he should take. He finished 0-for-2 from the field and is now 3 for his past 26 from the field and hasn’t made a basket since the Christmas Day win over Orlando.