Miami wins series 4-1 (Game 1 of 5)

Miami wins series 4-1

Game 1: Sunday, May 1st
Game 2: Tuesday, May 3rd
Game 3: Saturday, May 7th
Game 4: Monday, May 9th
Game 5: Wednesday, May 11th

Celtics 90

(56-26, 23-18 away)

Heat 99

(58-24, 30-11 home)

    Coverage: ABC

    3:30 PM ET, May 1, 2011

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 14 22 26 2890
    MIA 20 31 25 2399

    Top Performers

    Bos: R. Allen 25 Pts, 3 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    Mia: D. Wade 38 Pts, 1 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

    Dwyane Wade, James Jones help Heat stifle Celts, take Game 1

    Associated Press

    MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade knew his regular-season numbers against Boston were lacking.

    He also knew that wouldn't matter in the playoffs.

    And Game 1 -- which seemed more like Round 1 -- of what's already an emotionally charged series went to Wade and the Miami Heat.

    Wade scored 38 points on 14-of-21 shooting, James Jones set a Miami postseason record with 25 points off the bench, and the Heat beat the Celtics 99-90 on Sunday to open their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

    "We're going to have to fight for every inch, every game we get," Wade said. "Right now, we won Game 1. We're supposed to. We'll go back and focus on winning Game 2. We're at home, we have home-court advantage. They're just trying to come in and steal one like they've done in the past. So it's our job to come out with the same mentality in the next one."

    LeBron James finished with 22 points, six rebounds and five assists for Miami, which led by as many as 19 before a fiery finish that saw plenty of players jawing at each other -- more than that in some cases. Paul Pierce was ejected with 7 minutes left, after picking up two technicals in skirmishes with Wade and Jones within a span of 59 seconds.

    Ray Allen scored 25 points for Boston, which lost for the first time in five games this postseason. Pierce scored 19 and Delonte West finished with 10 for the Celtics, while Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett were held to a combined 14 points on 6-for-19 shooting.

    "There's so many things we need to do to get better," Allen said. "I think everybody in that locker room knows that, just from a small conversation we just had."

    Game 2 is Tuesday in Miami.

    Given how Boston ousted Miami last season, and ended James' playoff runs with Cleveland in 2008 and 2010, these teams have history -- and more than a bit of dislike, and that was apparent. It was physical throughout, with West earning a technical and Jermaine O'Neal picking up a flagrant foul along the way, before things really got hot in the fourth.

    Pierce took offense with a hard foul by Jones, each getting double-technicals there, and Pierce and Wade -- who have a bit of history themselves -- renewed acquaintances not long after that.

    Referee Ed Malloy called both for double-technicals, and Pierce was screaming as he departed. Boston coach Doc Rivers said he thought Jones and Wade went at Pierce too aggressively on the two plays that ended his forward's night.

    "I thought both were flagrant fouls, personally, and I don't think we should react to either one," Rivers said.

    Wade acted like he didn't hear what Pierce said to him on the play with 7 minutes left, dismissing it as "gibberish." Crew chief Dan Crawford said Pierce's second technical was merited because he directed profanity at Wade.

    "And in the rulebook, that is a verbal taunt," Crawford said. "And it just so happened to be Pierce's second technical foul."

    Pierce's first technical, Crawford said, came after he made contact with Jones during a dead ball period. Rivers said he knew the Heat would try to play physical ball, but said what he saw Sunday didn't apply.

    "That's chippy," Rivers said. "That ain't physical."

    Countered Wade: "Very interesting that Doc said that."

    Pierce did not speak with reporters postgame.

    After he departed, the Celtics tried to rally. Allen made a 3-pointer to get within 90-82, but Chris Bosh and Wade had Miami's next two baskets, restoring a double-digit lead that wasn't again seriously threatened.

    "Every game is going to go like this," Wade said. "We look forward to the challenge."

    Wade averaged 12.8 points on 28 percent shooting against the Celtics in four regular-season matchups, his worst numbers in both categories against any opponent this season.

    Whatever wasn't working then, well, it was fixed for Game 1.

    He had nine field goals and 23 points by halftime -- while the entire Boston starting five combined for eight field goals and 21 points in the first 24 minutes. He had a steal to set up Mario Chalmers' layup with 0.1 seconds left in the first quarter that put Miami up 20-14, and added a more spectacular buzzer-beater near halftime.

    Heat coach Erik Spoelstra wanted a 20-second timeout to set up the final possession of the half, only to get overruled -- surely without complaint, either. Wade waved it off, then kept waving his arm to clear his teammates away, setting up a drive past West for a bank shot with 0.8 ticks remaining that put Miami ahead 51-36 at the break.

    Boston was completely out of sorts, perhaps rusty from sitting around for a week after sweeping the New York Knicks, and partly because Miami's defense bottled up everything the Celtics tried. Rondo was on the bench with three fouls for the final 11 minutes of the half, and the Celtics missed 20 of their first 26 shots from the field.

    "Ultimately, what we're trying to do is beat the Boston Celtics in basketball, the game of basketball, four times," Spoelstra said. "We have one of them right now."

    Jones drew Rondo's third foul on a play where he ended up sprawled out under the Boston basket, grabbing his lower back and writhing in pain. Jones inflicted hurt the rest of the quarter, shooting 4-for-5 from 3-point range in the second period alone.

    "JJ probably had the best game of anybody," James said.

    Jones took down Pierce and Allen in the 3-point shootout at All-Star weekend -- and some of that same form returned Sunday.

    "Someone had to step up," Jones said. "I got some good looks. All of our playmakers got me good looks and I was able to knock them down with confidence because these guys trust me in the big moments."

    Game notes

    Including the April 10 victory, Miami has now won consecutive meetings with Boston for the first time since early 2007. ... Boston was without Shaquille O'Neal (calf) and Miami remained without Udonis Haslem (foot), both still out with injuries, though it seems both could be returning at some point in this series -- maybe even Tuesday. ... Plenty of celebrities showed up, including Diddy, Gloria Estefan and rappers Drake and Rick Ross. ... Rivers, on former Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau winning the NBA's coach of the year award: "He came in and did his job."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 90 99
    FGM-FGA 32-75 (.427) 32-68 (.471)
    3PM-3PA 12-24 (.500) 9-19 (.474)
    FTM-FTA 14-18 (.778) 26-32 (.813)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-39 5-39
    Assists 18 17
    Turnovers 14 18
    Steals 7 7
    Blocks 3 8
    Fast Break Points 15 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (5/1) 21 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 2 19

    Top Performers

    Ray Allen Allen
    Points: 25
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Dwyane Wade Wade
    Points: 38
    Reb: 1
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 2

    Research Notes

    The Heat provided the kind of solid interior presence they lacked earlier in the season vs. the Celtics by holding their normally imposing bigs to 13-32 shooting in the paint and blocking seven of those field-goal attempts on Sunday.
    After picking up three early fouls, Rajon Rondo only played eight minutes in the first half, did not record an assist and the Celtics trailed by 15 at halftime. If Boston wants to keep advancing, it will need its All-Star guard to step up, as the Celtics were +7 when Rondo was on the court.
    NEXT LEVEL: All seven of James Jones' field goal attempts on Sunday were without taking a dribble. Overall in the playoffs, 32 of Jones' 36 field goal attempts have been catch-and-shoot plays, including transition.
    NEXT LEVEL: Wade had twice as many isolation plays in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals than he averaged in the first round. He was especially affective against Ray Allen. Wade was 3-3 with 8 points in isolation plays against Allen.
    NEXT LEVEL: Dwyane Wade made 6-of-11 field goals from 15+ feet in Game 1 against the Celtics. His six field goals from that range were two more than he made in his previous four games against Boston. During the regular season, Wade had the lowest field goal percentage of the 69 players who attempted at least 15 field goals from at least 15 feet against the Celtics.
    NEXT LEVEL: During the regular season, Dwyane Wade struggled to score against the Celtics in half-court offense, averaging only 10.5 points per game. Wade came out aggressive in Game 1 and scored 13 points in the first quarter in the half-court, already exceeding his regular season average versus the Celtics.
    Dwyane Wade's 23 points in the first half were one point shy of his career high for points in the first half of a playoff game. He had 24 in the first half of Game 6 of the 2006 NBA Finals against the Mavericks. Wade finished that game with 36 points in the win.

    ESPN Stats & Information