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Monday, March 18, 2013

Jeff Green Scores A Career-High 43 Points For Boston But Miami Wins Its 23rd Straight Game

I think I speak for all basketball fans, nevermind Celtics honks, when I demand that the Celtics and Heat face each other in the Eastern Conference Finals (again) this spring. Tonight, we were treated to an instant classic regular season game (an oxymoron if I've ever heard one) as Miami (52-14, 22-11 away) survived a career-high 43 points by Jeff Green (7 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals) to beat Boston (36-30, 24-10 home) 105-103 at TD Garden.

This was the Heat's 23rd straight win and I doubt they had a harder one during this absurd streak. For the Celts, they exhibited their usual dose of incredible heart in the face of adversity. Kevin Garnett didn't play (thigh bruise) which made it seem like they had zero chance to win. Thanks to Green's once in a lifetime performance, Boston actually controlled much of the game but fell apart down the stretch.

Paul Pierce (17 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists) had a chance to give Boston the lead at the end with a 3-pointer out of a timeout but the shot hit the front rim and Miami controlled the rebound. Courtney Lee (13 points, 3 steals) was the only other Celtic in double-figures although Jason Terry (9 points) and Jordan Crawford (8 points) played very well off the bench.

LeBron James (37 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks) was brilliant, like you'd expect from the best player in the world, while Mario Chalmers scored a sneaky 21 points. Dwyane Wade (16 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals) was held in check which always seems to happen against the Celtics. Chris Bosh had 13 points and five rebounds while former Celtic Ray Allen (6 points, 5 rebounds in 30 minutes) was mostly silent.

Boston got off to a perfect start given the circumstances, they led 31-19 after one quarter. Miami chipped into that lead, trailing by only six at halftime (59-53). The C's were still up heading into the fourth quarter (82-78) but their shots stopped falling in crunch time.

The Celtics shot almost 5.0% (54.2-49.4) than the Heat, hit three more 3-pointers (10-7) and scored 16 more points on the fast break (22-6). Miami hung on because they grabbed six more rebounds (39-33), they had 16 more points in the paint (50-34) and five less team turnovers (21-16).

These bitter rivals opened up the 2012-13 NBA season and this gave Miami a 2-1 advantage in the season series. They meet once more (Friday, April 12) in Miami during the regular season. Another playoff series would be incredible after last season's Eastern Conference Finals went seven games.

The C's hit the road for three games: at New Orleans on Wednesday (8 p.m., CSN), at Dallas on Friday (8:30 p.m., CSN) and at Memphis on Saturday (8 p.m., CSN). The Hornets (22-46, 5th in Southwest Division) are awful but they won 90-78 in Boston on January 16. Austin Rivers is out for the rest of the season with a broken hand so there won't be that natural distraction for Doc. Look for the C's to bounce back from that loss, one of the worst of their season.

UPDATE 3/19: D.J. White has been signed for the rest of the season.

UPDATE 3/20: Apparently White's deal is multi-year whatever that means.

UPDATE 3/21: haha Shavlik Randolph was also signed for the rest of the season.

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