The Celtics got an historic performance from their point guard, but it wasn't enough to defeat the Heat in overtime Wednesday night. The scene shifts to Boston Friday night.
Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo turned in one of the greatest playoff performances in NBA history, but it wasn’t enough as the Miami Heat won, 115-111, in overtime last night at Miami’s American Airlines Arena. The Heat are now up two games to one in their Eastern Conference Finals series, which moves to Boston for Game 3 on Friday.
Rondo, playing all 53 minutes, had 44 points, ten assists and eight rebounds – an NBA first. However, the Heat countered with 34 points and 10 rebounds from LeBron James and 23 points from Dwyane Wade (including seven in overtime) to close out the game in the extra session.
Also instrumental was the second-half play of Miami’s Udonis Haslem, who achieved his first double-double since 2009 (13 points and 10 rebounds). His dunk in overtime was the exclamation point to the Heat’s comeback. The fifteen point deficit Miami overcame in their playoff victory was the largest in the team’s history.
Rondo scored all of the Celtics’ overtime points. The extra-frame largely resembled a game of ping-pong, with Rondo scoring, the Heat answering, and Rondo repeating. The first Rondo miss of overtime was critical – he was hit along side the head by Wade under the basket in an apparent foul – and the Celtics never regained momentum after that.
The Celtics, whose “big three” of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen contributed a combined 52 points, held a seven point lead at halftime. In fact, Rondo sparkled in the first two periods, scoring 36 of Boston’s 53 points.