NBA Playoffs: Heat 99, Celtics 90
MIAMI ó Dwyane Wade knew his regular-season numbers against Boston were lacking.
He also knew that wouldnít matter in the playoffs.
And Game 1 ó which seemed more like Round 1 ó of whatís 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.
ěItís a big game. Itís Game 1, at home,î Wade said. ěYouíve got to take care of home court. These guys expect this from me. I wasnít giving it to them in the regular season versus them and I wanted to come out today and be a leader.î
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 ó 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.
Game 2 is Tuesday in Miami.
It was physical throughout, with West earning a technical and Jermaine OíNeal 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 ó who have a bit of history ó 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 forwardís night.
ěI thought both were flagrant fouls, personally, and I donít think we should react to either one,î Rivers said.
The Celtics tried to rally. Allen made a 3-pointer to get within 90-82, but Chris Bosh and Wade had Miamiís next two baskets, restoring a double-digit lead that wasnít again threatened.
ěEvery game is going to go like this,î Wade said. ěWe look forward to the challenge.î
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 wasnít working then, well, it was fixed for Game 1.