Sunday, 8 May 2011

Garnett, Rondo spark Celtics over Heat - Agence France-Presse

Posted by chardyboy on Sunday, May 08, 2011 0 comments

source: Agence France-Presse


BOSTON - Kevin Garnett scored 28 points and Rajon Rondo played the fourth quarter after suffering a dislocated left elbow as the Boston Celtics beat Miami 97-81 on Saturday in the NBA playoffs.

The Heat still lead the Eastern Conference best-of-seven second round series over the defending East champions two games to one with game four on Monday in Boston and game five in Miami on Wednesday.

"We understand now how tough it is to take down a champion," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We feel our best game is good enough but we did not play our best game.

"They simply outplayed us."




Garnett went 13-of-20 from the field and grabbed 18 rebounds in a dominating performance, especially in the third quarter when he scored 14 points and the Celtics pulled away for good, outscoring the Heat 28-15 in the period.

"I thought we were pretty inspired coming out after half-time," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

But it was Rondo's emotional return from an injury in the final minutes that sparked Boston players and fans.

"He showed he's a really tough young individual," Garnett said. "I don't know what he's going to be like when he's 35, but right now he's playing pretty well."

Rondo scored six points and made 11 assists after suffering the injury when he fell in a tangle with Miami's Dwyane Wade.

"Thank God it popped in when I was on the floor," Rondo said. "It was no big deal. It was a little stiff but I was able to get with my game defensively. It was an experience I have never felt before."

The Heat learned that all too well 3:30 into the fourth quarter when Rondo made a steal with his left hand and scored a fast break layup.

"I didn't have to do much scoring - just directing," Rondo said. "That's using your mouth, using my legs."

Rivers said that as happy as he was to see Rondo back in the lineup, he was happiest to see how the rest of the team kept its composure when Rondo was absent.

"It was awesome to see him back out on the floor but at the end of the day it was great to see our team play (poised without him)," Rivers said. "I was most proud of that."

Rondo, who was 11 points off his playoff scoring average but right on his assist average, has no plans to miss Monday's pivotal game, where the Celtics could pull even in the series or lose and be on the brink of elimination.

"I should be ready to go in a couple days," Rondo said. "I'll be limited but not defensively. I will be able to rebound the ball and get it to our big guys. I feel pain but I will be OK."

Paul Pierce added 27 points for Boston while Ray Allen contributed 15 for the Celtics, who welcomed back Shaquille O'Neal from injury. Shaq had played only 5:30 in the past three months due to right calf and tendon injuries.

"I thought Shaq gave us a big lift in the second half," Rivers said of his two-point, no-rebound night.

Wade, who went 8-for-19 from the field, led Miami with 23 points while Mario Chalmers added 17 points and LeBron James scored 15 on 6-of-16 shooting. Chris Bosh managed only six points on 1-of-6 shooting.

"In the second half they just kept on coming and got us out of our rhythm," Spoelstra said. "We were not sharp offensively in the second half.

"We have to gather ourselves fully. It will be one of the toughest things we have to do collectively. We have to strengthen our bond together and come back with a better performance."

 

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