[to top of second column]
Boston was again without forward Paul Pierce (bruised right heel), who worked out both Monday and Tuesday and is getting closer to a return. It won't come on Wednesday, however -- the Celtics have already ruled him out of that game in New Orleans, but there is some hope of Pierce being in the lineup when Boston makes its home debut against Detroit on Friday.
Maybe spurred by the new Eastern Conference championship banner hanging from the rafters, Miami came out flying.
A short bank shot by Wade made it 26-15 at barely the midpoint of the first quarter, setting the tone for an offensive bonanza the likes of which Boston typically doesn't allow. After a late flurry -- James setting up Wade for a lob, Wade missing at the rim but James trailing for a tip-in being perhaps the most impressive of Miami's highlight reel to close the second quarter -- the Heat took a 69-54 lead into the locker room.
That represented the most first-half points allowed by the Celtics since Feb. 8, 2005, according to STATS LLC.
Six straight points by James made it 85-65 midway through the third, and Miami was well on its way to a blowout. But then everything changed -- Boston went to a zone, and Miami's offense stopped in its tracks.
Feasting on Miami's second unit, with James being the only starter on the floor, the Celtics closed the third on an 18-6 run to make it 91-83 entering the fourth. The Heat missed their last eight shots of the quarter -- after having missed 14, total, in the first 32 minutes of the game.
Boston never got the lead down the stretch, though, thanks to Cole.
"We have confidence in whoever's on the floor at that time," James said. "For him to make those shots and come up big in a game like that, give credit to him."
NOTES: After two games, the Heat have 131 points in first halves this season. After three games last season, Miami had 130 first-half points. ... Celtics F Chris Wilcox didn't play in the second half because of a bruised left shoulder. X-rays were negative. ... The Heat said the luster of the matchup wasn't hurt by Pierce not being available. "We play the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back," Wade said. ... Celebrity sightings included Miami Dolphins RB Reggie Bush, rapper Rick Ross and retired tennis star Boris Becker.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Sports index
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor