Celtics

Celtics drop Game 1 to Heat, 93-79

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Celtics drop Game 1 to Heat, 93-79

MIAMI This is what the two-headed, fire breathing Miami Heat monster tandem of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James can do to you.

If you keep one from burning you, chances are pretty good you'll be torched by the other.

And once you get that one under control, the one that wasn't burning you before?

Now he has it going.

That was indeed the case for the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals as the Heat - with James leading the way, and Wade putting the game away - surged ahead in the fourth quarter for a 93-79 win.

Miami now leads the best-of-seven series 1-0, with Game 2 in Miami on Wednesday. Boston was led by Kevin Garnett, who had 23 points and 10 points.

Wade had a decent game when you look at his final numbers for the night: 22 points and seven assists.

But it was James' ability to light up the Celtics early on that put the C's in a predicament that they never could quite come from under fully.

The first quarter was all about Hurricane James, who stormed through the Celtics defense with reckless abandon, causing the kind of destruction few players inflict upon a Boston defense that has been among the NBA's best throughout the regular season and in the playoffs.

His 13 first-quarter points were actually more than the entire Celtics squad, which trailed 21-11 after the first quarter. He finished with a game-high 32 points and 13 rebounds.

Regardless of whether it was the right call or not, the role of the referees was far greater than it should have been.

Boston was whistled for four technicals - one against Ray Allen, another against head coach Doc Rivers, along with a defensive three-second and maybe the rarest of them all, a delay of game technical which comes after being whistled for two delay of game calls.

Those are the kind of close calls that for many teams, only bring about added frustration for the team that they're called on.

For the Celtics, such setbacks seem to only make them focus more on the task at hand.

As expected, Boston's play gradually improved following the calls.

After falling behind by as many as 11 points in the quarter, Boston closed out the half with a 13-3 run and trailed 48-46 until the officials once again made their presence felt.

They reviewed two plays that involved Miami Heat baskets.

The first was a lay-up at the end of the half by Udonis Haslem that they initially ruled came after the game clock expired.

That call was upheld.

They also reviewed a lay-up by Joel Anthony with 2:20 to play in the second quarter. The original call was that his basket counted. But upon further review, it was ruled that it too came after the shot clock expired which left the Celtics in a 46-all tie at the half.

Boston kept it close early in the third, and had a chance to take their first lead with the score tied at 50.

Ray Allen had a steal and started a fast-break, but decided to slow the ball up - not aware that Rondo was open in the paint with no one in between him and the rim.

Allen eventually passed the ball to Rondo, but it was too late, as a hustling Shane Battier got down court and blocked it from behind.

Moments later, Battier drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer which set into motion a 9-2 run for the Heat before Celtics coach Doc Rivers called a time-out with 6:25 to play in the third.

Miami's control for the rest of the game fluctuated, but it was never really threatened by a Celtics team that spent all but a few seconds playing from behind.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

CLEVELAND – Jayson Tatum has seen plenty of games featuring Cleveland’s LeBron James.

And in the Boston Celtics’ preparation for Tuesday night’s matchup, the 19-year-old rookie had seen plenty of James on film.

But facing him, up close and personal, was something entirely different.

“He’s way bigger than I thought,” Tatum said. “He’s way better than I imagined. That’s the reason why he is who he is.”

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James’ play was among the key factors in Cleveland handing Boston a 102-99 loss on Tuesday night.

But Tatum showed he too has some big-time potential by finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds which included some nifty drives to the basket as well as showing the ability to hold his own on the glass in terms of rebounding the basketball.

The last Celtics rookie to post a double-double on opening night?

That was Larry Bird back in 1980, helping the Celtics to a 114-106 win over the Houston Rockets.

What’s even crazier?

Bird had 14 points and 10 rebounds in that Rockets game, too.

Tatum’s solid performance didn’t seem in the making in the first half when Tatum had missed all five of his shot attempts while tallying just two points.

But as the Celtics mounted their comeback, Tatum’s play was a key to the team’s improved play.

“Just being more relaxed” was how Tatum described his improved play in the second half.

Tatum added, “first half, I think I was nervous and anxious. And then the game slowed down for me. That helped out a lot.”

And the Celtics will need even more from Tatum going forward after Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that will keep him sidelined indefinitely.

There was plenty of room for him to improve upon following Tuesday’s game.

But for the most part, head coach Brad Stevens liked what he saw from the rookie.

“Jayson was pretty good,” Stevens said. “He did a pretty good job for a first game. That’s pretty hard to do, to be thrown into this environment, first game and play that well.”

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