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The Miami Heat opened the Eastern Conference finals with a 93-79 win over the Boston Celtics. LeBron James had his third 30-point, 10-rebound performance in his past four games, scoring 32 points and adding 13 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks.
Dwyane Wade added 22 points and 7 assists, including a cross-court pass to James that looked better than anything that came out of the Dolphins' backfield in 2011 (see below). Shane Battier dropped 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Chris Bosh sat on the Heat sideline in salmon-colored pants and a blue blazer, but the Heat played as if they were not missing the third All-Star on its roster. Miami held Boston to 40 percent shooting and blocked 11 shots as a team, all while outrebounding the Celtics 48-32.
Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Rajon Rondo scored 16 with 9 points and 7 rebounds. It was Garnett's fifth 20-point, 10-rebound game in the playoffs. Normally sharp-shooting Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were abysmal, combining to shoot 6 of 25.
Miami took an early lead, holding the Celtics to just 11 points on 5 of 20 shooting in the first quarter. Fourteen of Miami's 21 first-quarter points came in the paint, setting an attacking tone early against Boston. James scored 20 of his points in the paint.
Boston heated up in the second quarter, scoring 35 points to tie the game. Miami initially led 48-46 at halftime, but a second-quarter Joel Anthony layup was determined to have left his hand after the shot clock expired, and the Heat were deducted two points.
Miami regained control in the third quarter, outscoring Boston 26-15 and leading by as much as 13 at one point. Boston's cold streak resumed, shooting 6 of 22 coming out of the half. Miami also outrebounded Boston 13-7 during the quarter. Through the first three quarters, Garnett shot 8 of 14, while the rest of the Celtics were just 16 of 50.
Miami held serve in the fourth quarter, and Boston could not close the gap to less than 12 points. Miami's one flaw during the game was poor 3-point shooting. The Heat went 5 of 25 from downtown.
Boston may have been fatigued, having played just two days after their seven-game semifinal series against Philadelphia ended. Miami had three days' rest after eliminating the Pacers on Thursday.
The series resumes in Miami at 8:30 Wednesday night.