Heat Knock Celtics, Bulls Grab 60th Win
Heat’s Big Trio finished with 54 points, while Celtics‘ Three had 58. Even so, Miami grabbed a comprehensive victory last night, beating the former leaders 100-77 at the American Airlines to cement their second position in the East.
Erik Spoelstra’s side claimed the easiest victory against Boston who had been at one point the main favorites for the second spot, given their past performances, to become themselves the main contenders for the second place. As for the Bulls they are already nearing the first place. Chicago went 60-20 and have extended their winning streak to seven games last night against Magic.
Boston edged Heat in the first quarter 22-21 but that was also their only break at the Airlines. Miami powered through to an eight-point lead in the second term to start the second half with a 47-39 lead. Even more than that, the home side maintained the same pace even in the third quarter. Thus, the Heat won it 27-19, while the Celtics couldn’t but witness their ruining.
Nor the fourth quarter would look different for the visitors who were losing more pace as the game progressed. Boston lost the fourth quarter 18-26 to concede an embarrassing victory against the main rivals in the East. Although their Big Trio played better than Miami’s, that didn’t stop them from worsening their past ten-game record to 5-5.
LeBron James scored the most points instead, Heat’s starlet finishing the game with 27 points. He would also deliver seven assists, pick five rebounds and make four steals. Apart from Trio’s 54 points, nor Wade’s poor showing could affect the Heat too much. Dwyane had just 14 points in 37 minutes, converting four out of 12 FGMs attempts. Instead, he had eight assists, five rebounds, one steal and one tremendous block.
As for Chris Bosh, he left with 13 points, eight rebounds, one steal and one block. Finally, Zydrunas Ilgauskas added eight points and grabbed five rebounds – four of which offensive -, while Mike Bibby came up with six points, five assists and two steals. He would miss five of seven three-point throws and eight of ten FGMs.
Concerning their bench, Miami’s reserves scored 32 points. Mario Chalmers, whom Erik Spoelstra refused to introduce among the first five, brought nine points and delivered two passes in 20 minutes. Joel Anthony, who played 35 minutes, came off the bench to grab ten rebounds and add seven points. James Jones had five points, two rebounds and one block, Juwan Howard six points, one rebound and one rebound, while Mike Miller and Jamaal Magloire scored three and two points respectively in their under ten-minute showings.
Eddie House remained on the bench throughout the entire 48 minutes. Miami reached their 30 limit at home, improving their record at the Airlines to 30-11. On the other side, Boston conceded their 17th loss on the road, 25th of the season.
Paul Pierce scored the most points for the Green, 24, and had seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Star Kevin Garnett came up with 21 points, four rebounds, two steals and two assists, while their last cornerstone, Ray Allen, left with 13 points, three assists, two rebounds, one steal and one assist. As for Rajon Rondo, the point guard had seven points, five assists, two steals and one rebound. He would miss at the same time a three-point throw and five of eight FGM attempts.
Boston’s bench brought just 12 points. Glen Davis, Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic were the only ones to score among seven reserves. Davis had six points, while Green and Krstic added four and two points respectively. One of the poorest performances came from Delonte West who had three assists in 19 minutes. Finally, Sasha Pavlovic, Troy Murphy and Carlos Arroyo, who all played three minutes, left scoreless.
Said Garnett: “What else do you expect? It’s Boston-Miami. Supposedly it’s two of, if not the top two, teams in the East. You have to expect that. You have to expect that coming in here you’re not going to get the call. You had to expect their passion — a team you have beaten three times.”
Miami stay second within the Eastern Conference standings with 56 wins and 24 losses, while Boston are third with 55 wins and 25 defeats. Heat will next play Atlanta Hawks. Meanwhile, the Celtics will try for a break through against Washington Wizards whom they meet on Monday.
Orlando Magic 99 – 102 Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose’s 39 points could have been insufficient for the East leaders if his team-mates hadn’t do something more for the visitors. Bulls edged Orlando last night at the Amway Center to extend their winning streak to seven games, the biggest in the league at this moment.
Chicago’s great start brought them a reasonable eight-point lead at the end of the opener. But Orlando’s second quarter reply found the home side cutting the deficit to one point and start the second half more relaxed. Unfortunately, Magic’s pace broke in the third quarter as Bulls edged them 30-28 to break back and grab a three-point lead, a very precious one, given the tightness of the last quarter. So, fourth term went 22-22 as Chicago reached the 60th limit.
The Bulls remain leaders with a 60-20 season record, while Orland stay fourth within the same Eastern Conference with 50 wins and 30 defeats. Apart from his 39 points, Rose had three rebounds, five assists and one block. Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer were the only ones to score 9+ points for the Bulls. Deng left with 15 and the latter with 12.
On the other side, Ryan Anderson scored the most points for the Magic, 28, while Jason Richardson came up with 24 including four three-point conversions out of five attempts. Jameer Nelson had 17 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and three steals. Orlando will next play Philadelphia, while Chicago visit the Knicks on Tuesday.11