Rajon Rondo did something no other player has ever done in an NBA playoff game on Wednesday. The Heat still won.
Rondo had 44 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists. A few players have have gone for the 40-8-10 combination in a playoff game but 44 points is an all-time NBA postseason high for that statistical combination.
The Heat still won.
Like I wrote in the game story for the paper and the website, Wednesday's 115-111 victory for the Heat was demoralizing for the Celtics. Sure, the Heat is only up 2-0 heading to Boston, but the way Miami first rallied in third quarter, and then overcome a potentially disastrous finish in the fourth quarter, left you feeling like Miami absorbed the Celtics best punch.
Oh, and then there's this: Wednesday marked the 10th time the Heat has taken a 2-0 series lead and Miami has never lost a series after leading 2-0.
IT WAS OVER WHEN...
Dwyane Wade converted his three-point play with 59 seconds left in overtime. It put the Heat up by five points and Wade and James combined to make 5 of 6 from the free-throw line to hold off Boston. In other words, Wade more than made up for missing that steal near the end of regulation. You know, the one that led to Ray Allen's three-pointer. The game was tied 99-99 entering overtime.
Rondo gave a performance for the ages but the Heat also walked away with a bit of history. The Heat rallied from a 15-point deficit, a franchise record for come-from-behind victories in the playoffs.
Miami outscored Boston 35-22 in the third quarter. The Heat has outscored opponents by double digits in each of its last five third quarters. Wade led the Heat with 12 points in the period and LeBron James had 11 points. Udonis Haslem contributed seven points and six rebounds.
Wade started the game slowly, going 1 of 6 for two points in the first half. He finished the game with 23 points. After the game, Wade said the Celtics did a good job of limiting his driving lanes in the first half but he remained patient. In the third quarter, Wade got the rim for three important baskets. As a team, the Heat was 8 of 9 in the paint in the third quarter. Miami outscored the Celtics 40-30 in points in the paint and the Heat outscored the Celtics 18-8 on second-chance points.
Wednesday was Wade's 100th career postseason game, a franchise record. Haslem is second with 90.
Wade has scored at least 20 points in all 12 of his postseason games against the Celtics. He is the first player to score at least 20 points in 12 consecutive postseason games against the Celtics since Jerry West did it 18 consecutive times from 1966-69 (all NBA Finals). In his 12 postseason game against the Celtics, Wade has averaged 30.2 points per game while shooting 54.9 percent.
BRIDGE TO SOMEWHERE
The Great Alaskan scored 22 points for the Heat, including 14 points in the first half. Mario Chalmers' effort in the first half, which included three three-pointers, kept the Heat in the game. Chalmers also had six assists, four rebounds and two steals. His steal to set up Wade's three-point play in overtime was the defensive stop of the game.
Chalmers' 12 points in the second quarter was his highest scoring quarter this postseason and his 14 points in the first half was also a postseason high. He has scored at least 20 points twice this postseason, equaling his career numbers for 20-point postseason games entering the playoffs.
Haslem's big third quarter was a precursor to his contributions in the fourth quarter and overtime. His 18-footer from the baseline gave the Heat a 98-94 lead with 1:08 left in regulation. In overtime, Haslem's 13-footer from the baseline tied the game at 103-103. His cutting run to the basket followed by a dunk gave the Heat a 107-105 lead with 1:28 to play. Haslem initiated the play with a defensive rebound on the other end after a missed layup by Rondo.
Haslem's 13 points and 11 rebounds was his 15th postseason double-double and his first double-double in the postseason since May 3, 2009 against Atlanta.
THE HARD WAY
LeBron led the Heat with 34 points despite going 7 of 20 from the field. He augmented his struggles from the field by going 18 of 24 from the free-throw line (both tied postseason highs for LeBron). As a team, the Celtics attempted just five more free throws than LeBron.
The Heat was 31 of 47 from the free-throw line. The Celtics were 26 of 29.
LeBron had 21 points after halftime and his 30-point was his seventh this postseason, tying Kobe Bryant. James has scored 66 points in two games against the Celtics and he has scored at least 30 points in four of his last five games. Additionally, LeBron's two 30-point performances against the Celtics are the only two 30-point games Boston has allowed this postseason.
LeBron has five 30-point, 10-rebound games this postseason, giving him six in the playoffs with the Heat. That's a franchise record. Wade has five and Alonzo Mourning and Shaq did it twice.
PLAY OF THE GAME
For me, the sequence of passes between Wade and James leading to Haslem dunk in overtime was the play of the game. Simply amazing.
Once again did not attempt a three-pointer.