Miami at Boston

O'Neal's double-double ensures Heat victory over Celtics

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- The schedule didn't give the Miami Heat a chance to celebrate after clinching a playoff berth, so they took a little break against the draft lottery-bound Celtics.

Shaquille O'Neal had 22 points and 11 rebounds on Friday night as the Heat beat Boston 88-85 despite failing to score for more than seven minutes in the fourth quarter and blowing what had been a 14-point lead.

"We're very fortunate to dodge a bullet tonight," said Miami coach Pat Riley, whose defending NBA champions clinched a playoff spot on Thursday with an overtime victory in Cleveland. "Yeah, this is what you'd call sort of a trap game. ... We played a tough game last night. I was just hoping we could get out, do what we have to do, But sometimes these things happen."

The Heat led 64-50 midway through the third before Boston hit four straight 3-pointers. In the fourth, Miami took an 80-74 lead with 8:35 to play but went scoreless until Eddie Jones hit a 3-pointer with 1:27 left to make it 83-all.

James Posey converted a three-point play -- on an assist from O'Neal -- to put Miami ahead for good. Rajon Rondo made a scoop shot to cut the deficit to one, 86-85, but Udonis Haslem hit a jumper from the left side to push the lead back to three.

Both Gerald Green and Sebastian Telfair missed 3-point attempts in the final seconds.

"We were up three with 1:33 left and I thought we were going to win it," Celtics center Kendrick Perkins said. "But that's a championship team, so you have to expect them to dig out of situations like that."

Perkins and Leon Powe held O'Neal to just two points in the second half -- none in the fourth quarter.

"Well, that's a good thing," Perkins said. "But he had 20 in the first."

The Celtics took an 83-80 lead on Powe's steal and dunk with 2:16 left. After O'Neal missed a pair of free throws -- three, if you count the lane violation -- Powe missed two foul shots with a chance to extend the lead.

O'Neal went 2-for-9 from the line. Haslem scored 17 points and added nine rebounds, and Jason Williams had eight points with 13 assists for Miami.

Green scored 21, Rondo had 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Powe 10 points and 11 boards for his first career double-double.

Dwyane Wade, who has missed six weeks with a dislocated left shoulder, worked out before the game but did not play for Miami. He is trying to get back in shape for the playoffs, but the Celtics' injured have no such motivation.

Paul Pierce and Delonte West were in street clothes on the Boston bench, but neither Al Jefferson, Brian Scalabrine nor Wally Szczerbiak were with the team.

"When we were coming out for warmups it looked like we didn't have that much of a team," Powe said.

Miami opened a 12-2 lead, but Boston tied it with a 12-2 run of its own. The Celtics took a 36-33 lead with O'Neal out of the game, but when he returned he ran off 11 of the Heat's next 13 points -- and that was even with missing 3-of-4 from the line -- to help open a 52-45 lead at the half.

Miami held Boston scoreless for almost six minutes spanning the halftime break, scoring 13 straight to open a 59-45 lead with 8:15 left in the third. But the Celtics came back with 12 in a row on 3-pointers by Gomes, Allan Ray, Ray again and then Green on a spinaround assist from Sebastian Telfair that made it 64-62.

Notes

  • Williams had nine assists in the first.
  • Near the end of the first half, Celtics coach Doc Rivers reached onto the court and pushed Green into position.
  • The Celtics had won three straight at home.
  • Pierce (left elbow) missed his fourth straight game, Jefferson (right knee) missed his second straight and West missed his first with a sprained left ankle.
  • Comedian and "In Living Color" star Tommy Davidson was in attendance.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Shaquille O'Neal cools off after a hot first half, but his 22 points and 11 boards pace the Heat.  (AP)
Shaquille O'Neal cools off after a hot first half, but his 22 points and 11 boards pace the Heat. (AP)

Scoreboard
Miami (42-34) «2824181888
Boston (23-52) 2619251585
MIA:S. O'Neal 22 Pts
MIA:S. O'Neal 11 Reb
MIA:J. Williams 13 Ast
BOS:R. Gomes 24 Pts
BOS:L. Powe 11 Reb
BOS:R. Rondo 5 Ast
Players of the Game
BostonMiami

R. Gomes

S. O'Neal
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
245022113
Miami
U. Haslem, PF388-181-291317
E. Jones, SG342-70-05015
J. Williams, PG343-101-121318
S. O'Neal, C3310-192-9113322
J. Posey, SF315-81-170113
J. Kapono, SF233-82-24239
G. Payton, PG171-20-01412
A. Mourning, C151-12-22014
A. Walker, PF153-40-03118
M. Doleac, CDid Not Play
D. Wright, SFDid Not Play
D. Wade, PGDid Not Play
E. Barron, CDid Not Play
W. Simien, PFDid Not Play
C. Quinn, PGDid Not Play
Totals 36-779-1744241588
 46.8%52.9% 
Boston
A. Ray, SG414-132-343313
G. Green, SG4010-250-042421
R. Gomes, SF338-144-550424
R. Rondo, PG295-71-4105111
K. Perkins, C282-50-05254
L. Powe, PF324-92-4111210
S. Telfair, PG261-60-03532
K. Pinkney, F100-10-21120
K. Pinkney, FDid Not Play
T. Allen, SGDid Not Play
D. West, SGDid Not Play
A. Jefferson, PFDid Not Play
B. Scalabrine, PFDid Not Play
W. Szczerbiak, SFDid Not Play
P. Pierce, SGDid Not Play
M. Olowokandi, CDid Not Play
T. Ratliff, CDid Not Play
Totals 34-809-1843192485
 42.5%50.0% 
Other Games
Ind 112 Final
Char 102
Tor 94 Final
Phi 85
Mil 102 Final
Atl 115
Min 99 Final
NY 94
GS 116 Final
Mem 104
Pho 103 Final
NO 95
Cle 99 Final
Wash 94
NJ 74 Final
Chi 105
Port 85 Final
Hou 78
Utah 103 Final
Sac 107
Dal 71 Final
Den 75
LAL 112 Final
Sea 109