The Celtics almost pulled off an amazing comeback against the Heat on Tuesday night in Miami, rallying from a 16-point third-quarter deficit behind a small lineup and an effective zone defense. A Keyon Dooling 3-pointer sliced Miami's lead to three points with just over two minutes remaining, but the Heat answered after a crucial Boston turnover in a 115-107 victory.
Without Paul Pierce (bone bruise, right heel), the Celtics didn't have an effective defensive counter for LeBron James. They also didn't learn their lessons from last year's playoff series as 15 first-half turnovers led to 23 Miami points. Their defense was absolutely shredded as Miami shot 56 percent and put on a clinic in the open court. James scored 26 points and Dwyane Wade added 24 and the Celtics had no answers for either of them.
Coach Doc Rivers hit upon an effective strategy midway through the third quarter when he went zone. That allowed the Celtics to get back in the game, but they couldn't finish the comeback. Ray Allen scored 28 points and Rajon Rondo added 22. Dooling chipped in with 18 off the bench.
There's no rest for the Celtics with their first back-to-back on tap Wednesday in New Orleans. The last time they started a season 0-3 was 2006-07, the year before Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen arrived.
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