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Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Wade leads Heat to Game 1 victory as tempers flare
MIAMI — Dwyane Wade knew his regular-season numbers against Boston were lacking.
He also knew that wouldn't matter in the playoffs.
And Game 1 — which seemed more like Round 1 — of what's already an emotionally charged series went to Wade and the Miami Heat.
Wade scored 38 points on 14 of 21 shooting, James Jones set a Miami postseason record with 25 points off the bench, and the Heat beat the Celtics 99-90 on Sunday to open their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
"We're going to have to fight for every inch, every game we get," Wade said. "Right now, we won Game 1. We're supposed to. We'll go back and focus on winning Game 2. We're at home, we have home-court advantage. They're just trying to come in and steal one like they've done in the past. So it's our job to come out with the same mentality in the next one."
LeBron James finished with 22 points, six rebounds and five assists for Miami, which led by as many as 19 before a fiery finish that saw plenty of players jawing at each other — more than that in some cases. Paul Pierce was ejected with 7 minutes left, after picking up two technicals in skirmishes with Wade and Jones within a span of 59 seconds.
Ray Allen scored 25 points for Boston, which lost for the first time in five games this postseason. Pierce scored 19 and Delonte West finished with 10 for the Celtics, while Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett were held to a combined 14 points on 6-for-19 shooting from the floor.
"There's so many things we need to do to get better," Allen said. "I think everybody in that locker room knows that, just from a small conversation we just had."
Given how Boston ousted Miami last season, and ended James' playoff runs with Cleveland in 2008 and 2010, these teams have history — and more than a bit of dislike, and that was apparent. It was physical throughout, with West earning a technical and Jermaine O'Neal picking up a flagrant foul along the way, before things really got hot in the fourth.
Pierce took offense with a hard foul by Jones, each getting double-technicals there, and Pierce and Wade — who have a bit of history themselves — renewed acquaintances not long after that.
Referee Ed Malloy called both for double-technicals, and Pierce was screaming as he departed. Boston coach Doc Rivers said he thought Jones and Wade went at Pierce too aggressively on the two plays that ended his forward's night.
"I thought both were flagrant fouls, personally, and I don't think we should react to either one," Rivers said.
Wade acted like he didn't hear what Pierce said to him on the play with 7 minutes left, dismissing it as "gibberish." Crew chief Dan Crawford said Pierce's second technical was merited because he directed profanity at Wade.
After he departed, the Celtics tried to rally. Allen made a 3-pointer to get within 90-82, but Chris Bosh and Wade had Miami's next two baskets, restoring a double-digit lead that wasn't again seriously threatened.
"Every game is going to go like this," Wade said. "We look forward to the challenge."
Grizzlies maul Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY — Zach Randolph and the Memphis Grizzlies powered their way to another playoff upset — not that he considers it one.
Randolph had a playoff career-high 34 points and 10 rebounds, Marc Gasol added 20 points and 13 boards, and the Grizzlies outmatched the Oklahoma City Thunder inside for a 114-101 victory in the opening game of the Western Conference semifinals on Sunday.
"We believe," Randolph said. "We definitely believe. Our confidence is up high. I tell the guys we can compete and play with anybody."
Just as they did in a first-round upset of top-seeded San Antonio, Randolph and Gasol provided enough punch to give eighth-seeded Memphis a road victory in Game 1.
Randolph and Gasol each scored 20 points in the same regular-season game only once this season, but did it in Game 1 against the Spurs and again to negate the Thunder's home-court advantage right from the start.
"I think we always try to do that. The thing is that it's not always possible," Gasol said. "We always try to come out and execute and play the right way. It's not always possible. Teams are going to adjust, and they're going to do something different.
"We've got to keep being hungry, keep being unselfish offensively and defensively and keep playing the right way."