MIAMI – Led by LeBron James’ 32 points, the Miami Heat enjoyed a convincing 93-79 win over the Boston Celtics on Monday to gain a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference championship series.
Apart from a second quarter where Boston came alive with 35 points and Miami lost their intensity, the Heat and James had too much for the 17-times NBA champions.
James outscored the Celtics by himself in the first quarter, making 13 points as Miami, seeking their second successive NBA finals appearance, established a 21-11 lead – the fewest points they had allowed in this season’s playoffs.
But Boston dominated the second, drawing level by halftime with Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo finally getting into the paint and Ray Allen doing a good job keeping Miami’s Dwyane Wade quiet.
Miami came out with determination after the break though, outscoring Boston 26-15 in the third quarter with James making 10 of those points to see the Heat to a 72-61 lead.
The Heat, solid in defense, were never in danger in the fourth quarter and were able to rest James and Dwyane Wade (22 points) in the latter stages.
» Christmas Day special: Return of Cavs’ LeBron to Miami highlights new 2014-2015 NBA schedule
» LeBron’s Cavs to face Heat in NBA preseason game in Brazil
» LeBron James to face former Heat teammates in Global Games exhibition in Brazil