BOSTON (AP) — Even without Kevin Garnett, the Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat.
With the good-humored but hard-playing Glen Davis filling in while the Celtics' emotional leader served a one-game suspension, Boston rolled to a 106-77 victory Tuesday night, April 20 that Miami coach Erik Spoelstra called “embarrassing.”
It gave the Celtics a 2-0 lead in their playoff series and Davis a chance to reprise the nickname he hung on himself last year when he replaced the injured Garnett — known as the “Big Ticket” — in all 14 playoff games.
“The ‘Ticket Stub’ came,” Davis said. “Whenever they need the ‘Ticket Stub,’ he'll be there.”
Davis had 23 points and eight rebounds, and Ray Allen heated up in the third quarter and scored 25 points. Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 29.
Game 3 is Friday night, April 23 in Miami.
With Garnett serving a suspension for elbowing Quentin Richardson in Game 1, Davis started on Tuesday, and went aggressively to the basket to grab missed shots and draw fouls.
“That's a case of one man impacting the game simply with his effort. I don't think they ran one play for him,” Spoelstra said. “You cannot let a man's effort exceed yours. It's as simple as that.”
The Heat took a 29-25 lead on a dunk by Jermaine O'Neal. But the Celtics used a 44-8 surge over the next 16 1/2 minutes to go ahead 69-37 with 5:38 left in the third quarter, capped by one of Allen's five 3-pointers in the period.
“Once the ball started moving and we started getting multiple stops, we were off and running,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said.
The Celtics led by 25 to 33 points the rest of the way.
“Once we opened up Glen Davis (offensively), I thought they started to sink in a little bit more and it opened up Ray,” Paul Pierce said.
“This is an embarrassing loss,” Spoelstra said. “It is one loss. It is not four losses and what we can control right now is getting our minds right and taking care of the most important game on Friday.”
Tempers stayed under control throughout the game, just three days after a skirmish with 40 seconds left in Boston's 85-76 victory led to Garnett's suspension without pay and Richardson's $25,000 fine. Garnett was hovering over Pierce, who had fallen near the Miami bench after hurting his shoulder.
Garnett held off Richardson as he came up from behind. They then exchanged words before the elbow hit the Heat forward in the face.
Garnett wasn't allowed in TD Garden, but made a prerecorded appearance on the scoreboard above midcourt during a timeout after the Celtics scored 19 straight points to take a 44-29 lead with 2:56 left in the first half.
He encouraged the fans and when the scoreboard followed with a “Let's Get Loud” message, they raised their voices.
Richardson was booed almost every time he touched the ball.
“We didn't think that because Kevin was out it was going to be a walk in the park,” Miami's Udonis Haslem said.
In the opener, the Heat led 61-47 with 7:03 left in the third quarter. Then Boston outscored them 34-10 to go ahead 81-71 with 1:46 to go in the game.
The Celtics started their spurt a lot earlier Tuesday.
“The first game, I thought we gave it away,” Wade said. “This time they took it. I thought they wanted it more than us.”
Trailing by four after O'Neal's dunk with 10:10 left in the second quarter, Boston got started on a 3-pointer by Michael Finley. It took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Allen.
Then rarely used Shelden Williams, substituting for Davis, hit a field goal. Davis made two straight baskets, Allen connected on another 3-pointer, Pierce sank two free throws and Allen got a layup. Davis followed with two free throws, giving the Celtics 21 straight points.
Miami finally broke through on a 21-foot jumper by Michael Beasley. That made it 46-31 with 2:07 left in the half.
The Celtics have won the last three games they played against the Heat without Garnett. And Davis has proven to be a very capable replacement.
When Garnett missed last year's playoffs with a knee injury, Davis averaged 15.8 points and 5.6 rebounds before losing in the second round.
“When I stepped out there today and I saw the lineup, I was like, ‘This is the same lineup we had going into the playoffs last year that pushed Orlando to seven games with Glen out there,’” Pierce said. “We all know what he's capable of.”
Garnett had planned to watch the game at the home of team president Danny Ainge.
“I am the ‘Ticket Stub’ so I kind of know what (Garnett) wanted to happen tonight,” Davis said. “He told me before the game to make sure that I do what I had to do and be physical, be ferocious, and anything is possible.”