77 - 100 Final
  for this game

Heat dominate Celtics, hold East's No. 2 seed

Apr 11, 2011 - 12:23 AM Miami, FL (Sports Network) - The Miami Heat may be peaking at just the right time. Just ask the Boston Celtics.

Both teams came into Sunday's anticipated bout with identical 55-24 records, but the meeting was an unexpected rout as Miami rolled to a 100-77 victory to gain sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference standings.

LeBron James led the way with 27 points and seven assists while Dwyane Wade had 14 and eight for the Heat, who have won 13 of their last 16 games.

"It was a playoff atmosphere type of game. It had that feel," Wade said. "For one game we got over the hump. We were able to do some of the things we wanted to do."

Paul Pierce posted 24 points and Kevin Garnett had 21 for Boston.

"The frustration is high right now on our team, and it's more on the defensive end and it leads to the offense," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, whose team has 10 losses in its last 19 games.

The Celtics had taken eight in a row from the Heat, including three this year against their revamped roster.

The defending Eastern Conference champions continued their mastery early on, going up 11-2 on a Ray Allen three-pointer less than three minutes into the game.

But Miami had an answer this time, holding the Celtics scoreless for the final 4:27 of the first quarter to cut the deficit to 22-21 by the end of the first.

Chris Bosh's bucket on the first possession of the second quarter gave the Heat their first lead, and they never trailed again.

James put in a layup with under five minutes left in the half for a 39-32 advantage, then drove the lane on the next possession and was interrupted by Jermaine O'Neal's shoulder. The two went face-to-face and cooler heads prevailed after a brief skirmish.

The hard foul did not fluster Miami, which went into the locker room holding a 47-40 cushion and never backed down in the second half.

Two James free throws with 5:18 showing in the third yielded a 64-50 lead, but a three-pointer from Pierce and Rajon Rondo mid-range jumper gave Boston life.

James then missed a three-pointer, and Rondo found Allen near the basket with a lengthy bounce pass. The momentum was quickly halted when Wade, trailing the play, blocked Allen's layup at the rim.

Bosh converted a three-point play the other way, and the Heat cruised into the final frame ahead by a healthy 74-59 lead.

Nenad Krstic scored on the first touch of the fourth quarter, only to have Miami net the next nine points, as two James Jones free throws yielded an 83-61 margin.

Boston had one final surge left, reeling off 12 straight points to make it an 85-75 game following Pierce's three-point play with 5:07 remaining.

That was as close as it got. Mike Bibby countered the rally with critical three-pointer from the right corner, Allen missed one from long range and Bosh cleaned up a James miss for a 15-point lead Miami didn't relinquish in its home finale.

"About halfway through the first quarter it looked like the same old song ... [but] we were able to collect ourselves," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It was one of our better defensive efforts, particularly from the second quarter on."

Game Notes

The Heat close out the regular season on the road against Atlanta and Toronto, while Boston has games at Washington and home vs. the Knicks remaining...Bosh ended with 13 points and eight rebounds for Miami, which held a commanding 42-26 rebounding advantage and outscored the Celtics in the paint, 44-26...Allen scored 13 points for Boston...Miami finished 30-11 at home this season.