In the end, Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo said the most poignant, significant words: “We lost,” Rondo said. “Simple as that.”
Simple, yes. And no.
The Boston Celtics had their chances as Rondo put on a remarkable scoring display, especially for a point known for being the ultimate ball distributor. But his career-high 44 points were noteworthy and memorable, but the Miami Heat somehow overcome that barrage to win 115-111 in overtime.
The series shifts to Boston with Miami holding a 2-0 best-of-seven series lead. The Celtics have to be wondering if they let one get away – or if they at least let one of the playoffs’ most remarkable performances get away from them. Rondo, playing the entire 53 minutes, was the first player to ever score as much as he did and add 10 assists and eight rebounds.
“He showed why he’s one of the best point guards in this league,” Miami’s Mario Chalmers (22 points) said.
And yet, the Celtics still lost.
How? Because the Heat did not succumb to being down by 15 points. LeBron James scored 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Dwyane Wade added eight of his 23 points in OT, and the Heat rallied to pull off the biggest comeback in franchise postseason history.
“One of the best games I’ve played in, win or lose,” said Heat forward Shane Battier, who made an important three-pointer at the end of regulation to tie the game. “It’s easier said when you win — but it’s unbelievable.”
Rondo scored all 12 of Boston’s points in overtime. Paul Pierce had 21, Kevin Garnett 18 and Ray Allen 13. The Celtics were right there to even the series. But didn’t.
“Listen, we played terrific,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “I told them, we played extremely hard. I thought we played with great heart tonight, but I didn’t think we played smart all the time. And there’s things we can absolutely fix, and we’ll do that. We’ll be ready for Friday (for Game 3).”
One significant fact: the Heat took 47 free throws — 24 by James — to Boston’s 29.
“This group had resolve,” Wade said of the Celtics. “They came out and played a great game. It was physical early. They brought the game to us. That can’t happen. We used our crowd and the energy to get back into the game, and we had to play better.”