The Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics 99-90 in Game 1 of their National Basketball Association playoff series behind 38 points from Dwyane Wade, who was held to 51 points in four regular-season meetings against the reigning Eastern Conference champions.
LeBron James added 22 points and James Jones scored 25 points off the bench for Miami, which had lost 22 of its previous 25 games against Boston over the past five seasons.
Wade hit 14 of 21 shots at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami yesterday after making a combined 16 of 57 shot attempts against the Celtics during the regular season, when he averaged 12.8 points as Miami lost three of four games.
“This is what these guys expected from me,” Wade said in a televised interview. “I wasn’t giving it to them in the regular season against them and I just wanted to come out and be a leader.”
The Memphis Grizzlies kicked off their second-round NBA series with a 114-101 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers host the Dallas Mavericks tonight at the Staples Center in Game 1 of their Western Conference series.
The Chicago Bulls, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, also open their best-of-seven second-round series against the Atlanta Hawks at home tonight.
In Miami, the Heat opened a 15-point halftime lead and remained in control throughout the second half, when Boston’s Paul Pierce was ejected with seven minutes left for a second technical foul.
It was the first loss of the postseason for the defending Eastern Conference champion Celtics, who had swept the New York Knicks in the opening round.
Miami, which improved to 4-0 at home this postseason, will host Game 2 tomorrow.
The Heat used a 13-2 scoring run spanning the first and second quarters to build a 29-16 advantage. Jones, who averaged 5.9 points in the regular season, hit two 3-pointers during the surge and finished with five overall.
Miami pushed its lead to 18 points during the third quarter and never let Boston get closer than seven points over the final 12 minutes.
Pierce, the Celtics’ leading scorer, was called for a technical foul after he was fouled and exchanged words with Jones with 7:58 left. Less than a minute later, he was thrown out of the game after setting a pick on Wade and then saying something to him in front of the official.
“Paul had some words for me and the ref thought it was a little too much,” Wade said.
Pierce finished with 19 points on 6 of 14 shooting, while Ray Allen led the Celtics with 25 points.
Miami was eliminated by Boston in five games during the opening round of last year’s playoffs and during the offseason added James and fellow All-Star Chris Bosh, who had seven points and 12 rebounds yesterday.
James has never won a playoff series against the 17-time NBA champion Celtics, having played on Cleveland Cavaliers teams that were ousted by Boston in 2008 and 2010.
At the Oklahoma City Arena, the Grizzlies built a 16-point second quarter lead in sending the Thunder to their first home defeat of the playoffs.
Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 34 points and 10 rebounds, two days after recording 31 points and 11 rebounds as Memphis closed out a first-round upset of the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs. The Grizzlies became the second eighth-seeded team to defeat a No. 1 seed in a best-of-seven playoff series, joining the Golden State Warriors in 2007.
“You can’t stop him,” Kevin Durant, who led the Thunder with 33 points and 11 rebounds, said of Randolph. “We’ve got to make him shoot tough shots but even when he missed he’d be there to get his own rebound and the tip-in. He’s an animal.”
Marc Gasol added 20 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis, while Russell Westbrook scored 29 points for Oklahoma City.
The teams return to the same venue for Game 2 tomorrow before heading to Memphis for two games.