Miami, FL – LeBron James had 32 points and 13 rebounds on Monday and the Heat handled the Celtics, 93-79, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Dwyane Wade added 22 points and seven assists for Miami, which never trailed in the contest and led by as many as 17. Shane Battier scored 10 points, Mario Chalmers had nine and Mike Miller finished with eight.
"We didn't play our best game and we just want to continue to get better throughout the series," said James. "It's a good sign...but we understand we didn't have our best game tonight."
The Heat were again without forward Chris Bosh, who remains out with a strained abdominal muscle. They have won four straight games without their All-Star big man, including three in a row against the Pacers to clinch a second straight conference finals appearance.
Kevin Garnett had 23 points and 10 rebounds to pace Boston, which got past Philadelphia in seven games to advance. Rajon Rondo, the catalyst in the series-clinching win, finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists on Monday. Paul Pierce scored 12 points on just 5-of-18 shooting.
Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday in Miami.
The Celtics scored 35 points in the second quarter, which proved to be their most productive stretch of the game -- they scored 11 in the opening frame and 33 in the entire second half.
Additionally, they shot 59.1 percent in the second quarter, compared to 39.5 percent mark for the game, while getting eight points from both Pierce and Rondo. A pair of late 3s by Pierce tied the game, 46-46, at the break, but the Heat effectively pulled away with a dominant third quarter.
Specifically, it was James and Wade who took over. The former scored 10 points in the quarter while the latter had six and facilitated consistently, finding James with an outlet pass and later with a leaping assist in the paint, as Miami pushed its lead to double digits.
"I thought in the second quarter we executed offensively...I thought we started competing. Then in the third quarter the game just got away from us," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "I thought we rushed. I thought our offense was rushed."
It was 72-61 entering the fourth and Wade opened with a pair of free throws before slinging a one-handed lefty pass underneath to Joel Anthony, who finished with a dunk.
The Celtics trailed, 82-70, with around five minutes left when James drained a stepback, one-footed bank shot -- mimicking a bucket Wade had earlier in the frame -- and the Heat cruised down the stretch.
"I think we're doing a good job of playing off each other," said Wade. "Both being aggressive at the same time, also understanding when another guy has certain matchups that he can expose."
James is averaging 29.3 points per game in this postseason...Boston won the season-series, 3-1...The teams are meeting in the playoffs for the third straight season. Boston won in five games in 2010 in the first round and the Heat won in five last year in the semifinals..Celtics guard Avery Bradley is out for the remainder of the playoffs with chronic shoulder problems.