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2012 NBA Playoffs, Heat Vs. Celtics: Boston Dictates Pace, But Miami Executes When It Counts

The Miami Heat took a 2-0 lead over the Boston Celtics in the 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Finals with a 115-111 overtime victory at home on Wednesday night. The Celtics jumped out to an early lead, pushing the Heat's deficit as far as 14 points in the first half, and taking a seven-point lead over the hosts into halftime.

It was a deserved victory for the Heat, writes Surya Fernandez at Peninsula Is Mightier, but still somewhat concerning that Boston controlled the pace for much of the game:

While the victory was well deserved and made their plays when it counted the most in overtime, the Heat allowed the visiting team to dictate the pace of the game from the outset to fall behind from a deficit that at one time was 14 points and could not turn it around until the second half. Even still, once the Heat finally was able to take the lead and appeared ready to blow the game wide open with a dominant third quarter as they had done in their current winning streak dating back to the Pacers series, the Celtics simply would not go away and clawed right back into the game to retake the lead. The final moments of regulation were some of the most intense sequences that the Heat have faced this postseason and the team will be better off in the end for getting tested so heavily by the Celtics.

Jeff Clark at CelticsBlog says that Boston's best just wasn't good enough:

It wasn't just Rondo either. Pierce, Allen, and Garnett all played about as well as you'd expect (with their point totals at about their average - which is impressive considering the amount of shots Rondo took). As a team they played their hearts out. It seemed like they took the best shots from the Heat and kept on coming back. They simply could not beat LeBron and Wade and the parade to the free throw line.

Stick with this StoryStream here at SB Nation Tampa Bay for news and updates throughout the Eastern Conference Finals. For more analysis and discussion on the Heat, visit Peninsula Is Mightier. Visit CelticsBlog and SB Nation Boston for the opponent's perspective during the series. For all your Conference Finals analysis, visit SB Nation's NBA hub.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.