Heat Top Celtics 109-101 As ‘Big Three’ Return

LeBron James led the Heat with 20 points.

The Miami Heat’s “Big Three” in Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade have not played together since March 29th, but they returned to action Friday night as the Heat rolled past the Boston Celtics 109-101. LeBron James led the way with 20 points, nine rebounds, and six assists.

James went 8-for-10 from the floor as the Heat went on to win their 35th home game of the season. Bosh finished with 17 points and seven rebounds in his return while Wade added 11 points and seven rebounds.

The Celtics jumped out to a 10-point lead after the first quarter, but the Heat went on a tear in the second and jumped out to an 8-point lead at the half. The Heat’s 41-point second quarter was their highest scoring effort in a quarter this year.

The Celtics got within five points of the Heat in the third quarter, but the Heat’s bench stepped up and brought the lead to 12 points before the final frame. Rashard Lewis had a big night and finished with 19 points off the bench as the Heat have now won five straight.

Ray Allen and Norris Cole were also effective off the bench and combined to shoot six-for-seven from behind the arc. The Heat broke a franchise record with their 62nd win of the season against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday and now have three games left before the playoffs.

The Heat’s “Big Three” will more than likely play Sunday against the Chicago Bulls before resting over the final two games in preparation for the playoffs. The Celtics have now lost two straight but have clinched the seventh playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics beat out the Milwaukee Bucks for the seventh spot, as the Bucks will now face the Heat in the first round. Miami has already clinched home-court advantage throughout the entirety of the playoffs and are expected to defend their NBA title.

With home-court advantage, the Heat will surely be tough to beat as they are second in the NBA this season with a 35-4 record at home. The Denver Nuggets are the only team with a better home record at 36-3.

The Heat look for revenge against the Bulls Sunday, as Chicago ended Miami’s historical 27-game winning streak in March. Miami’s focus will soon change to the Milwaukee Bucks for their first-round match-up.

The Heat finish the regular season this coming Wednesday against the Orlando Magic in their last tune-up before the playoffs. Can the Miami Heat ease their way through the final week and cruise past the Bucks in the first round?

[Image via Steve Jurvetson]