MIAMI — A big early Miami lead was wasted. Once the Heat took control again, they simply ran away from the Boston Celtics.
And the NBA Finals are now three wins away for LeBron James and the Heat.
James scored 32 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and the Heat beat the Celtics 93-79 on Monday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Shane Battier, playing in the conference finals for the first time, scored 10 points and had 10 rebounds for the Heat, who wasted an early 11-point lead before running away to break a halftime tie. Miami outrebounded the Celtics 48-33 and blocked 11 Boston shots.
Kevin Garnett scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Boston, which got 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists from Rajon Rondo and 12 points from Paul Pierce.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Miami.
It’s the third consecutive year the Heat and Celtics have met in the playoffs.
There is a slight chance things could get even better for the Heat.
Chris Bosh, who has been sidelined since straining a lower abdominal muscle in Game 1 of Miami’s second-round series against Indiana, did what the Heat called a “very light” on-court workout Sunday.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra categorized the session as part of the progression of Bosh’s rehab program and continued to say there’s no target date for his return.
“I wouldn’t over-read into his workout yesterday,” Spoelstra said Monday. “We’ll continue to re-evaluate him every day. He’ll continue to do his rehab. When he starts legitimate basketball work, I’ll pay attention a little bit more.”