THE NITTY GRITTY
Wow. Jeff Green buried a game-winning 3-pointer from the corner over LeBron James as these young, scrappy Celtics won their third straight by taking down the two-time defending NBA champions on their home turf. Green scored a team-high 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting with five rebounds and two assists over 36 minutes. Gerald Wallace handed out a team-high seven assists off the bench, including a beautiful lob to find Green on a designed out-of-bounds play with 0.6 seconds remaining. Avery Bradley added 17 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter as Boston surged back from down seven with five minutes to play. James scored 11 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter and flirted with a triple-double (10 assists, 8 rebounds), but it wasn't enough for Miami.
The Celtics refused to go quietly. Miami pushed its lead as high as seven in the final frame after an old-fashioned three-point play by James. Bradley brought Boston back, hitting a 25-foot 3-pointer, then added a little running hook to make it 102-100 with 3:43 to play. The Celtics were still down two with 19 seconds to go with the ball when Olynyk missed a 16-foot bank shot while trying to lean in for a foul. Boston kept scrapping and two missed free throws by Dwyane Wade set up Boston's heroics.
OLYNYK'S FIRST START
Kelly Olynyk replaced fellow rookie Vitor Faverani in Boston's starting lineup and got off to a fast start. After stepping up to deter a Chris Bosh layup, Olynyk drilled his first NBA 3-pointer. He didn't have a great shooting night (3-of-9) but finished with seven points, eight rebounds and four assists over 22:45 and was on the floor for Boston's winner.
Brandon Bass picked up three fouls over the first 8½ minutes, and that limited him to 15 minutes of floor time overall, a big loss for Boston considering his defensive abilities against the likes of James. ... Faverani, shuffled to a reserve role, played only a short shift early in the second quarter. He was plus-8 over 2:41. ... Kris Humphries took those frontcourt minutes and responded by putting up nine points and five rebounds over 18:34. ... Jordan Crawford added 15 points over 28 minutes for Boston.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics have won three in a row, but none more impressive than this. Playing the second night of a back-to-back, and the fifth game in seven nights in five difference cities, Boston found a way to stun the champs, simply refusing to go away late in the game. Boston has essentially played seven close games this season and, after dropping the first four, has found a way to pull out the past three. The Celtics get a much-deserved day off Sunday before opening a three-game homestand with a visit from the Magic on Monday.