THE NITTY GRITTY
LeBron James scored a game-high 29 points to go along with 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals as Miami put only three players in double figures for scoring (one of whom was Chris Andersen off the bench with 13 points). Brandon Bass scored a team-high 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting over 18 minutes to pace five Celtics in double figures, but the Celtics dug themselves too big of a hole early on. Jared Sullinger (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Kris Humphries (14 points, 13 rebounds) both had double-doubles, while Chris Johnson scored 11 points in his Boston debut.
Despite trailing by as much as 18 early in the second quarter, the Celtics rallied ahead on a Humphries dunk with 3:08 to play. A pair of free throws by James tied the game before Ray Allen's 16-foot fadeaway over Jeff Green pushed Miami back out front 88-86 with 1:52 to play. After turning the ball over, Green put James at the free throw line, where he made two more freebies as Miami started to pull away.
The good news: Rondo's minutes got stretched out as he logged 25 minutes, 43 seconds of playing time. The bad news? He missed all eight shots he took while putting up 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 turnovers. Rondo missed a driving layup with a chance to tie with 94 seconds to go, then missed a pair of free throws in a four-point game soon after.
Signed to a 10-day contract out of the D-League on Friday, Johnson made his Celtics debut and made the most of his 25 minutes. Johnson put up 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting to go along with three rebounds, an assist and a steal. He was a team-best plus-7 in plus/minus.
BRADLEY DEPARTS WITH ANKLE INJURY
Celtics starting shooting guard Avery Bradley sprained his right ankle trying to defend Mario Chalmers early in the second quarter and did not return. Hop HERE for more. Gerald Wallace started the second half in Bradley's place.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (14-29) have lost three straight, 12 of their last 13 and 15 of 17. Boston wraps up its three-game road trip with the second night of a back-to-back on Wednesday in Washington (that stop made all the more difficult by a thinned backcourt). The Celtics are back home later this week for reunion weekend as Kendrick Perkins and the Oklahoma City Thunder visit on Friday before Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and the Brooklyn Nets invade on Sunday.